Army Corps Says It May Not Need to Dredge the Cuyahoga River

Jul 26, 2016

A Cuyahoga River dredging operation from a past year. This year's dredging remains tied up in court.
Credit Port of Cleveland

The ongoing fight over dredging the Cuyahoga River’s shipping channel could be moot according the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Corps, which is mandated with keeping the channel open, says the annual dredging may not be needed this year.

The Army Corps has been fighting the river dredging in federal court, saying it can’t afford to put the sediment in on-shore containment facilities, and instead wants to dump the material into Lake Erie.

In a recent court filing, the Corps says a July 14th survey it conducted showed the channel’s water levels are still high enough for shipping.

But Port of Cleveland spokesman Jade Davis says that’s only because it’s been a dry summer so far.

“If we were to get a couple days of significant rain in a row where we would have some kind of swelling of the river channel up river, especially in the Cuyahoga Valley, we would see a lot of sediment built up suddenly. And then there would be a definite need for a very, very quick dredge in order to make sure we can still get ships up and down the river to continue commerce.”

The Ohio EPA also disputes the Corps’ study which says the sediment is not too toxic to put into the lake.

The Army Corps has not returned calls for comment