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Brecksville Dam demolition the focus of public hearing tonight in Peninsula (photos)

The public will receive its first look this evening at what the Cuyahoga River will look like after the Brecksville Dam is removed next year or the year after. PENINSULA, Ohio - The public will receive its first look this evening at what the Cuyahoga River will look like after the Brecksville Dam is removed next year or the year after. The open house will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Happy Days Lodge, 500 West Streetsboro Road (Ohio 303) just East of Peninsula. The presentation is sponsored by the Ohio EPA and the National Park Service. Conservationists and friends of the Cuyahoga River generally support the dam demolition plan and the environmental benefits the plan will bring to the water quality and wildlife habitat in the river. No organized opposition is expected. "We're excited," said Pam Barnes, a spokeswoman for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. "This is really a good thing for the river." "This project is exactly what we need for the Cuyahoga," said Peter Bode, watershed coordinator for Cuyahoga River Restoration. "It is ridding a major barrier for our migratory species to spawn upriver ... and nothing but a positive for the ecology of the region." Any grumbling about the dam's removal likely will be limited to steelhead trout anglers who enjoy casting their lines into the base of the dam's spillway, where the game fish congregate, unable to proceed upstream. "That is the shooting-fish-in-a-barrel place to be," said Jane Goodman, Cuyahoga River Restoration's executive director. "But it's a small dam. Most people don't even know it's there. I don't expect anyone except the steelhead anglers to have any objections." The EPA and parks officials will present the results of an environmental assessment conducted on the eight-foot tall, 183-foot long dam which spans the river just north of the Station Road bridge trailhead along the Towpath Trail. The assessment identifies an ecological restoration strategy to improve water quality while preserving the Ohio and Erie Canal's cultural integrity as a National Historic Landmark. The EPA and national park officials have proposed completely removing the dam, thus restoring the river to its natural flow conditions. They plan to install a pump to supply as much as 13 million gallons of water a day to the adjacent canal. By removing the dam, state environmentalists would move a step closer to returning the Cuyahoga to a free-flowing river, leaving the 57-foot high Gorge Dam between Akron and Cuyahoga Falls as the only impediment from its source in Geauga County to its mouth at Lake Erie. Removing the Gorge Dam, however, could cost as much as $70 million. Read more..

Cuyahoga River Ohio and Erie Canal Ohio Cuyahoga Valley National Park Lake Erie Greater Cleveland Cuyahoga County Ohio National Park Service

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