U.S. Army Corps Begins 4th Survey of Cuyahoga River

The Cuyahoga River in 2014 (photo: Brian Bull)
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By Elizabeth Miller 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state of Ohio met in federal court today.  The state wants a judge to compel the Army Corps to dredge a six-mile stretch of the Cuyahoga River in order to make it navigable for cargo ships traveling in and out of Lake Erie.  Sediment is usually removed from the river bottom every summer. This year, the Army Corps says the Cuyahoga doesn’t need to be dredged, and it will conduct a survey this week to see if that remains the case.  

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is carrying out its 4th survey of 2016.  The Army Corps’ Andrew Kornacki says 3 previous surveys -- the most recent one in July -- determined that ships can navigate the Cuyahoga, even with sediment.

"Results from the completed surveys indicate that the channel is navigable without restriction, and therefore dredging is not necessary at this time," said Kornacki.

According to Kornacki, the Army Corps consulted users of the Cuyahoga River, who say the lack of dredging does not impact their businesses.  But the Lake Carriers Association, which represents 12 companies with more than 50 ships across the Great Lakes, says its members have lost significant amounts of cargo and are not carrying full loads due to the depth of the river. 

The U.S. Army Corps is currently involved in a lawsuit with the state of Ohio over where dredged sediment is placed.  This isn’t the first time the state has taken the Army Corps to court – last summer a federal judge sided with the state and ordered the Corps to dredge the Cuyahoga River. 

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