Our Mission... is to restore and protect the environmental quality of the Cuyahoga River and selected watersheds that affect the aquatic ecosystems of the immediate Lake Erie shoreline.
Our Organization... Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization (CRCPO) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that operates the RAP (Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan,) the Cuyahoga American Heritage River Initiative (AHR,) and Cuyahoga ReLeaf.


Joseph Koncelik, Chairman

Bina Patel Botts
Laura DeYoung
Susan Gavazzi
Joe Gregory
Michael Lyons
William Skowronski
Linda Sternheimer

Ed Wilk, Ohio EPA RAP Coordinator, ex-Officio

Our History... began in 1988 when the CRCPO was created by the Ohio EPA to serve as fiscal agent and community-based coordinator for the Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan (RAP). The RAP was mandated by the International Joint Commission, an American/Canadian government partnership dedicated to restoring and protecting the water quality and resources of the Great Lakes.

Since then, the CRCPO has also become the lead partner in the Cuyahoga American Heritage River Initiative (CAHR), a federal program to assist in the restoration and protection of the environmental, economic, cultural and historical character of the fourteen designated American Heritage Rivers.

Most recently, the CRCPO has created a third initiative, the Cuyahoga/Lake Erie Environmental Resource Technology Center (CLEERTEC) to create economic development opportunities through innovative technological solutions for environmental restoration and protection.

Our Programs...

Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan (RAP), which includes a strong emphasis on delisting actions (those which remedy the specific issues listed on the EPA's definition of a river at risk) and support for community-based tributary groups to help them develop watershed management plans to meet delisting goals. The RAP is directed and supported by a coordinating committee of 39 stakeholder partners including community groups, individuals, businesses, government agencies and local officials with a commitment to restoring the beneficial uses of the Cuyahoga River and its tributaries.

The RAP's Area of Concern includes the portion of the Cuyahoga River and its tributaries in approximately the western, downstream half of the river, as it turns north in Summit County and flows to the Lake, plus tributary watersheds that drain from Portage County and selected additional waterways that flow directly into Lake Erie.

Cuyahoga American Heritage River Initiative, which encompasses the entire Cuyahoga River from its headwaters in Geauga County, through Portage, Summit and Cuyahoga Counties to its outflow into Lake Erie. We work with our local AHR partners to develop restoration and protection strategies that enhance the quality of life of the river and its environs, and with other of the fourteen rivers designated as American Heritage Rivers on sustainability issues on a national scope.

Cuyahoga ReLeaf® works to restore and protect forest canopy, especially along riparian buffers, to improve stream quality and habitat. The healthiest streams are those where trees and vegetation provide shade, regulate water temperature, reduce pollution from surface runoff, reduce erosion, capture and store floodwaters and drop leaves to provide food and shelter to macroinvertebrates. We bring together local governments, landowners and stream stewards to prioritize restoration areas, improve and standardize local ordinances, and assist with tree planting.

CLEERTEC - The Cuyahoga/Lake Erie Environmental Resource Technology Center's first project will be to design and develop a prototype "green bulkhead" to replace aging steel bulkheads along the Cuyahoga River ship channel at the mouth of the river. The goal is to create environmentally-friendly structures that maintain the integrity of the riverbanks and allow for navigation of large ships, yet provide habitat for aquatic organisms and support fish as they migrate to and from the lake and the upper reaches of the river and its tributaries.

Our Services...
PLANNING We support planning and implementation of remediation and restoration projects including habitat restoration, riparian zone restoration and repair, balanced growth land use planning and best management practices.
We assist in the development of local watershed stewardship groups, and in some cases acting as fiscal agent and support staff where needed.
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE We provide maps, data and technical assistance focused on watershed and wetland functions, with decades of expertise in technical and scientific research and reporting, GIS/RS mapping and data inventory.
EDUCATION We write, design and publish educational and outreach materials to support watershed stewardship, addressing specific locales as well as general concepts. We train local officials in watershed protection, and agency personnel in communicating about storm water management and stream stewardship.
Although the EPA acknowledged that fish populations and other impairments in most of the AOC had improved to a level where delisting for those BUIs in certain areas would be indicated, they declined to delist discrete sections of the AOC, preferring to wait until they could delist the entire AOC.

We are currently focusing on improving water quality and fish habitat in the ship channel and working in support of dam removal at the southern end of the Area of Concern and in Euclid Creek.

CUYAHOGA RELEAF is our new Urban Watershed Forestry program, designed to protect and restore streams by planting and improving riparian buffers and increasing the urban forest canopy. We have held forest cover and ordinance review workshops, tree planting projects and we are preparing riparian planting "kits" to support and promote tree canopy restoration.

HABITAT FOR HARD PLACES...restoring natural areas and creating new habitat for larval fish along the navigation channel. -
We are working on a comprehensive plan to restore habitat in the ship channel where the fish need it. In addition to the Scranton Peninsula Habitat project, for which we lead the habitat team, we are working with partners including Cleveland Metroparks, the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission, and the Port Authority, and with funding support from ArcelorMittal, on various projects throughout the ship channel.

We have developed a plan for Big Creek that will serve as a basis for land use decisions in the watershed. The Big Creek Balanced Growth Plan was approved by the Lake Erie Commission in June, 2011, making the watershed communities eligible for state incentives and additional resources to assist in carrying out restoration projects and other programs.

The final draft of the Furnace Run Balanced Growth Plan will be delivered to the Furnace Run Partnership communities in summer of 2011, then presented to each community for its adoption.

The Partnership is in place. Now we are working with communities in "The Brandywine," as well as Summit County planners, engineers and soil and water conservation district, and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, on a Balanced Growth watershed management plan.

Maintaining momentum from the Year of the River, we continue to broaden our partnership base, reach out to local governments and engage more segments of the general population. We will continue our marketing and merchandising efforts to find ways to connect every individual to the watershed, whether via t-shirts or teachers.

The latest prioritizations have been published for Big Creek (see web page.)

We have published The Watershed Book - a comprehensive user's guide to watersheds - and hope to deliver them with new workshops for new groups of municipalities.

We continue to present programs to teachers, students, naturalists and educators as well as the general public.

The Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization (CRCPO)
is host to the Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan (RAP) and
the Cuyahoga American Heritage River Initiative.

We work with partners, stakeholders and communities
in five Northeast Ohio counties to restore and revitalize the
Cuyahoga River Watershed and Areas Of Concern, and
to improve water quality in the watershed and Lake Erie.

CRCPO • 1299 Superior Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44114