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Akron Watershed Land Management


Security of the dams, reservoirs, water treatment plant and other watershed facilities is critical to Akron’s ability to continuously provide an ample supply of water to the nearly 300,000 area residents who drink Akron water. Fencing, surveillance cameras, ranger patrols and agreements with local authorities all combine together to provide security to Akron’s water supply system extending over three counties.

Akron’s security and emergency response plans have been developed using Homeland Security guidelines. All Water Supply staff are trained to respond to threats and emergencies through FEMA National Incident Management System training. Motion sensor and night vision equipped security systems have been installed at all reservoirs and maintenance facilities for around the clock surveillance.

Some areas of Akron’s lands are restricted not for security purposes but for conservation and preservation of natural areas which may protect threatened and endangered species of fish, invertebrates and plants. Please respect areas that are labeled as “No Trespassing” to assist in the preservation of these natural sanctuaries.

Limited access for recreation to East Branch, LaDue and Mogadore Reservoirs is permitted with assistance from the Geauga Parks District, Bayhill Enterprises and the ODNR. There is absolutely no access to Lake Rockwell Reservoir.

Source Water Protection Program

Akron Watershed Rangers and Field Analysts work diligently to monitor the entire Watershed .

What Akron Watershed Division does to protect the Upper Cuyahoga River Watershed:

  • Field analysts sample physical and chemical characteristics of the river and major tributaries regularly
  • Field analysts and watershed rangers monitor all EPA National Pollutant Discharge Eliminations Systems (NPDES) permitted throughout the watershed including waste water treatment plants and industries that discharge any byproducts into a waterway
  • Analysts and Rangers also monitor potential pollution sources including oil wells and storage facilities, agricultural runoff, construction and hazardous materials sites and sand and gravel operations
  • Work with local municipalities and agencies to identify and prevent runoff and potential pollution sources

Sustainable Forestry Management

The City of Akron has recently revitalized its sustainable forestry program, which it has historically operated on City of Akron owned lands in both Geauga and Portage counties.  By working with knowledgeable, well-qualified professional foresters, partnering with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Division of Wildlife, and involvement from local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the City of Akron can ensure that all forestry work is held to the highest standards, employing the latest techniques and best management practices to benefit both wildlife and water quality.

It is well accepted that active and responsible forestry management on woodlands is imperative, not only for the health of the land managed, but also for improving the quality of the forest for wildlife and biodiversity, the quality of the surface and ground water, and air quality. Active management in forested areas also reduces the risk of forest fires and associated damages.

Akron’s management also serves to improve water quality by freeing up resources (water, nutrient and sunlight) for younger trees, which can be stunted when over-mature trees dominate the soils below (nutrients and water) and the canopy above (sunlight). Younger trees absorb more water and nutrients than older trees, thereby improving water quality and reducing nutrient loading into the reservoir.  In addition, newly-created young forest habitat has been shown to be over 20 times more productive at promoting healthy populations of important woodland wildlife, such as songbirds and game species, when compared to forested lands which contain only single-age mature trees.

Site 1 (2 months after timber stand improvement):

Site 1 (10 months after timber stand improvement):

Site 2 (2 months after timber stand improvement):

Site 2 (10 months after timber stand improvement):

Site 3 (2 months after timber stand improvement):

Site 3 (10 months after timber stand improvement):

Invasive Species Program:

One important facet of any truly sustainable forestry program is an invasive species management program and team.  The City of Akron employs knowledgeable employees who hold Commercial Pesticide Applicator’s licenses, and are well-trained in native and invasive plant identification and current treatment methods.

Each potential forestry site is first evaluated for invasive species presence, and a unique management plan is formulated on a site-by-site basis. This improves the long-term health of each unique forest plot by removing invasive species to promote native species regeneration and biodiversity.

The City of Akron controls invasive species both mechanically, via machetes and chainsaws, or chemically, using herbicides rated for safe use around drinking water resources and other sensitive environments. By combining invasive species management efforts with wise long-term harvest planning and multi-agency cooperation, The City of Akron can ensure that its woodlands are healthy and able to provide the maximum benefit to both wildlife biodiversity and water quality in the Upper Cuyahoga River Watershed.

Why is deer management needed at Lake Rockwell?

A white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) management program is in an integral part of a successful, sustainable forestry management program in Northeast Ohio. Responsible forestry management is an integral part of the City of Akron’s (COA) nationally recognized source water protection strategies.  COA strives to foster a diverse, multi-layered, multi-storied, balanced ecosystem, through a variety of strategies. These strategies combined contribute to high quality, naturally filtered water entering the waterways, and ultimately the source waters for COA’s drinking water treatment plant, improving drinking water quality while potentially reducing treatment costs and contamination issues.

City of Akron has spent considerable effort on creating a program that falls in line with the goals of the Water Supply Bureau and has conferred with many agencies on all aspects of the program during the development phase. The deer management links below belong to the agencies who helped shape the program or manage a successful deer management program.

In addition to guidance from public agencies with experience managing deer in urban and rural locations, the City of Akron has also been monitoring the deer populations on Watershed Properties since 2018, and will continue to do so to measure the effectiveness of the program, and to plan future management strategies.

For question please email [email protected]

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