Written by Christina Dierkes, Ohio Sea Grant Communications
Dredging shipping channels is an unavoidable part of harbor maintenance in the western Lake Erie basin. In Toledo, the Army Corps of Engineers removes about one million cubic yards of sediment from the Maumee River each year, washed downstream by heavy rainstorms and agricultural runoff. But once the sediment is removed from the shipping channel, where does it go?
determine how well each mix allows
plants to grow. Core samples are taken to
get a closer look at soil structure without
having to disturb much of the surrounding soil.
Karen Rogalski, who coordinates the project as part of the hospital’s community health efforts, appreciates the opportunity to use local resources in her work. “Our mission at the hospital is to improve the health of our community,” she says. “And we had a great opportunity to use resources such as dredging material and leaf collection and make a product that can improve the health of the community, it can improve the beauty of the community, and it will help us create a sustainable environment.”
The Cherry Street neighborhood in central Toledo is
becoming a test site for the use of sediment soil blends
in community restoration efforts.
The Cherry Street Legacy Project is a community partnership designed to create a stronger and safer neighborhood. The project currently focuses on demolishing abandoned homes in the area, to improve the overall value of the neighborhood, as well as to make it a safer place to live. “We established baselines on all our crime when we first started this project,” Rogalski explains. “And it’s not surprising that our neighborhood’s number one crime for the last several years was burglary, because if you have a blighted structure next to you, it provides an opportunity for someone to stand in that structure unseen, and when you leave, then your house is broken into.” By removing the abandoned buildings and improving line of sight for residents and police officers, burglary incidents were reduced so much that it is no longer the top crime in the neighborhood.
In addition to providing tailored soil blend recipes to some of these partners, Dayton and her research team will create an analysis of the economic impacts of using dredged sediments in soil blends. “We’ve gotten some information from some of the soil blenders, but it’s not enough to run an analysis yet,” she says. “I’m hoping to add this partnership with the land bank and the City of Toledo to the data, because that would be a really good test study. So that’s going to be on our plate for this winter for sure.”