The city of Kent, Ohio, recently experienced a unique interaction between the Clean Water Act of 1972 and National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, which crossed paths to create an inclusive resolution to improve water quality in the middle Cuyahoga River. A 1999 TMDL report clearly
documented the unfavorable impacts that area dams were having on river water quality and highly recommended the dams be removed and/or modified. However, the circa 1836 Kent Dam was a highly engineered and historic structure that had managed to survive for 165 years. During the investigative
process, it was learned that Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act mandated that any proposed modification to a historic structure as the result of a federal action must go through a formal process to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any adverse effects to the structure. This led
the city administration down a path of highly controversial meetings and negotiations between local citizens, environmentalists, historians, and regulating agencies. Knowing that it would be impossible to please everyone under this scenario, it was the city's goal to avoid serious community
division while revealing critical areas of consensus in order to move the project towards completion.
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