COLUMBUS, Ohio — The state of Ohio is getting involved with the long-awaited project to remove the Gorge Dam on the Cuyahoga River in Summit County.
On Friday, Gov. Mike DeWine announced that the state will contribute $25 million towards the effort to remove an estimated 900,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment, restore the fish and wildlife habitat, and revitalize more than a mile of the river for community recreational use.
“Improving water quality across the state has been a key focus of my administration, and generations of Ohioans will benefit from the improvements that will be realized by removing the Gorge Dam,” said DeWine in a statement. “This project will return the Cuyahoga River to a free-flowing river from Kent to the mouth of Lake Erie, will vastly improve water quality in the Cuyahoga River, and will pave the way for recreation, tourism, and economic development opportunities in this area."
The Gorge Dam, which sits on the border of Cuyahoga Falls and Akron, was originally constructed in 1913 to provide hydroelectric power, but hydroelectric generation ended at the dam by 1958. In the spring of 2009, the power generating station on the dam was razed.
According to a release, funding for the project will be awarded from settlement money that Ohio received as part of the state's polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) enforcement case against Monsanto, which was filed by then-Attorney General DeWine in 2018.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency says there are three actions necessary to complete the Gorge Dam removal project: sediment removal, sediment disposal, and dam removal. The total project cost is estimated at $175 million.
Project design is expected to be completed by spring of 2023.
Editor's Note: Both videos in this story are from previous reporting on the Gorge Dam