Cuyahoga County Proposes connected Lakefront Path

The Cleveland Plain Dealer recently reported on a massive proposal by Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish to create a “transformative” connected lakefront path from Bay Village to Euclid.
The County is not proposing to take private property, which comprises about 70% of the land area under consideration. Instead, the City plans to follow in the footsteps of Euclid, where private landowners granted public access to their property in return for stabilization of the shoreline along a 3/4 mile trail. The Euclid program cost $12 million. Budish’s team estimates that the project would cost about $15 million per mile. The project is in early stages with Cleveland.comreporting that the County is requesting a $200,000 grant to assist in funding a $500,000 feasibility study. 
The initial wish-list for the project includes things like bike and pedestrian access to bridges, coordination of lakefront access in communities and with other cities, and a change in Ohio law to allow breakwalls to be built into the lake to create a road for ambulances. 
More information on the plan can be found on the Cuyahoga County Executive’s website, including proposed access maps.  The report indicates an extensive opportunity for public hearings and input will be planned. 
Want to weigh in? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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2019 Annual Meeting

The Ohio Lakefront Group welcomed approximately 300 guests to its 2019 Annual Meeting. In addition, the group broadcast the meeting live via its Facebook page, a copy of which is available here for those with a Facebook account or here for those who do not.

At a short business meeting, the group elected a slate of officers that includes Greg Baeppler (Bay Village), Bob Bunsey (Huron), and Vitas Cyvas (Willowick). Other information, including a financial report, was presented.

After concluding the formal meeting, the group moved to educational discussions and presentations, hearing from Keith Senziak of the US Army Corps of Engineers, Jim Stouffer of the Lake Erie Foundation, and Tony Yankel, President of the Ohio Lakefront Group.

2019 Annual Meeting Powerpoint (as a PDF)

Following the meeting, there were a significant number of questions, especially as it relates to the current high water situation. A number of individuals asked if there is anything that is being done to artificially retain water in Lake Erie or if anything can be done to divert water to lower the lake levels.

Both Mr. Senziak (USACE) and Mr. Yankel, President of the OLG and an engineer) explained that there are no artificial controls of Lake Erie in terms of what is coming in and what is going out that have an impact on how high the waters of the Lake are right now. Only two of the Great Lakes (Ontario and Superior) have measures that could be said to artificially impact the inflow or outflow of Lake Erie. Neither of these have an impact on Lake Erie, because they are more than 300 feet lower than Lake Erie.

More than 90% of the water from Lake Erie flows from the upper Lakes (Huron and Michigan), through the Detroit River, and into Lake Erie. The high water levels are due to increased precipitation and increased storm activity in the area. There are several popular urban legends that flow regulation on the Niagara River is impacting the levels of Lake Erie, but these are not accurate from a scientific standpoint. There are some slight modifications that partially span the Niagara River, which serve to direct flow for aesthetic purposes over the Niagara Falls, however they do not control or limit the amount of water that flows out of the Lake.  This provision has been governed by an international treaty with Canada signed in 1909. The flow structures, which only span part of the river, were installed in the late 50’s. Since that time, water levels have cyclically risen and fallen as part of the natural variation in water levels. In fact, if you think about it, a large part of the regulatory, legislative, and legal battle taken on by the Ohio Lakefront Group was made more obvious because Lake Erie’s water levels have been so cyclical.

Army Corps of Engineers Materials

Regulatory

Buffalo District Regulatory Website: https://www.lrb.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/

OH Permit Info: https://www.lrb.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/OH-PERMIT-INFO/

Regulatory Brochure: https://www.lrb.usace.army.mil/Portals/45/docs/regulatory/Regulatory_Booklet_FINAL.pdf?ver=2017-07-10-154705-203

Report a Violation: https://www.lrb.usace.army.mil/Portals/45/docs/regulatory/ReportofViolation.pdf?ver=2012-12-19-115011-880

OH Littoral Fact Sheet: https://www.lrb.usace.army.mil/Portals/45/docs/regulatory/DistrictInfo/FactSheets/OH_LakeErie_LittoralTransport_FactSheet%20_FINAL_18JAN2018.pdf?ver=2018-04-02-140432-823

Water Management

Lake level info: https://www.lrb.usace.army.mil/Missions/Departments/Water-Management/Lake-Level-Information/

Great Lakes Data informational links: https://www.lrb.usace.army.mil/Missions/Departments/Water-Management/Great-Lakes-Data/

Detroit District Water Level Forecast Page: https://www.lre.usace.army.mil/Missions/Great-Lakes-Information/Great-Lakes-Water-Levels/Water-Level-Forecast/Water-Level-Outlook/

USACEs Role During an EmergencyUSACEs Role During an Emergency

 

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New Threat in Central Basin

With summer upon us and ongoing legislative and administrative discussions related to protecting Lake Erie continuing in Columbus, the Ohio State University’s Stone Lab has released a new study identifying a new algal threat in the central basin of Lake Erie. The presence of the new bacterial causes additional concern because 1) it is also a neurotoxin with severe implications for environment, health, and the lakefront economy, 2) most water treatment facilities do not currently test for it or have the ability to test for it without expensive facility upgrades, and 3) presence of the toxin in the central basin goes against some of the traditional things we’ve come to understand regarding the algal growth- scientists don’t yet understand how it is growing. The study is available to the public but has also been presented in several media stories such as this one in the Akron Beacon Journal and this one in Science Daily.
In a media release, OLG President Tony Yankel pointed out that this news ads a new dimension of urgency to the pleas of lakefront property owners to resolve permitting processes and protect the lake’s shoreline. Yankel stated, “We are closely reviewing the Stone Lab report, which indicates that the muddier waters of the central basin are an underlying cause of this new toxin. This is a strong argument for reducing sediment. In this time of extremely high water, shoreline protection is being destroyed, resulting in unprecedented amounts of land and sediment going into the lake. If ODNR continues to frustrate efforts to permit shoreline protection, nothing will stop the massive amounts of land loss and sedimentation taking place.”

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Annual Meeting Media Release

May 24, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LAKEFRONT GROUP TO HOST ANNUAL MEETING MAY 30th

Formal Meeting to include extensive discussion of water levels and water quality

Sheffield Lake: The Ohio Lakefront Group (OLG) will hold its Annual Meeting at the Catawba Island Club (CIC) in Port Clinton on Thursday May 30, 2019.  Registration will begin at 6:30 with the meeting to begin promptly at 7:00 PM. Following a short business meeting, attendees will hear several presentations including two from the Buffalo Office of the Army Corps of Engineers addressing high water levels and techniques to develop effective shoreline protection.  There will also be a policy update regarding water quality. A question and answer period will follow.

The meeting comes as lakefront property owners are experiencing water levels that have approached historic highs, with many property owners experiencing significant damages. It also quickly follows after the release of a very concerning report from OSU’s Stone Laboratory outlining a new toxic threat in the central basin of Lake Erie.

One representative from the Buffalo Office of the Army Corps of Engineers will address the historic high water levels.  Another representative from the Buffalo Office of the Army Corps of Engineers will address techniques for installing adequate shoreline protection and the Army Corps’ simple permitting process.  Tony Yankel, organization president observes, “The Army Corps’ permitting process is far simpler than that required by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.”

Jim Stouffer, President of the Lake Erie Foundation, will speak about the collaborative efforts his group has promoted to address the Green Algae problem.  Tony Yankel and the OLG have been working with the Lake Erie Foundation in an effort to reduce this problem that impacts virtually all Ohioans.

Mr. Yankel will speak about OLG’s efforts to simplify the Ohio Department of Resource’s (ODNR) permitting process with both the previous and the newly elected administration.  Mr. Yankel stated: “Although we have been talking about ODNR’s onerous permitting process, those talks have not yet yielded any change on the part of the State.  We have historic high waters accompanied by erosion and destruction of the existing structures along the shore. ODNR’s policies appear to turn a deaf ear to the loss of property and property values that is occurring along the entire lake shore.  We are not at the peak of this year’s water levels, so things will only get worse.”  Yankel added, “We are closely reviewing the Stone Lab report, which indicates that the muddier waters of the central basin are an underlying cause of this new toxin. This is a strong argument for reducing sediment. In this time of extremely high water, shoreline protection is being destroyed, resulting in unprecedented amounts of land and sediment going into the lake. If ODNR continues to frustrate efforts to permit shoreline protection, nothing will stop the massive amounts of land loss and sedimentation taking place.”

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