Environment & Infrastructure
As outlined in its Strategic Plan, the Port of Cleveland is committed to incorporating environmental sustainability best practices across port activities and public policy advocacy. We are dedicated to creating a dynamic urban core that balances work and recreation on Cleveland's waterfronts.
The Port of Cleveland is committed to conducting its operations in a sustainable manner and has been a Green Marine participant since 2007. Green Marine is an environmental certification program for the North American marine industry dedicated to advancing environmental excellence. The program stems from a voluntary initiative by the maritime industry to exceed regulatory requirements. Green Marine is a rigorous, transparent and inclusive program that targets prioritized environmental issues such as greenhouse gases, community impacts, and water and land pollution. To receive certification the Port must benchmark annual environmental performance through the program’s exhaustive self-evaluation guides, have the results verified, and agree to publication of individual results.
The Port of Cleveland is leading efforts to ensure that the shipping channel is safe and properly maintained for commercial shipping traffic.
The Port of Cleveland has developed and implemented a plan to manage the sediments annually dredged from the 5.9 mile shipping channel on the Cuyahoga River. The plan ensures that the shipping channel is maintained at an adequate depth needed for commercial shipping traffic. The plan relies on harnessing natural physical properties of water, sediments, and energy-sediment choreography.
The Port’s strategy includes:
- Managing the operation of the confined disposal facility (CDF);
- Increasing capacity of the CDF through an efficient and responsible method of delivery and placement of sediments;
- Implementing techniques to harvest and use the cleaner sediments for beneficial purposes, and;
- Reducing dredging requirements by intercepting bed load sediments (coarse sands and small gravel) as they move downstream before they enter and settle in the ship channel.
The Port’s plan extends the life of the CDF to 47 years in an effort to avoid the exorbitant cost of a new CDF.
The Port is leading efforts to beneficially use sediment dredged from the river to maintain the ship channel. Traditionally sediment was treated as waste and disposed of in lakefront landfills. The Port has developed a sustainable program to use sediment in a variety of ways from brownfield cleanups to beach nourishment. This initiative saves dollars that would otherwise be spent on sediment disposal, and puts a natural resource to good use in the community. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) collaborated closely with the Port’s studies and confirmed that harvested bed load sediments are suitable for unrestricted upland purposes and there is minimal if any environmental impact. Since October, 2012 the Port bed load interceptor has harvested 8,000 tons of sediment that has been used for various beneficial purposes. One example of use is using the harvested material to fill basements of homes scheduled for demolition.
Flotsam & Jetsam
The Port planned, designed, and built a pair of custom vessels – Flotsam and Jetsam – to capture and remove plastic and organic floating debris from Cleveland Harbor. Commissioned into service in late 2012, the Port operates both vessels from mid-May through mid-October. In the 3 full seasons of operation, the crew and vessels have removed 1.2 million pounds of small floating debris, and over 1,000 large logs.
Old River Channel Legacy Sediments
The Port has partnered with the City of Cleveland to conduct a feasibility study to remediate sediments located in the west end of the old river channel. If the plan is approved, 65% of the funding for the actual remedial work will be provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency great lakes legacy acts.
Bulkhead Condition Assessment
As part of the Port's stewardship of the ship channel, the Port commissioned an underwater digital inventory and assessment of the entire 77,703 of shoreline in the ship channel. The results are as follows:
FAIR TO SERVICable condition
POOR CONDITION & Need monitoring
serious/critical condition & present a risk to safe passage
The hillside along Irishtown Bend, which stretches from W. 25th street between Superior Ave and Columbus Road, has had a history of instability. In its current condition, the hillside is unusable. A landslide or bank failure could block ships transiting the navigation channel.
Because of this risk, the Port initiated a geo-technical evaluation of conditions on the hillside and a list of necessary remedial actions to stabilize the site and allow the area to be productively used. The most important need is for bulkheads to be installed along the 3,238 ft of water frontage. The Port secured $2.5 in state capital funding to advance the restoration.
Partnering with Ohio City Incorporated (OCI), the Port also secured a Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative (TLCI) planning grant to develop a plan to connect the Ohio City neighborhood safely to the river.
The Port is working with other key stakeholders and agencies to assemble the estimated $16 million funds needed to restore the shoreline.