Court decision protects watershed
Why would a community, in the 21st century, claim that it “owns” a river? Why would one state of Ohio agency agree, in a business contract, to grant just one community an exclusive right to decide when and how much water is to be released from a major impounded river, the Cuyahoga River?
Today’s generation and future generations downstream of the impounded Cuyahoga River near Kent will no longer have to answer these troubling questions.
On remand from the Ohio Supreme Court, Judge John Enlow has declared that, ” … the City of Akron must maintain a minimum daily release of an aggregate of 8.1 to 9.5 MGD (million gallons per day) … from Lake Rockwell (the impounded Cuyahoga River) and … flow from other sources.”
To colleagues and students alike, I strongly recommend you read Peter Annin’s book The Great Lakes Water Wars for those interested in learning more about the epic nine-year regional water resources struggle leading to this Ohio Supreme Court decision.
Mr. Annin states that, “For some reason, it seemed, Akron wanted to keep its water (Cuyahoga River diversion) request quiet …” He also reports, “A number of local communities along the Cuyahoga River — especially in the 10-mile stretch between Akron and Lake Rockwell (the impounded Cuyahoga River) — were shocked to read that Akron was working quietly to cut a special deal with the state. They were particularly insulted that Akron’s deal had been quietly floated to governors in other states — without holding a local public hearing first.”
At the outset, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the governing bodies of Munroe Falls, Cuyahoga Falls, Silver Lake, Ravenna and Kent for fully supporting this defense of a watershed. And I want to offer a special thanks to the Portage County Commissioners. The Portage County Commissioners defended the regional watershed interests in a substantial, gritty and, unwavering manner.
And last, but not least, individuals including, but not limited to, colleagues Drs. Robert Heath and Elizabeth Buchanan, of the Davey Resource Group, deserve recognition for their stellar efforts to preserve regional water resources and the truth.
As Margaret Mead once observed, “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
John B. Bradshaw, M.Ed., R.S.
Deputy Health Commissioner, City of Kent
Instructor, College of Education,
Health and Human Services