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City of Lorain Lower Black River Restoration Grant Program


Lower Black River Restoration Grant Program

Lorain, Ohio
Grant funding has supported the City of Lorain’s efforts to restore the Black River
Floodplain Wetland Restoration, Four Years Post-Construction (May 2017)

Lower Black River Heron Rookery Wetland Restoration, Two Years Post-Construction
Fish shelf rendering

Coldwater is assisting the City of Lorain in implementing a watershed-scale ecological restoration program to delist the Black River as a Great Lakes Area of Concern (AOC). The AOC listing is based on past industrial practices on the river and water quality impairments that are the concern of the Great Lakes Charter between the United States and Canada. Coldwater’s objective is to assist the City in obtaining grant funding from several sources, including Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), to implement the ecological restoration. Over $34 million has been obtained since 2008 for 14 projects; 12 projects have been completed and 2 are currently on-going.

Of the 14 projects in the AOC program, 10 have been implemented on the City’s 200-acre Reclamation Site, which is a former steel mill site.  The objective is to create a vegetated buffer area between the existing steel mills and the river. Habitat type restoration at this Site has included emergent and submergent wetlands, riparian forest, and grassland/prairie.

All projects that are completed have been on time and within budget. Project activities have included remediation of heavily impacted areas; removal of over 1 million cubic yards of “slag” from the 23-acre floodplain; restoration of over 40 acres of wetlands, including parcels adjacent to a 300-nest Heron Rookery; bank restoration in areas of high erosion; and structural improvements to create in-stream aquatic habitat.

Fish shelves have been the highlight of the in-stream structural habitat improvements. The river was dredged in the early 1990s and left the river without any structural habitat below the water surface. To create structure for fish and macroinvertebrates, Coldwater designed the Fish Habitat Shelf, which is an underwater rock ledge topped with sand and gravel that provides refuge and spawning habitat.


Stream Restoration
Natural Channel Design
In-Stream Grade Control
Wetland Restoration
Hydrologic & Hydraulic Modeling
Grant Writing

Native Planting Plans
Invasive Species Control
Grant Administration
Biological Assessments
Environmental Permitting
Public Outreach
Construction Management