Environment & Energy

Solar array
DOVETAIL WIND AND SOLAR

Clean energy advocates say the industry in Ohio has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. An analysis of Labor Department data by the group Environmental Entrepreneurs or E2 finds more than 20,000 Ohioans who worked in the clean energy industry have filed for unemployment since March.

That’s almost 20% of the more than 114,000 employed in the industry at the end of last year.

Micaela Preskill is from E2. She says the industry needs policymakers' support to get back on track.

With dredged material now viewed as a marketable commodity, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local agencies are seeking public input on a new 20-year dredging plan for Cleveland Harbor.

For nearly 50 years, dredged material has been stored in confined disposal facilities, isolating what was dredged from adjacent waterways. 

photo of Pinery Dam
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

For decades, supporters of cleaner water have been working to rid the Cuyahoga River of its dams, which impede the flow of water.

Restoring that flow is improving water quality and providing new opportunities for wildlife and recreation on the river.

The latest project -- removing the Brecksville Dam -- has revealed a bit of history that dates back almost 200 years.

photo of Pinery Dam
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

The Brecksville Dam removal project hit a milestone this week, as waters receded enough to reveal the historic Pinery Dam that’s been submerged since the 1950s.

The older, wooden dam is nearly 200 years old and was intended to divert water from the Cuyahoga River to the Ohio & Erie Canal just to the east. It’s currently being studied by Cuyahoga Valley National Park historians.

photo of smokestacks
JAMES KELLY / SHUTTERSTOCK

For decades, factories in Cleveland's Industrial Valley have sent smoke and even fire out of their smokestacks – a process known as “flaring.”

Margaret Liske from Hudson has always wondered about the smokestacks along I-77 near Cleveland.

“They belch out huge, high billows of smoke and -- at night -- fire. Why is this potential heat not somehow recycled [or] reused?”

For the answer, we asked Krishna Rao, a chemical engineer who recently retired as president of Valley View-based plastics firm, Nanofilm.

People in the eastern United States are getting a treat this spring - if you consider more cicadas than usual a treat. Five different cicada broods have emerged instead of the one that was expected.

A Republican-backed bill to prohibit communities from banning plastic bags and other disposable containers passed the Senate on a mostly party line vote, after a significant change related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A photo of ribbon cutting for Summit Lake loop trail
TIM FITZWATER

The Knight Foundation has committed another round of funding to Akron projects that aim to "Reimagine the Civic Commons."

Akron will receive $1.6 million to extend efforts to revitalize public spaces in the Summit Lake neighborhood, develop the new Ohio and Erie Canal Park and continue work downtown with Locks 2, 3, and 4.

Knight Foundation’s Akron Program Director Kyle Kutuchief says the racial and economic diversity of these areas represent Akron.

photo of Happy Days Lodge
MARK URYCKI / WKSU

Couples who want to get married in Cuyahoga Valley National Park have a new option next month – pop-up weddings designed around social distancing.

The park is partnering with wedding planners Haus of Cool to provide wedding packages for groups up to 10 people. They’ll offer six weddings per day on six dates this summer.

Leedco wind farm
WKSU

The proposed Icebreaker wind farm project in Lake Erie has received approval from the Ohio Power Siting Board -- but with a potentially fatal caveat about when the turbines can operate.

photo of Brecksville Dam
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

It was the beginning of the end of the Brecksville Dam today. Crews started the process of deconstructing the dam. That began with notching a hole for sediment to flow through the concrete structure.

A new report places Cleveland 29th in the nation for its park system, up six spots from its ranking in a similar study last year.

The ParkScore index from the Trust for Public Land (TPL) looks at various factors to determine the quality of a city’s park system, including accessibility, size, amenities and financial investment.

Updated: 5:27 p.m., Thursday, June 4, 2020.

Cleveland Botanical Garden in University Circle will reopen its outdoor trails and gardens to both members and the public June 10. 

Holden Forests and Gardens recently reopened Holden Arboretum to the public, with additional guidelines to help maintain social distancing. The arboretum opened to members May 12.

Visiting the arboretum and botanical garden now require reservations, with maximum group sizes limited to 10 people.

a lake in Canton
/ STARK PARKS

The results of Tuesday's primary will determine whether Stark Parks will have the money it needs to keep the system operational.

If a renewal levy on the ballot passes, Stark Parks will be able to keep open thousands of acres of hiking and biking trails and marinas.

Last November voters defeated a parks levy that include a slight increase over the current levy.

Ohio's bald eagle population is making a strong comeback, according to the 2020 nest census from the Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

Climate Change Threatens Great Lakes Shoreline With Erosion

Apr 18, 2020

Climate change is increasing erosion on what’s known as the nation’s “third coast” — the Great Lakes shoreline. And that’s threatening beaches, parks and other recreation areas used by people from cities across the region. 

View of Lake Erie
JEFF ST. CLAIR / WKSU

To paraphrase a quote from the 1990s sitcom "NewsRadio": Winter in Northeast Ohio is the best seven months of the year.  But that may not be true in the future. The four warmest winters on record occurred in the past decade.  This edition of WKSU’s OH Really? answers a listener question about how climate change might affect Northeast Ohio in the future.

Updated: 3:00 p.m.

Cincinnati City Council Member Chris Seelbach has announced the city could soon have a blanket ban on single use plastic bags. Seelbach said stores that sell food, including restaurants, will not be allowed to use these bags starting Jan. 1, 2021, if City Council approves the ordinance.

photo of Dane Johnson, Karen Lakus, Beth Robb, Cleveland MetroParks
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

There’s just one weekend left to get a taste of maple sugaring in the Cleveland MetroParks. The climate in Northeast Ohio makes it ideal for collecting sap from maple trees.

Groups Seeking Clevelanders' Vision For The Valley

Feb 28, 2020

The City of Cleveland, MetroParks, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency and other local groups are asking what Clevelanders want to see in the Flats – and beyond. 

They’re looking for input on a long-term plan for the Cuyahoga River Valley, from Steelyard Commons to the lakefront. At a public listening session this week at Forest City Brewery, the groups explained the process and asked for ideas.

A federal judge has ruled that the “Lake Erie Bill Of Rights” passed last year by Toledo voters is unconstitutional.

Mentor-on-the-Lake Explores Options to Tackle Erosion

Feb 28, 2020
photo of Lake Erie
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Mentor-on-the-Lake officials are considering moving an observation deck further inland to protect it from erosion.

Mayor David Eva says Overlook Beach Park has lost most of its beachfront over the years. But he says high water levels and lack of ice cover on Lake Erie this year brought additional concerns as the area around an overlook deck washes away.

“We are going to look into possibly moving that away from the bluff that it’s on now,” Eva said. 

Precipitation Exacerbates Erosion in Geneva on the Lake

Feb 27, 2020
photo of Lake Erie
JEFF ST. CLAIR / WKSU

Geneva-on-the-Lake lost five to six feet of lakefront land Wednesday. Precipitation and high water levels are exacerbating the town’s erosion problems where 45 feet of land had already washed into Lake Erie earlier this month.

Geneva-on-the-Lake and Township Park officials met this week to discuss permit applications to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Those permits would allow for the construction of erosion defenses.

Updated: 4:01 p.m., Wedensday, Feb. 26, 2020

Several Northeast Ohio companies are among the worst 100 industrial facilities in the country emitting toxic fumes in heavily populated areas, according to a report released Wednesday. Emissions include chromium, nickel, and copper, which are considered hazardous for human health by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  

crane feeds an auto shredder
JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

If you live in the Rust Belt, you’ve likely seen your share of scrap metal yards. Scrap might look like rusted junk, but industrial recycling remains a robust industry. Industrial recycling, combined with commercial material from retail operations, makes up the majority of the U.S. recycling industry today.


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