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City News

Posted on: March 26, 2019

Shaker Lakes Dam Improvements

Lower Lake dam in Shaker Heights, Ohio

The below message from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District details the work now underway to improve the dams at Lower Lake and Green Lake.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (Sewer District), through the Regional Stormwater Management Program, is implementing a project to help improve the dams at Lower Shaker Lake and Green Lake.

Lower Lake

The dam along Doan Brook that forms Lower Shaker Lake is located at the far western end of the lake and has Brook Road across its top. This dam is classified by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) as a Class I dam. Class I dams have the likelihood to cause loss of life if the dam were to fail. Currently the Lower Shaker Lake dam is out of compliance with ODNR regulatory requirements. The Sewer District’s project will help the cities of Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights, the owners of the dam, to address some of the deficiencies identified by ODNR.

The first deficiency to be addressed by the Sewer District is the removal of trees and brush from the earthen dam. Per ODNR, “Trees and brush should not be permitted in embankment surfaces or in vegetated earth spillways. Extensive root systems can provide seepage paths for water. Trees that blow down or fall over can leave large holes in the embankment surface that will weaken the embankment”. Prior to April 1st, the Sewer District will be removing the trees and brush identified by ODNR. The trees must be removed before April 1st to comply with the Federal Endangered Species Act that protects endangered bat habitat. After April 1st the bats begin to roost in dead trees across northern Ohio.

In early summer, the second part of the project will be conducted to protect the dam face from erosion due to any wave action. To accomplish this, large stones will be placed below the normal high water mark with more aesthetically pleasing river stones placed above the normal high water mark. To properly place these stones, Lower Shaker Lake’s water level will need to be lowered. The Lake will be temporarily drained to allow equipment to properly place the stones along the dam face and to also allow a thorough inspection of the dam spillway. The spillway is the foot bridge that links both sides of Brook Road. The spillway not only allows Doan Brook to continue its flow to Lake Erie but also allows for the lake to release large amounts of water safely downstream during large storms.

NEORSD logoGreen Lake

Included in this project is the improvement of the Green Lake dam located in Shaker Heights off Lee Road and Parkland Drive. The dam on Green lake is at the far western end of the lake and comprises Andover Road. This dam is an ODNR classified Class 2 dam that is out of compliance since it cannot pass the required design flood in accordance with Ohio Administrative Code. Like at Lower Shaker Lake, the Sewer District will be removing trees and brush identified by ODNR for removal. This will also occur before the April 1st endangered bat species federal protection deadline set by the Federal Endangered Species Act.

Additional work will be conducted in the summer on the Green Lake spillway to increase the spillway’s capacity to allow for larger volumes of water to pass through it during large storms without over-topping the dam. This work will result in temporarily draining the lake to allow for equipment and workers to access the spillway. Upon completion of the spillway modifications, Andover Road will be transformed into a pedestrian walkway with a foot bridge similar to the foot bridge at Lower Shaker Lake crossing the spillway. These improvements will result in the Green Lake dam achieving full compliance with ODNR regulatory requirements.

All this work is anticipated to be completed by this winter with site restoration occurring in the spring of 2020.

The Sewer District is planning to address similar deficiencies at Upper Shaker Lake (Horseshoe Lake) later this year.

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