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City of Lorain Lower Black River Fish Habitat Restoration


The Lower Black River Fish Habitat Restoration Project

Lorain, Ohio
Funded by NOAA via the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI)
Natural bank stabilization included installation of branch layers and native shrubs
Conceptual drawing of fish habitat shelves

Historic industrial operations along the Black River in Lorain, Ohio have negatively impacted the ecological health of the lower Black River, including loss of fish habitat. A $1,637,800 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) funded the Lower Black River Fish Habitat Restoration Project. This project restored habitat for fish and wildlife in the lower Black River, an area that is highly deficient of aquatic structure. Coldwater assisted the City of Lorain and Arcadis with site assessment, permitting, design, construction oversight, biological monitoring, public outreach and grant management tasks associated with this project. The design resulted in the construction of over 3,000 linear feet of fish habitat shelves. Other design components included natural bank stabilization along eroded banks, rootwad revetments, boulder clusters, and removal of an invasive plant species (Phragmites australis) within riparian areas along the river.

A comprehensive habitat and biological monitoring effort is on-going and will document usage of the constructed habitat features by various macro-invertebrate and fish species. The monitoring is intended to document project success, including the degree to which changes in the fish and macroinvertebrate communities compare to AOC delisting targets.

Public outreach and education efforts introduced the first annual Black River Kayak-A-Thon, the first of its kind on the Black. The Kayak-A-Thon and other public outreach activities were designed to get the public involved and educated about the ecological restoration efforts that are underway to improve fish habitat, recreational opportunities, and water quality in the lower Black River. Coldwater helped with all aspects of the event and remained involved in coordination of this popular event, which was held annually through 2019.


Stream Restoration
Aquatic Habitat Restoration
Biological Assessments
Construction Management
Environmental Permitting

Vegetation Management
Grant Administration
Public Outreach
Native Planting Plans
Invasive Species Control