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Social Issues

Public meetings to reveal results of environmental assessments of Dike 14
Wednesday, December 5, Cleveland Lakefront State Park, 8701 Lakeshore Blvd., NE (east of MLK Drive), 5-6:30 p.m. ...OR...Thursday, December 6, St. Phillip Neri Church - Community Center, 799 East 82nd Street (off St. Clair Ave.), 6:30 - 8 p.m.

Karen Schaefer
This week the Cuyahoga County Soil and Water Conservation District will hold two public meetings in Cleveland to discuss the findings of environmental assessments at Dike 14. This former landfill on Lake Erie - built from sediments dredged from the Cuyahoga River " is now a natural area that conservationists would like to preserve.
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Your Way Home, December 4, 2007
Tonight and Thursday, the Cuyahoga County Soil and Water Conservation District will hold two public meetings in Cleveland to discuss the findings of environmental assessments at Dike 14 " assessments which may grant public access to the "accidental" nature preserve.
Dike 14 was created in 1977 to hold sediments dredged from the shipping channel of the Cuyahoga River. When the dike closed more than 20-years later, nature took over. For the last five years, environmental educators have held spring and fall open houses so the public can see what's inside the gates. The rest of the year, the former landfill remains closed. Conservationists like Chris Trepal, director of EarthDay Coalition and member of the Dike 14 Environmental Education Collaborative, would like to see the gates open to the public year round.
Trepal says nearly 300 species of migrating and resident birds have been spotted on the 88-acres of land within the dike, including bald eagles. It was named an important bird area by the Audubon Society and universities and museums have conducted plant and animal surveys.
In 2004, Cleveland approved the use of Dike 14 as a nature preserve, but it wasn't clear that the site was safe for humans.
This year, with a grant from the US EPA, consultants took soil and water samples on Dike 14 to determine if it is safe for public use.
"What we did find out was that, with the exception of about a five-acre area... that the site is in pretty good condition for ecological exposure and human health risk," said Janine Rybka, administrator of the Cuyahoga County Soil and Water Conservation District.
But there's still a long way to go before Dike 14 can be opened to the public. Bill Gruber, a member of the Dike 14 Committee, says a manager for the nature preserve needs to be determined. So far, Gruber says, no one is stepping forward.
One potential manager might be the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, but a spokesperson for the agency says that decision is a long way off.
Gruber is also concerned that a second city plan for Dike 14 would add recreational developments like a bike path and picnic tables.
Rybka agrees that Dike 14 should remain a nature preserve with only limited access for the public, for researchers and especially school children.
"When you bring them out to a site like Dike 14, you show them and explain to them this is the stuff you learned in the classroom," she said. "And to see the light bulb go off in their heads, it's incredible."

Related Links & Resources
Dike 14 environmental education collaborative

Dike 14 brochure

Dike 14 Nature Preserve

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