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Watershed Projects

CITY OF AKRON WATER BUREAU FORESTRY MANAGEMENT PROGRAM: STAND RT191/LT1-1

The City of Akron manages more than 16,000 acres of land in Portage and Geauga Counties, of which approximately 40% is forested. The City of Akron is updating our forestry management program on City-owned Watershed properties, with the long term goals of continued source water protection and development of healthy forests.

Akron’s updated forestry management program will begin with a pilot parcel, referred to as RT191/LT1-1, pictured below. The area in blue outlines the boundaries where the timber harvest will occur, and consists of approximately 42 acres.

Active and responsible forestry management on woodlands is imperative. Reducing the overstock of a forested area will reduce the risk of forest fires and associated damages, and also frees up resources for younger trees that are stunted when old growth trees block sunlight and take up needed nutrients. Younger trees absorb more water and nutrients than old growth trees, thereby improving water quality and reducing nutrient loading into the reservoir.

This pilot parcel is classified as an overstocked forest.  A healthy forest has, on average, between 40-60 trees per acre and an overstocked forest is typically composed of between 100-200 trees per acre.   The pilot parcel has an average concentration of 270 trees per acre. Akron is harvesting 417 trees or 3.7% of the total trees per acre.

Responsible forestry management also requires the removal of aged trees known as salvage trees.  A salvage tree, while still alive, will die in the next few years, due to either age or disease. The pilot parcel also contains salvage trees, many of which are of the Elm and Ash variety, which are particularly at risk to Dutch Elm Disease and the Emerald Ash Borer. When potential salvage trees fall, they can cause considerable damage to the younger trees that will eventually take their place.

The City of Akron has worked closely with the Ohio Division of Natural Resources ("ODNR”) to create Akron’s Forest Management Program.  The harvest on the pilot parcel has been planned out, and every precaution for woodland health and water quality has been taken. This harvest is essential for the health of the woodlands and will lay the foundations for Akron’s Forest Management Program and future harvests. After the successful completion of this harvest, ODNR will designate the site as a Best Management Demonstration Site to be used by ODNR throughout the State of Ohio.

The City of Akron Water Bureau serves nearly 300,000 people with clean, safe and award winning water.  We will continue to manage our watershed to ensure nothing jeopardizes that immense responsibility.

Genetic Algal Testing

Furthering international relationships developed during the Akron Global Water Alliance (AGWA) International Algal Toxin Conference, a two day conference that was hosted by Akron in April of 2015, The City of Akron Water Bureau has recently partnered with an Australian company, Diagnostic Technology.

This partnership has been developed to test a product at Lake Rockwell Reservoir, the drinking water supply for the nearly 300,000 residents of the City of Akron and surrounding neighborhoods, which looks at the genetic makeup of potentially harmful algal blooms (HAB).

This product, called Phytoxigene (http://www.phytoxigene.com), uses DNA analysis to determine if the algae present in the lake has the genetic ability to create the harmful toxins that caused a Do Not Drink advisory for drinking water to be issued for two days to nearly 500,000 people in the Toledo area. 

The City of Akron will be the first water system in the United States to use Phytoxigene as a prescreening tool to help make decisions for reservoir management and water treatment.

Knowing ahead of time if the algae in the lake poses the threat to create toxins gives the leadership team at Akron Water Supply the time and confidence to make decisions to prevent harmful algal blooms and to prevent toxins from contaminating the drinking water.

Akron Mayor Jeff Fusco said “This is another example of Akron’s continued efforts to capitalize on global opportunities to take advantage of the latest technology to improve Akron’s water quality.”

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