The Ashtabula River from the upper turning basin to the 5th St.Bridge was dredged under the Great Lakes Legacy Act Program in 2006 and 2007. Approximately 500,000 cubic yards of sediments contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), heavy metals and a myriad of organochlorine compounds were removed and pumped upland to a confined disposal facility built specifically to contain the river dredgings.
The river from the 5th St. Bridge to the outer harbor was dredged under U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorities in 2008 and additional dredging is planned for 2011-2012. Removal of contaminated sediments from the river is needed to delist the BUI for dredging and degradation of benthos, fish tumors and fish consumption restrictions.
To address the remaining BUIs, Ohio EPA received a GLRI grant for a habitat restoration project on the 5 ½ Slip property and began construction of over 1,400 feet of fish shelf habitat in September 2011. The project is scheduled for completion in mid-2012. It is anticipated that this restoration project will lead to the removal of three BUIs (degraded fish populations, degraded benthos and loss of fish habitat).
Successful completion of the habitat project and proposed dredging would represent a significant milestone for this AOC where all management actions have been completed. Once monitoring indicates that the river has responded as anticipated and restoration targets have been achieved, the Ashtabula River will be delisted as an area of concern.
For information about Ohio EPA's Ashtabula AOC program, please contact the division at (614) 644-2001. See U.S. EPA's website for more information.
The incidence of fish tumors and deformities in Black River brown bullheads, as well as the deformities, fin erosions, lesions and tumors (DELT) percentage for all fish, has decreased significantly, prompting the lifting of a contact advisory and the re-designation of the tumor BUI as being “in recovery.” A review of recent sediment data in the lower river allowed the Corps of Engineers and Ohio EPA to approve open lake disposal for most of the material dredged from the federal navigation channel in 2009. In 2008, RAP members and other local stakeholders, including the City of Elyria, developed the Lower Black River Ecological Restoration Master Plan. The City of Lorain has been very successful in securing funding for significant remediation and restoration efforts along the lower Black River, including removal of over a million cubic yards of slag from riverbanks, restoration of more than 50 acres of riparian habitat and construction of thousands of feet of underwater habitat shelves. Lorain County has also made progress in the upper watershed with development of watershed action plans for the French Creek and West Branch sub-basins.
Black River Remedial Action Plan
The Black River is the only river system in Ohio where the entire watershed has been designated as an Area of Concern. Because the Black River RAP is a unique community-based public/private initiative, the Black River RAP Coordinating Committee has recently changed their motto to, "Our River, Our Responsibility."
Contaminant loadings from point source dischargers (typically industries and waste water treatment facilities) within the Black River watershed have seen significant reductions within the last decade. The RAP now aims to combat nonpoint source impacts through precision farming techniques, the utilization of best management practices during construction, and the restoration, enhancement, and protection of the Black River riparian corridor. The Black River RAP projects and educational activities address a wide variety of these issues.
Properly managing urban, suburban, and rural land use practices throughout the Black River plus the enhancement and protection of natural riparian corridors will improve the quality and productivity of this valuable natural resource.
If you would like more specific information please contact the division at (614) 644-2001.
The Black River RAP Coordinating Committee meets from 1:30 to 3:30, usually on Monday of the second full week of January, March, May, July, September and November. Meeting information can also be found on the NOACA Web site at www.noaca.org/calevents.html. If you have any environmental events you would like added to this page, please contact the division at (614) 644-2001.
The Black River RAP is looking for enthusiastic individuals and organizations with a desire to help improve the quality of the Black River as well as the life associated with it. The Black River is "Your River" and you can make it part of "Your Responsibility" to help clean it up. The RAP relies on public involvement and education as a long term solution to many of the remaining problems in the river. Your involvement and input are extremely important to the RAP process and its success. Please see the list of activities and events under the What’s Happening section and contact the person listed if you are interested in finding out more about a specific action group or program within the RAP.
Donations are also welcome. Donations from business, industry, and local citizens, the time and resources of local, state, and federal agencies as well as the time given by many dedicated volunteers are what makes the Black River RAP a success. If you or your organization are interested, please contact the division at (614) 644-2001.
RAP Publications and Documents
- Virtual Tour of the Black River Watershed (NOACA Web site)
- 2006 Black River RAP Annual Report [PDF 992K]
- Biological and Water Quality Study of the Black River Basin [PDF 2,817K], MAS/1998-11-4
- Biological and Water Quality Study of the Black River (with selected tributaries) and Beaver Creek [PDF 685K], EAS/1993-12-8
- Assessment of Sediment Quality in the Black River Watershed (USEPA Web site)
- Health of Bullhead in an Urban Fishery After Remedial Dredging Final Report, January 2000 (USEPA Web site)
- Living Along French Creek, A User's Guide [PDF 763K]
- East Branch Benthos Delisting Request Document [PDF 160K]
- USEPA East Branch Decision Letter [PDF 71K]
- Press Release, August 18, 2005: [PDF 97K] East Branch of Black River Recognized for Water Quality Improvements
- French Creek Report: Black River Area of Concern/Remedial Action Plan, French Creek Watershed Survey, Lorain County, Ohio. US Army Corps of Engineers. Note: the report is quite large and has been split into sections of approximately 5MB or less. If you prefer, you may download the file as a single report PDF 35 MB). See the note at the top of this page if you have problems with the download.
- French Creek Report Main report text. [PDF 1,993K]
- French Creek Report Appendix A. [PDF 21K]
- French Creek Report Appendix B, part 1 [PDF 4,144K]
- French Creek Report Appendix B, part 2 [PDF 4,350K]
- French Creek Report Appendix B, part 3 [PDF 2,963K]
- French Creek Report Appendix B, part 4 [PDF 4,338K]
- French Creek Report Appendix B, part 5 [PDF 4,999K]
- French Creek Report Appendix B, part 6 [PDF 4,981K]
- French Creek Report Appendix B, part 7 [PDF 4,622K]
- French Creek Report Appendix B, part 8 [PDF 5,394K]
- 2007 Black River RAP Annual Report [PDF 1,222K]
- Living Along The East Branch, A User's Guide [PDF 871K]
- Living Along The West Branch, A User's Guide [PDF 813K]
- [PDF 1,154K]
- Black River related videos (Lorain County Black River RAP Web site)
Comprehensive Black River RAP Information
Reduction and elimination of the discharge of toxic chemicals and sewage has greatly improved the quality of the Cuyahoga River AOC. Federally funded sediment characterizations are currently underway at two locations in the Cuyahoga River AOC under the Great Lakes Legacy Reauthorization Act (GLLRA). Funding was received locally in 2010 under GLRI to complete a habitat restoration project in the ship channel area and construction will begin on the Scranton Road Peninsula Project in 2012. GLRI funding was also awarded in 2011 for construction of a debris harvester to remove floating debris in the shipping channel. Fish and benthos populations are in attainment for all but a small portion of the mainstem segment of the AOC. Efforts to remove two small dams just upstream from the AOC have been successful, leaving only two dams impeding the Cuyahoga River flow for the lower 59 miles down to Lake Erie.
Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan
The Cuyahoga River, located in Northeast Ohio, was designated as one of fourteen "American Heritage Rivers" in 1997. It is recognized worldwide as "the river that burned" and started the environmental movement in the United States. Since that time significant progress has been made in cleaning up and restoring the river’s function and value, but much more remains to be done. If you or your organization have an interest in the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie, and would like to get involved in an innovative environmental effort, then the Cuyahoga Remedial Action Plan (RAP) might be the program for you. The Cuyahoga RAP is a cooperative effort of citizens, businesses, municipalities, and industry working together with governmental agencies to restore the river’s waters to "fishable and swimmable" condition.
The public-private partnership of the Cuyahoga RAP began in September of 1988. In the first few years of existence, the RAP focused on problem identification and definition. Since then, the Cuyahoga RAP and its stakeholder partners have initiated several programs and projects to address some these issues and problems. Innovative educational programs have been developed to broaden public awareness and involvement. Identification and implementation of remedial measures to further improve the biological and water quality of the region remain to be completed. Many of these programs, projects, and initiatives are discussed through the links below.
If you would like more information, please contact Ed Wilk.
The Cuyahoga RAP is looking for enthusiastic individuals and organizations with a desire to improve the quality of the Cuyahoga River and the life in and around it. The RAP relies on public involvement and education as a long term solution to many of the remaining problems in the river. Your involvement and input are extremely important to the RAP process and its success.
The Cuyahoga RAP and its local stakeholder members are looking for volunteers and interested groups for the following:
- Local Watershed Groups — get involved by participating in local group activities or aid in creating your own organization.
- Habitat/wetland restoration and protection — programs and information is available for residents interested in improving or protecting stream banks and wetlands on their property.
- Stream Monitoring — training is available on how to monitor river quality by identifying the organisms that live there and by recognizing potential problems.
- Speakers Bureau — your organization may be interested in hearing about the Cuyahoga River, its successes and challenges, and opportunities for local involvement.
- River/stream Litter Clean-ups — improve our river by picking up the trash!
- Storm Drain Stenciling — educating neighborhoods about storm drains and what should and should not go into them — this is a great group of scout activity!
- "Adopt-A-Spot" on the river or its tributaries — especially in your own neighborhood — for litter clean-ups, stream monitoring, etc.
Please contact Peter Bode, Watershed Coordinator for the RAP at (216) 241-2414 ext 307 or Ed Wilk, Ohio EPA RAP Coordinator at (330) 963-1172 if you would like more information or volunteer for these opportunities.
RAP Publications and Documents
Comprehensive Cuyahoga RAP Information
In the Maumee AOC, GLLRA and Natural Resource Damage (NRD) remediation and restoration projects were completed on the Ottawa River. This included the removal of contaminated sediment and implementation of habitat restoration projects. A dam was modified on Swan Creek to allow fish passage and improve stream flow. In coordination with the Maumee RAP, a Balanced Growth Plan has been developed for Swan Creek. A large habitat restoration project on the upper portion of the Ottawa River received GLRI funding and construction will begin in 2012. Other GLLRA site characterization work was conducted in 2011 and additional work is planned, laying the groundwork for future sediment remediation efforts. In conjunction with the Ottawa River TMDL, Ohio EPA expanded water quality monitoring in 2011 to assess the current condition of the lacustrine influenced portion, including fish tissue and sediment sampling conducted to re-evaluate the current fish consumption and contact advisories.
Maumee River Remedial Action Plan Program
If you or your organization have an interest in Northwest Ohio or Southeast Michigan and would like to get involved in an innovative environmental effort, the Maumee RAP might be the program for you. The Maumee Remedial Action Plan (RAP) is a cooperative effort of citizens, businesses, and industry working together with governments to restore the areas waters to “fishable and swimmable” condition.
The public-private partnership of the Maumee RAP began in October of 1987. During the first few years problem identification and definition was the task. Since then, the Maumee RAP has focused on the implementation of projects to improve the water quality of the region. The projects and educational activities address a wide variety of issues. Many of these are discussed through the links below.
For more information, please contact Cherie Blair.
- August 2020 Ohio AOC Delisting Guidance and Restoration Targets Version 4.0 Now Available
The Delisting Guidance and Restoration Targets for Ohio Areas of Concern were developed by Ohio EPA to clarify how Ohio EPA and local AOC groups will work together to delist Ohio’s four Areas of Concern (AOCs). This version of the document includes general updates and edits, new conditions for BUI removal, and locally developed targets. The local AOC Advisory Committees and AOC facilitating organizations are working with Ohio EPA and our federal partners to evaluate current delisting plans and accelerate restoration efforts in the Maumee, Black, Cuyahoga, and Ashtabula River AOCs. The August 2020 Guidance (Version 4) is now available online.
- A Framework for Reorganizing and Implementing Ohio’s Remedial Action Program
A program framework document was recently released to improve the overall effectiveness and Ohio’s Areas of Concern (AOC) program and to accelerate the pace of progress toward delisting Ohio’s AOCs. Ohio EPA is working with the designated local AOC Facilitating Organizations to re-energize the local AOC Advisory Committees and to enhance community involvement in the AOC process. This new framework will also improve transparency, accountability, and increase opportunities for public engagement. The August 2020 program framework (version 4) is available online.
There are four Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) in Ohio: Ashtabula River (USEPA), Black River, Cuyahoga River, and Maumee River. Ohio EPA is responsible for ensuring RAPs are implemented in Ohio. These areas are the State's most polluted and environmentally impacted rivers which empty into Lake Erie. Ohio's Remedial Action Plan Program (GLIN)addresses the restoration of beneficial uses (GLIN) in Ohio's four Lake Erie Areas of Concern (AOC) (GLIN). As requested in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, (IJC) the RAPs take an ecosystem approach and incorporate active public involvement.
Why are Ohio's RAPs being done?
Year after year, the same locations were identified as the most contaminated areas around the Great Lakes. The adoption and implementation of environmental laws and regulations significantly reduced the discharge of pollutants, but these areas continued to experience severe environmental degradation. In 1985, the Water Quality Board of the International Joint Commission (IJC) recommended the development of comprehensive remedial action plans (RAPs) to concentrate on the cleanup and restoration of these areas. New, creative, innovative, collaborative and wide-reaching approaches would be needed to achieve this goal. The eight Great Lakes states and Ontario agreed to the challenge and Ohio EPA took the lead for the program in Ohio.
How are Ohio's RAPs set-up?
Neither the State nor Federal Governments had sufficient resources, the historical knowledge, or even the authorities to restore all the impairments identified. Ohio EPA invited the local communities to become active participants in the decision-making involved with the RAPs. Initial public meetings on the RAP process and the outstanding environmental problems in each AOC were held in 1987. At those meetings, the local communities showed a great interest in taking a strong role in restoring their rivers.
Local committees have been created in each of the areas to coordinate the development and implementation of the RAP. Ohio EPA works with these committees as an equal partner in the RAP process. The local committees have been built with the intention of obtaining representation from all of the local agencies, organizations, and unaffiliated citizens with an interest or a stake in river remediation.
Each of Ohio's RAPs has been organized somewhat differently, depending on the unique characteristics of each AOC. These characteristics include: environmental problems in the AOC, sources and causes of the problems, available resources - both technical and financial, political climate, public interest, and the volunteer base.
What makes Ohio's RAP program work?
The ecosystem approach and the public involvement requirements of the RAP process have allowed us to be as flexible and innovative as we need to be to restore all beneficial uses to each AOC. With funding from U.S. EPA and the State, Ohio EPA has been able to support a full-time coordinator for each RAP. However, much cross-program technical assistance has been provided by staff from several divisions and districts. This agency-wide cooperation has been invaluable to the RAP program. Promotion of the following concepts by Ohio EPA have lead to an effective RAP program in Ohio.
- Empowering the local communities with Ohio EPA as an equal partner.
- Community participation promotes local ownership.
- Participation of professional planners.
- Top-down commitment.
- Keeping RAP needs and accomplishments high profile.
- Creating a separate identity.
- Staff enthusiasm, dedication, and creativity.
- Volunteer enthusiasm, dedication, and creativity.
- Developing partnerships with existing programs.
- Constant communication at all levels.
- Extensive efforts to seek funding.
- Setting milestones to encourage enthusiasm rather than unrealistic goals that generate frustration.
- Strategic planning.
- Numerous efforts to keep the public informed, aware and involved.
- Keeping state and U.S. elected officials apprised of RAP efforts.