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Just in: Gorge Dam Cost Estimates and Alternatives Reported

A public meeting was held on September 24, 2015 at the Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium to discuss the findings in the recently completed Feasibility Study for the Removal of the Gorge Dam. The study was completed by Tetra Tech, Inc. (Tetra Tech) from Cleveland, Ohio.

Ohio EPA contracted with Tetra Tech to develop planning level cost estimates for the removal and disposal of sediments upstream of the Gorge Dam and for the removal and disposal of the Gorge Dam. Ohio EPA needs planning level cost estimates to continue the process of securing funds for eventual sediment and dam removal and disposal. As specified by Ohio EPA, this project focused upon issues and costs likely to have the greatest impact upon total project costs.

Tetra Tech coordinated with Ohio EPA, Metro Parks, the City of Akron, First Energy, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to perform the following tasks:

  • assessment of feasible methods of sediment removal and dewatering;
  • assessment of feasible methods of dam removal;
  • identification of potential disposal sites and evaluation of material placement and management options;
  • identification of potential regulatory requirements;
  • and the development of concept level drawings of the existing site and proposed construction activities

As far as the cost is concerned, we didn't think it would be cheap. We weren't wrong. The estimate for the best scenario is about $70 Million. And the best estimate for earliest time frame is about 6 years.

We should not be daunted by the cost. The recreational, tourism and visitor value of restoring the Gorge of the Cuyahoga to its original splendor is many times this cost. And what a victory for our River, Northeast Ohio and water quality.

In terms of the time, we have invested a lot of energy and years of effort. We can and will see this through. Over the next few months, Friends of the Crooked River will be developing strategies to support the effort. Stayed tuned for what you can do to help.

The full report can be viewed here

For more information read Bob Downing's article from the Akron Beacon Journal: Removing Gorge Dam on Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cuyahoga Falls could cost about $70 million

CSO Update

On January 17, 2014, Judge John Adams approved the Consent Decree between the City of Akron and the US EPA, allowing the city to move forward with its $1.4-billion project to eliminate discharges of raw sewage into the river during high rain events. The project is planned for completion in 2027.
More info: Akron Beacon-Journal article.

Dam Removal Update

The removal of the Sheraton and LeFever Dams is complete, begun on July 30 and ending roughly August 20. This section of river is no longer closed to the general public. For the first time in over a century, the river is looking like its old self!
Check out the City of Cuyahoga Falls website to see a time-lapse video (set to music!) of the removal the two dams.
Next on the agenda: the Gorge Dam?

Dam Removal Begins!

On Tuesday, July 30, RiverWorks made the first cuts in the Sheraton Dam. The dam was essentially removed by August 9, though cleanup continues. On August 13, the upstream LeFever Dam got its first cuts; as of August 15, this dam is also mostly gone, and the river is beginning to run free! Check out our Dam Update page for more info, and view the Cuyahoga Falls Dam Cam for real-time video.

Animated gif of the Sheraton Dam removal by Keel-hauler John Kobak.
Update: River Closure Extended
August 15, 2013
Contact: Valerie Wax Carr
Service Director
City of Cuyahoga Falls

Dam Demolition Process Continues

The demolition process of the two low head dams in Cuyahoga Falls continues. As stated before, the river construction zone begins at Water Works Park and continues to Prospect Bridge. The public is advised to stay out of the river, both in a personal manner and in a physical manner (i.e. watercraft). Unauthorized public entering the river in restricted areas may be subject to prosecution. The river contains debris that can be hazardous. Clean-up of large debris continues with crews working to separate the material. Dam debris are being removed from the river with a priority focus on capturing all rebar from the dams for safety reasons. The water is temporarily expected to take on a murky appearance; please be patient as the river begins its healing process and nature is allowed to take its course. The river will continually change over the next months with this process highly monitored as to when crews may have to intervene.

Notice: Closure of The Upper Gorge of the Cuyahoga

Reported by Dave Hill:
"This is just a heads up regarding river access during the dam removal activities in Cuyahoga Falls. The demolition contractor and the City of CF will be designating the area between the Route 8 bridge (Riverfront Park) and the downstream side of the Sheraton Hotel as a construction zone which is off limits to all unauthorized personnel (paddlers, etc).
"There will be signage and information kiosks along the closed section including designated viewing areas for the dam demolition activities. In addition, live video feeds will be available for remote viewing of the project. I will post a link to the video feeds once thay have been initiated.
"This map link shows the closure area which will begin June 10 through project completion."
Update! It's happening!┬ůsort of.
The first cuts to the Sheraton Dam were scheduled to begin Wednesday, June 26; however, torrential rains led to high water, so the flow has to subside before work can proceed. Removal of the Sheraton Dam is expected to take two weeks, after which removal of the LeFever Dam is scheduled to take an additional two weeks.

FoCR joins other organizations, including the EPA, in aiming to have the Gorge Dam removed; an engineering study may take place in 2015 or '16. The 68-foot, 101-year-old structure has trapped 832,000 cubic yards of sediment, twice the initial estimates. Here's an article from the Akron Beacon Journal about the Gorge Dam.

FOCR's Elaine Marsh gave a talk at the Keel-haulers Canoe Club in October. Here's an article about dam decommissioning on the Cuyahoga which grew out of her talk.


Cuyahoga CSOs

FOCR's Elaine Marsh wrote a letter to the editor of the Akron Beacon Journal, calling for Judge John Adams to approve Akron's CSO plan. Click here to read it, and click here to read the Akron Beacon Journal's editorial endorsing Akron's plan.
FOCR's Elaine Marsh is quoted in this article in WKSU about Akron's efforts to remove Combined Sewer Overflows.
Also click here for an article for Keel-haulers which grew out of her talk on this subject.


Cuyahoga Water Trail

FOCR is advocating the construction of a Water Trail on the Cuyahoga, from its headwaters to Lake Erie. Click here for a link to the Keel-haulers' article on the plan, and come back to this website for regular updates.


Brecksville Dam Update

The environmental impact study for the Route 82 Dam has been reinvigorated. Click here for a link to the "Canal Diversion Dam Modification Plan Update" from Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The Cuyahoga from Burning River to Recreational Resource is a program which was jointly presented by Appalachian Outfitters and Friends of the Crooked River on Tuesday, April 10, 2012, at 6:30 PM at the Appalachian Outfitter store. FOCR's Elaine Marsh was the featured speaker.


Welcome to the online home of the Cuyahoga River.

The picture in the upper left corner was chosen because it illustrates that the Cuyahoga River is a river of contrasts.  For some it is a haven of beauty, a source of inspiration, and place for recreation.  For others it is a ditch to be used as a sewer and forgotten or as a resource to be exploited for a quick profit. 
The photo in the upper right corner is one from our archive of photos supporting the Cuyahoga Water Trail. Come back to this website to see a different (random) photo.

Join Us! Join online here. Download a membership application here.

Contact the Virtual RiverKeeper, matt at americanwhitewater dot org, with any question about this website, Friends of the Crooked River, or the Cuyahoga River.

River News


Friends of the Crooked River will visit your group to give our presentation, "Dams of the Cuyahoga." Click to download our flyer (pdf).


Next Meeting:

Thursday, October 8, 2015

We meet the second Thursday of each month. Meetings start at 7:00 PM. They are held at 1664 Main Street, Peninsula, Ohio. Enter through the rear door. All are welcome. Click here for directions.


Contact Us

No outings are currently planned for 2015


To contact Friends of the Crooked River, send email to the Virtual RiverKeeper, matt at americanwhitewater dot org.

This site was last updated 8/17/15