Dike 14, a human-made landform jutting out into Lake Erie just four miles east of downtown Cleveland has become important bird habitat. The area was created because regulations in the Clean Water Act of 1972 required that polluted sediments dredged from the Cuyahoga River be contained. The Dike 14 impoundment was filled between 1980 and 1999 with dredged material unsuitable for open lake discharge.
During its history, this dredge site has become a bird magnet on this urban Lake Erie shoreline. There is no other stopover site as attractive to migrants along a 60-mile expanse of shore. Since its creation, it has become critical to healthy bird populations that use the central Lake Erie Basin. But now, when the man-made peninsula is at a healthy habitat level, there are plans to dump more fill on the site and/or to level it off completely, which would destroy the existing wildlife values of the site, including critical stopover habitats for migratory birds.
The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority (Port Authority) has applied for a Submerged Land Lease (Lease) that may make it easier for the Port Authority to dump dredge on critical areas of Dike 14. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has held a public meeting to receive comments regarding the application for a Submerged Land Lease. The Port Authority is under Federal mandate to maintain the structural components of Dike 14. Therefore, it is important that the Lease clearly limit the Port Authority’s use of Dike 14. If the Lease were to include strict limitations on designated maintenance activities, the Port Authority would not be able to dump dredge on critical wildlife areas.