A "fish shelf" designed to stabilize about 300 feet of riverfront on the Lakewood bank of the Rocky River is on track for completion this fall.
Last June, the City of Lakewood
received a $123,000 grant from the Ohio EPA
for streambank restoration and construction of the shelf, which will be comprised of former sound barrier walls or other repurposed concrete construction materials, notes city engineer Mark Papke.
The fish shelf will be built near the Rocky River Reservation
of the Cleveland Metroparks, close to the Lakewood Animal Shelter off Metropark Drive. Bidding will begin in April while construction on the approximately $204,000 venture is scheduled for June. Lakewood will pay $82,000 toward the project cost.
The portion of the riverbank slated for restoration is unstable and eroding rapidly, says Papke. "The trees there have fallen into the river," he says. "There's no vegetation at all now."
While the fish shelf won't replace the 15 feet of land lost to erosion over the last several years, it will protect the bank from further damage, Papke says. In addition, the shelf will prevent the influx of phosphorous-laden sediment into the river. Phosphorous, a primary plant nutrient, is known to play a role
in creating potentially damaging algae.
Meanwhile, new trees and shrubs will serve the dual purpose of beautifying and further firming up the space. Gaps in the rubble can provide a habitat for additional greenery as well as animal life.
If planners have their way, the fish shelf will also be site a for sport fishing. The water around the proposed shelf is already known for steelhead trout.
"We met a couple of fishermen last week to show them the plans," says Papke. "They appreciate the chance to have better access to the river."
Partner organization Cleveland Metroparks will conduct a survey prior to and following construction to determine if the enterprise can attract even more fish to the area, Papke says.
City officials estimate the fish shelf to be ready by October. Papke is confident the project will be both an environmental and civic boon for the region.
"It's giving us an opportunity to stabilize the bank and provide a nice place for fishing," he says.