Bringing 1 river, 21 subwatersheds, and 10 miles of Lake Erie shore back to health

The lower 46.5 miles of the Cuyahoga River, including all the tributaries that drain to that section of river, and the adjacent Lake Erie shoreline and its direct tributaries, comprise the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern. The AOC begins at the head of the Gorge Dam pool in Akron/Cuyahoga Falls, ends at Lake Erie, and includes the shoreline from the western Cleveland border to Euclid Creek on the east.

The Cuyahoga River is one of 43 Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOC) – waters in the U.S. and Canada that have experienced environmental degradation, fail to meet the objectives of the U.S.- Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA,) and are impaired in their ability to support aquatic life or beneficial uses. The GLWQA required that each of the Areas of Concern develops a Remedial Action Plan (RAP) to identify the Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs) and their causes, develop criteria for restoration, implement remedial measures, monitor the effectiveness of such measures, and confirm that restoration is achieved.

The Cuyahoga River AOC has 7 remaining Beneficial Use Impairments. (See the list at “The Plan and Targets.“) Three of the original ten impairments – Aesthetics, Public Access, and Restrictions on Fish Consumption – are deemed no longer to be impaired, and have been removed from the list. OhioEPA and the Ohio Lake Erie Commission are the state agencies in charge of delisting Ohio’s four AOCs (Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Black, and Maumee.) Each AOC has a local stakeholder committee. The Cuyahoga AOC Advisory Committee serves that purpose. The committee includes dozens of stakeholders – agencies, park systems, watershed stewardship groups, businesses, and individuals – involved in implementing the plan.


EPA awards Akron $1 million to remove Gorge Dam

7/23/20 AKRON, Ohio — EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on Tuesday visited Akron to announce a $1 million grant help the city of Akron remove the Gorge Dam on the Cuyahoga River.


Cuyahoga Old River Channel Sediment Removal Project

will remove as much as 100,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment to improve water quality and aquatic life conditions.


Fish Consumption BUI Removed

2019 saw the AOC celebrate the removal of the “Restrictions on Fish Consumption” impairment, verifying that fish caught in the Area of Concern are as healthy to eat as those approved on Ohio’s consumption advisories

THE AOC AND YOU • What you can do

Everyone who lives in the Cuyahoga River watershed has a part to play in restoring and improving conditions in the AOC. Here are some suggestions:

• Remove paving around your property and replace it with a rain garden to reduce stormwater runoff that pushes contaminants into streams.
• Pick up your pet’s poop. Bacteria that runs into storm drains or right into streams can be part of the reason for beach closings.
• Plant trees and shrubs along stream banks to keep erosion down and prevent sediment from smothering the bugs that feed the fish.