Courtesy of Columbus Underground:
Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman is commonly referred to as “Bikin’ Mike” due to his commitment to biking infrastructure and common spandex-clan sightings. Today, he can add “Canoein’ Mike” to his dossier, as he arrived at a press conference this morning where local officials celebrated the completion of the Olentangy River Restoration Project.
“This project is a prime example of our commitment to provide responsible stewardship of our natural resources,” said Mayor Coleman. “The dam that once stood behind me was a safety risk as well as an obstacle. It prevented the river from flowing naturally, impacting the Olentangy’s water quality – something we changed with the help of our partners at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, The Ohio State University, and Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed.”
The Fifth Avenue dam removal began in the fall of 2012, kicking off the two-year project, which included the re-engineering of the river itself and the creation of a new shoreline ecosystem. Of course, the river will continue to evolve in the coming years and decades and native plant species grow, animals return to the habitat and the river waters determine which areas of shoreline it will keep and where it will natural erode.
A similar project is currently underway Downtown, where the Main Street Dam was removed and the shoreline of the Scioto River is being resculpted between North Bank Park and Bicentennial Park. Eventually, the two projects will become interlinked with the removal of several other lowhead dams along the Olentangy River that will return the waterway to a natural, clean and navigable state for recreational use.