Cuyahoga River Clean-Up Ahead of the Cuyahoga Regatta

Yesterday afternoon Surfrider Foundation Northern Ohio Chapter organized a clean-up of the Cuyahoga River ahead of tomorrow’s Head of the Cuyahoga Regatta. (HOTC). Paddleboarders assisted by The Port of Cleveland’s Flotsam pulled floating debris from the river while others gathered trash from the banks of the river. Some appreciative rowers gave a nod as they glided past the paddleboarders. An eager golden retriever even decided to join in.

“Clean-ups like this allow us to keep our rivers and beaches clean while at the same time, it gives us the opportunity to talk about programs like our Great Lakes Friendly Restaurants program”, said Christy Gray, Surfrider Foundation Northern Ohio Chapter chair.

Over 2,000 rowers will descend upon the Cuyahoga River to compete in the 5k head race that starts just below the ArcelorMittal turning basin and finishes between Marwin’s Wharf and Cleveland Rowing Foundation. The HOTC caps a summer that commemorated the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Cuyahoga River fire. The HOTC along with the Blazing Paddles Paddlefest are great reflections on how the river that used to be a pipeline for pollution is now a conduit for recreation and tourism!

Golden Cuyahoga River Clean-Up

The 91st Academy Awards Have Truly Humbled Us

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To say we were humbled at being nominated for four Academy Awards would be an understatement. But to win an Oscar in all four categories? Well, it’s simply unbelievable.

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Head of the Cuyahoga Rowers Get Pushed Around by Urban Stormwater Management Challenges

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While the HOTC is renowned for it's curvy course, this year's race was made a bit more challenging for a number of competitors racing shortly after a morning deluge. And that temporary challenge provided a tangible glimpse into ongoing investments in watershed infrastructure that's improving the water quality of Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River.

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The Cuyahoga River Becomes a Racetrack This Saturday

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It's a unique day on the river as it's the one day the U.S. Coast Guard establishes a temporary safety zone (from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.) on the Federal Navigation Channel, restricting vessels from an area below Nautica Entertainment Complex up to the turning basin by ArcelorMittal.

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The Day the Cuyahoga River was Cut in Half

On this Throwback Thursday we're revisiting an event that served as a tipping point in the relationship between two Cuyahoga River stakeholders: the maritime industry and Cleveland's H2O recreation community.

Cleveland Rowing Foundation's Head of the Cuyahoga Regatta (HOTC) is Cleveland's annual rowing event where over 2,000 scholastic, collegiate and adult rowers from 26 cities, 9 states and 2 countries travel to Cleveland to compete on a 4,800 meter course that's renowned for its curvy  path. In 2013 HOTC volunteers headed upriver before dawn under leaden rainy skies to set buoys for the course but when they rounded the turn at the Innerbelt Bridge they saw an obvious problem - two Canadian flagged freighters were parked on either side of the Cuyahoga River, effectively cutting the race course in half.

Under a federal rule the Cuyahoga River (a federal navigation channel) is closed to freighter traffic from 7 am - 4 pm during the HOTC. Due to a series of miscommunications, the freighters had traveled upriver the night before, unaware of the HOTC the following day. Regatta organizers conferred with the U.S. Coast Guard and after it was determined it would take too long for the freighters to be moved, a decision was made to cut the race distance by half. Cleveland's skies eventually turned sunny and racers and spectators had a great day on the river.

As news broke about the inadvertent "blockade", someone was heard to say "this will probably get the HOTC more PR than if the freighters hadn't been there".  That prognostication was on target as local media saw the promise of a story that illustrated the challenges associated with commercial and recreational stakeholders sharing the same body of water.

Plain Dealer columnist Mike McIntyre's story on the freighter kerfuffle ran on page A4 in the following Sunday's paper and many saw this event as a catalyst for substantive and fruitful conversations about the shared use of the Cuyahoga River.  http://www.cleveland.com/tipoff/index.ssf/2013/09/freighters_blockade_cuyahoga_r.html

Two weeks later, the Plain Dealer's Robert L. Smith wrote an excellent piece on the "challenges" resulting from a cleaner, greener, and  more popular Cuyahoga River. http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2013/10/cleaner_greener_cuyahoga_river.html

In the two years since the freighter incident, cooperation and communication between recreational and maritime stakeholders has evolved to a point where both parties recognize the Cuyahoga's rising tide of popularity can lift all boats. And Saturday's regatta will give out-of-towners a great opportunity to see how Cleveland's re-energized waterfront is a catalyst for economic development. If you're a local, head down to the Cuyahoga River this Saturday to see it as you've never seen it before!