Keeping the River Open for Business (Cuyahoga River Dredging)

The Cuyahoga River is a fairly shallow body of water until it enters the wider & deeper commercial navigation channel where the change in river flow rate deposits large amounts of sediment. Twice a year the US Army Corps of Engineers dredges the Cuyahoga River in order to maintain a 26 foot deep channel for freighter traffic. Earlier this summer we captured their contractor, Ryba Marine Construction, hard at work along the ArcelorMittal docks.

The dredging crane's “clam bucket” takes 15 cubic yard bites out of the riverbed and deposits the sediment into a scow (a hollowed out barge). Once full, the scow holds 1,500 cubic yards of sediment, enough to fill 150 dump trucks. The total weight? Two million tons! More on this process here:

Early this spring the Port of Cleveland deployed a bed load interceptor upriver in Independence and it's hoped this will reduce the amount of sediment making its way into the navigation channel, reducing the frequency of future dredging operations.