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Dredging up ideas

Kim Palmer  |  09/14/06 @ 6:03pm

Annually, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredges on average 330,000 cubic yards of sediment from the Cuyahoga River and for the last decade deposits that material in the Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) 10B adjacent to Burke Lakefront Airport. 

If 330,000 cubic yards is difficult to conceptualize, think of it equivalent to the football field of Cleveland Brown’s Stadium stacked to the lip of the stadium edge with sediment.

There have been five such CDFs constructed and essentially ‘filled’ with sediment ‘not suitable of open-lake disposal’ in that last four decades, and the most recent facility,10B is reaching capacity sooner than was originally expected.

In what was the first public meeting regarding the Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP) at Carnegie West library last week, representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Buffalo District) provided a forum to discuss the issues surrounding a yet-to-be-decided 20-year plan that would deal with the disposal of the river sediment.

The meeting was facilitated by the Corps of Engineers and included in attendance representatives from the Port Authority, City of Cleveland Planning Commission, Coast Guard, as well as members of non-governmental groups with interests in the preservation of Whiskey Island, Dike 14, local marinas, and even Mittal Steel.

According to a handout dispersed at the meeting the main goals of the DMMP study are to: “Develop a 20-year strategy for providing viable dredged material placement alternatives … (and) to conduct dredged material placement in the most economically and environmentally sound manner, and maximize the use of dredged material as a beneficial resource.”

A map illustrating eight possible locations for new CDFs was also provided at the meeting and can be found at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers site:www.

Although no recommendations have been officially put forth, two sites (2 and 3) north of Harbor’s break wall on the east and west of the river seem to be the most promising and the in-line with the most recent Lakefront Plan.

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, the meeting was, “to give notice of intent to prepare a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP)” which is schedule to be released in June of 2007 followed by a final report January 2008.

Representatives of the Corps stressed that the process of deciding what the DMMP plan would ultimately look like was in the nascent stages and that suggestions and concerns from the public and the city would be accepted. Corps representatives fielded questions about the possibility that the CDF at Dike 14 would be able to hold more dredged material, by responding it was not actively being considered as a new CDF site.

Ideas ranging from cutting off the river from commercial use, to reusing or selling dredged materials were presented by the audience. Representatives concerned about the designation of Wendy Park as a park were also addressed.

No formal future meetings are required by law for the EIS, however Corps representatives offered to hold more public meeting before the June 2007 draft deadline.

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