port authority to build new boats to help clean up river debris

Although the environmental health of the Cuyahoga River has dramatically improved in recent decades, ugly mats of hazardous floating debris and litter still accumulate in the bends of the famously crooked river.

If a violent storm rolls in off Lake Erie, or strong winds spring up, the mats can easily break apart and float into the shipping channel. The sudden presence of fallen logs and other debris can create a dangerous obstacle course for boaters and rowers traversing the river.

Later this summer, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority will begin using two specialized aluminum work boats to remove floating debris from the river and the Lake Erie shoreline. The new boats, called Flotsam and Jetsam, are being paid for by a $425,160 grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The river cleanup initiative is the first comprehensive initiative of its kind.

"The river is a lot cleaner than it looks and now has 40 species of fish, but this program will demonstrate stewardship to the community," says Jim White, Director of Sustainable Infrastructure Programs for the Port Authority. "This is one of the pieces of the puzzle in terms of restoring the health of the river."

Source: Jim White
Writer: Lee Chilcote