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Ohio EPA’s Partnership Contributes to Successful Grand Opening of the Scioto River Greenways Project

In November 2013, work began to remove the Main Street Dam across the Scioto River in downtown Columbus. This marked the beginning of a major capital improvement project to help restore the Scioto River to a more natural, free-flowing channel through the heart of the city’s riverfront.

Known as the Scioto Greenways project, this massive undertaking involved many partners that provided technical and financial assistance, along with contractors and other professionals to design, implement and administer the project.

Ohio EPA was part of this effort, providing permit assistance and financing for the project. Agency staff also joined the volunteer effort to relocate resident mussel populations from exposed river bottoms during dam removal to upstream habitat. The total cost of the dam removal and river restoration effort was in excess of $30 million. Ohio EPA provided $300,000 in federal Clean Water Act, Section 319 grant funds toward the removal and $5 million in Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP) money for reshaping the river channel, restoring the banks, and planting trees, shrubs and other riparian vegetation. The WRRSP monies for this project were made possible by the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati and Hamilton County, who used three separate Ohio EPA-funded loan projects for sponsorship.

As a result, what was once a stagnant, concrete-lined, uninviting stretch of river is now a vibrant, attractive, heavily-used focal point in Ohio’s capital city. The century-old low-head dam is gone, as is the debris-filled lake behind it. In their place are 33 new acres of greenspace, with trails, trees, scenic overlooks and a more naturally flowing and functioning river. We join the greater Columbus area in celebrating this major water quality restoration accomplishment. If you would like more information about our various funding assistance opportunities, please call us at (800) 329-7518.

 

   

The Scioto Greenways Project
during restoration.

The Scioto Greenways Project today.
Photo Source: sciotogreenways.com