Environment & Energy

photo of Happy Days Lodge
MARK URYCKI / WKSU

Couples who want to get married in Cuyahoga Valley National Park have a new option next month – pop-up weddings designed around social distancing.

The park is partnering with wedding planners Haus of Cool to provide wedding packages for groups up to 10 people. They’ll offer six weddings per day on six dates this summer.

Leedco wind farm
WKSU

The proposed Icebreaker wind farm project in Lake Erie has received approval from the Ohio Power Siting Board -- but with a potentially fatal caveat about when the turbines can operate.

photo of Brecksville Dam
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

It was the beginning of the end of the Brecksville Dam today. Crews started the process of deconstructing the dam. That began with notching a hole for sediment to flow through the concrete structure.

A new report places Cleveland 29th in the nation for its park system, up six spots from its ranking in a similar study last year.

The ParkScore index from the Trust for Public Land (TPL) looks at various factors to determine the quality of a city’s park system, including accessibility, size, amenities and financial investment.

Updated: 11:02 a.m., Wednesday, May 27, 2020.

Holden Forests and Gardens reopens the arboretum to the public this week, with additional guidelines to help maintain social distancing.

The Holden Arboretum opened to members May 12, and will allow the general public starting Thursday, May 28. The Cleveland Botanical Garden in University Circle, which is also managed by the arboretum, will remain temporarily closed.

a lake in Canton
/ STARK PARKS

The results of Tuesday's primary will determine whether Stark Parks will have the money it needs to keep the system operational.

If a renewal levy on the ballot passes, Stark Parks will be able to keep open thousands of acres of hiking and biking trails and marinas.

Last November voters defeated a parks levy that include a slight increase over the current levy.

Ohio's bald eagle population is making a strong comeback, according to the 2020 nest census from the Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

Climate Change Threatens Great Lakes Shoreline With Erosion

Apr 18, 2020

Climate change is increasing erosion on what’s known as the nation’s “third coast” — the Great Lakes shoreline. And that’s threatening beaches, parks and other recreation areas used by people from cities across the region. 

View of Lake Erie
JEFF ST. CLAIR / WKSU

To paraphrase a quote from the 1990s sitcom "NewsRadio": Winter in Northeast Ohio is the best seven months of the year.  But that may not be true in the future. The four warmest winters on record occurred in the past decade.  This edition of WKSU’s OH Really? answers a listener question about how climate change might affect Northeast Ohio in the future.

Updated: 3:00 p.m.

Cincinnati City Council Member Chris Seelbach has announced the city could soon have a blanket ban on single use plastic bags. Seelbach said stores that sell food, including restaurants, will not be allowed to use these bags starting Jan. 1, 2021, if City Council approves the ordinance.

photo of Dane Johnson, Karen Lakus, Beth Robb, Cleveland MetroParks
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

There’s just one weekend left to get a taste of maple sugaring in the Cleveland MetroParks. The climate in Northeast Ohio makes it ideal for collecting sap from maple trees.

Groups Seeking Clevelanders' Vision For The Valley

Feb 28, 2020

The City of Cleveland, MetroParks, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency and other local groups are asking what Clevelanders want to see in the Flats – and beyond. 

They’re looking for input on a long-term plan for the Cuyahoga River Valley, from Steelyard Commons to the lakefront. At a public listening session this week at Forest City Brewery, the groups explained the process and asked for ideas.

A federal judge has ruled that the “Lake Erie Bill Of Rights” passed last year by Toledo voters is unconstitutional.

Mentor-on-the-Lake Explores Options to Tackle Erosion

Feb 28, 2020
photo of Lake Erie
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Mentor-on-the-Lake officials are considering moving an observation deck further inland to protect it from erosion.

Mayor David Eva says Overlook Beach Park has lost most of its beachfront over the years. But he says high water levels and lack of ice cover on Lake Erie this year brought additional concerns as the area around an overlook deck washes away.

“We are going to look into possibly moving that away from the bluff that it’s on now,” Eva said. 

Precipitation Exacerbates Erosion in Geneva on the Lake

Feb 27, 2020
photo of Lake Erie
JEFF ST. CLAIR / WKSU

Geneva-on-the-Lake lost five to six feet of lakefront land Wednesday. Precipitation and high water levels are exacerbating the town’s erosion problems where 45 feet of land had already washed into Lake Erie earlier this month.

Geneva-on-the-Lake and Township Park officials met this week to discuss permit applications to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Those permits would allow for the construction of erosion defenses.

Updated: 4:01 p.m., Wedensday, Feb. 26, 2020

Several Northeast Ohio companies are among the worst 100 industrial facilities in the country emitting toxic fumes in heavily populated areas, according to a report released Wednesday. Emissions include chromium, nickel, and copper, which are considered hazardous for human health by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  

crane feeds an auto shredder
JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

If you live in the Rust Belt, you’ve likely seen your share of scrap metal yards. Scrap might look like rusted junk, but industrial recycling remains a robust industry. Industrial recycling, combined with commercial material from retail operations, makes up the majority of the U.S. recycling industry today.


In 1979 there were just four pairs of Bald Eagles left nesting anywhere in Ohio.

Habitat loss and the misuse of pesticides had almost wiped the bird out.

However, decades of conservation work has paid off. There are now Bald Eagles all over the state, and in 2012 the bird was removed from Ohio’s endangered list.

Bainbridge Township recycling center
AMANDA RABINOWITZ / WKSU

Recycling in Ohio’s rural communities is all about choice and effort. If curbside is available, it’s expensive, leading many people to rely on dropoff centers. But some areas just want to do it their way, which can be a challenge.

photo of Meredith Ersing
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

When it comes to recycling plastic, most people check for a number on the bottom of every container. But what does that number actually mean, and why are some plastics not recyclable? This installment of our series, Reduce, Reuse, Refocus traces the life cycle of a piece of plastic.

photo of Jim Tomko
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

The 23rd Great Backyard Bird Count ends tonight, and one group of birders is raising concerns about some disturbing trends.

a photo of a woman with recycling bin
JOE GUNDERMAN / WKSU

Changes in international markets along with skyrocketing processing costs have thrown the industry into a tailspin.

In this first installment of our series Reduce, Reuse, Refocus, we sort through the confusion about recycling. 

We heard it from you time and again.

"Why can't I find one place where I can get what I need to know about recycling in my city, my village, my township?"

We looked. We couldn't find one either.

As part of our series, Reduce Reuse Refocus, we decided to build one for you.

Lake Erie algal bloom
NOAA / GLERL

A state commission is asking people to comment on its latest plan to protect and restore Lake Erie. 

The first priority area listed in the Ohio Lake Erie Commission’s 2-year plan is reducing nutrient pollution. That’s a type of contamination mostly from farm fertilizer and manure, and it leads to toxic algal blooms.

Lake Erie is tearing away parts of the shoreline along Geneva-on-the-Lake. The village has declared a state of emergency due to accelerated erosion.

The shoreline along Geneva Township Park lost 35 feet of land to Lake Erie last week. In the past 24 hours, it’s lost between six and eight feet more, said Geneva-on-the-Lake Village Administrator Jeremy Shaffer.

“We’re cautioning people to look but stay away, at a safe distance,” Shaffer said. “But there’s also that imminent threat to public infrastructure, to critical infrastructure pieces in this.”

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