OSU Area

5TH AVE DAM REMOVAL

5th Ave. dam

Before 5th Ave. Dam Removal:

The section of the Olentangy between Dodridge Street and 5th Avenue was one of the most negatively impacted sections of the river. Nearly all of the river was a slack pool behind the 5th Avenue Dam. The 5th Avenue Dam was constructed in 1935 in order to provide a secure supply of water for the Ohio State University power plant. The power plant no longer generates electricity, but does create steam for the university's central steam system using water from municipal mains. There is a dike maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers on the eastern shore of the river for most of this section. The dike protects many important structures such as Ohio Stadium and the Battelle Memorial Institute from flooding, but also contributes to the channelization of the river. The slack water behind the dam is used by OSU's club crew teams, based out of the Drake Union Boathouse. This section of the Olentangy is also home to the iconic Lane Avenue Bridge.

Lane Avenue Bridge

Shortly after dam removal at 5th Avenue.

July 14, 2016

After Dam Removal:

The 5th Avenue Dam Removal Project was completed September 4, 2014. Today, the banks are filling in with native vegetation, while fish and other aquatic species are returning to the restored river channel.


Plans and Studies:

5th Avenue Dam Project, Department of Public Utilities, City of Columbus


July 2014 5th Avenue Dam e-newsletter (PDF – 2.8 MB)


5th Avenue Dam Removal and progress with the Lower Olentangy Ecosystem Restoration Project


Proposed Removal Plan by Stantec (PDF – 11MB)


Baseline monitoring for 5th Ave Dam project (see page 66 of this compilation of Ohio EPA studies) – 2011 Wildcat Run and 5th Avenue Dam Removal Baseline Data


First Year Compliance Report 2015 – 5th Ave Dam – Prepared by DLZ.


Second Year Monitoring of the Fifth Avenue Dam Removal and Lower Olentangy River Ecosystem Restoration Project – Stantec Consulting Services, for the City of Columbus, 9/30/2016.


Third Year Monitoring of the Fifth Avenue Dam Removal and Lower Olentangy River Ecosystem Restoration Project – Stantec Consulting Services, for the City of Columbus 12/15/2017.


Fourth Year Monitoring of the Fifth Avenue Dam Removal and Lower Olentangy River Ecosystem Restoration Project – Stantec Consulting Services, for the City of Columbus, 11/6/2018.


Fifth Year Monitoring of the Fifth Avenue Dam Removal and Lower Olentangy River Ecosystem Restoration Project – Stantec Consulting Services, for the City of Columbus, 11/27/2019.


Water Quality Considerations (prior to removal)

EPA water quality assessments are based on the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the river. Prior to dam removal, this section of the Olentangy River was classified as "non-attaining” for a warm water habitat. There are several prominent Combined Sewer Overflow locations in this section of the river, which contributes to high pathogen and fecal coliform bacteria counts. Repairs to the aging sewer system in the Old North Columbus Neighborhood which were completed in 2009 should help to reduce these dangerous pathogens. Based on data collected in 2003 it is also classified as “non-attaining” for personal contact recreation. In other words, it is not advisable to swim in this section of the river. FLOW recommended the removal of the 5th Avenue Dam, largely because slow moving water impairs the aerobic digestion of waste from CSOs and SSOs. Additionally, removal of the dam would allow the river to take on a natural riffle and pool structure that would ensure a more high-quality habitat. There are some fears of releasing heavy metals and other dangerous sediments from behind the dam, so sediment removal may have to be considered similar to the project recently undertaken on the Cuyahoga River in Kent, Ohio.

WATERMAN FARMS

Waterman Farms project map and description

View the area on Google Earth, with notations, here

from Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
Section 319(h) Nonpoint Source Program Grant

Waterman Agriculture and Natural Resources Laboratory is located on the main campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus Ohio and is home to education and research projects in an extensive list of agriculture disciplines. The site exhibited physical and operational characteristics detrimental to water quality, include unrestricted access of livestock to the stream, channels that have been deepened and straightened for drainage purposes, and a lack of an established conservation and manure management plan. To address these concerns, this project included three main components:

1. Installation of agriculture BMPs that include livestock exclusion fencing, a rotational grazing system, stream restoration using two-stage and forming channel design principles, and the establishment of cover crops.

2. Creation of a demonstration and education site for OSU students, agricultural operators interested in learning more about planning and implementing similar projects

3. Development of a complete conservation and nutrient management plan that outlines resource concerns and identifies practices to improve water quality and farm production.

RESULTS

A 2014 EPA report details the Waterman Farm project needs, undertaken after monitoring in 2011 and 2012 indicated very poor assessments of fish and macroinvertebrates. See page 49 and following for details of the monitoring and project description.