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The Kent Dam, built in 1836 as part of the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal, is an integral part of the Kent Industrial District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A total maximum daily load (TMDL) study conducted in 1999 by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) identified water quality problems in the pool behind the Dam. The City of Kent is located in Portage County in Northeast Ohio. The Kent Dam lies within the middle reach of the Cuyahoga River. Currently, the reach of the Cuyahoga River from the Kent Dam extending upstream to the area known as “Standing Rock” is considered by OEPA to be in non-attainment of its Warm Water Habitat (WWH) classification. When the sluice gates are closed, dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations in pool formed upstream of the dam drop as low as 1.75 mg/l, well below the 5.0 mg/l WWH standard. In addition there is very little physical aquatic habitat in the dam pool, and the dam acts as a barrier fish. To comply with OEPA TMDL requirements, the City of Kent must mitigate these conditions.

Project Goals

The goals of this project are to modify the existing river in order to achieve the following success criteria:

Provide fish passage through the dam bypass

Enhance aquatic habitat in the restored river channel

Improve the DO content of the dam pool

Preserve the stone arch spillway

Maintain a waterfall over the spillway

Improve river access for recreational uses

Provide a navigable channel for paddlers

Preserve/restore the remnants of the Pennsylvania and Ohio (P&O) Canal lock;

Project Design Highlights

The Cuyahoga River Restoration Project design includes the following key elements:

Channel Stabilization

To prevent additional erosion of stream banks and reduce peak flow velocities, the proposed restoration design will create a stable, non-erosive channel with sized to convey “bankfull” flow (approximately 2-year, 24-hour storm).

Habitat Improvement

In all locations possible, the restoration design includes creation of a new floodplain terrace. Increasing the available floodplain area will provide habitat, increase biological productivity and encourage species diversity.

Improve River Access

Throughout the project area, both sides of the river are bordered by urban development. The east bank of the river is separated from the surrounding community by railroad tracks while the west bank offers limited access to the river. The design will improve access to the river by creating a park like area north of the existing dam.

Celebrate Kent's Industrial Heritage

The historic concrete arch dam represents the rich industrial heritage of the City of Kent. As such, the Cuyahoga River Restoration Project will seek to preserve and maintain the historic concrete arch dam in its present location, and to partially restore the west lock wall.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2003-01-01

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