CLEVELAND Environmentalists hope to increase the fish population in the Cuyahoga River through the construction of new retaining walls in the shipping channel.
The bulkheads would be designed with pockets where plants can grow and fish can find refuge as they swim to and from Lake Erie.
"The ship channel is the gateway to the Cuyahoga River, and sometimes it is a hard and hostile place for baby fish to make it downstream," said James White, executive director of the Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan, an environmental group.
"The bulkheads will allow commercial shipping but will also allow habitat friendly pockets where fish can grow."
Most of the river's current bulkheads retaining walls along the river that help protect ships were built in the 1930s and contribute to erosion, White said.
A $30,000 donation from Mittal Steel USA and a $500,000 grant Cuyahoga County received from the federal government will be used to help develop the new bulkheads, White said. The steel manufacturer also donated to the city nearly an acre of land where prototype bulkheads will be placed to help feed fish in the river, he said.
More than 70 species of fish frequent the river's shipping channel, according to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.