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Abstract

The 2005 removal of the 3.6-m-high Munroe Falls Dam from the middle Cuyahoga River, Ohio, provided an opportunity to assess dam removal channel-evolution models and to anticipate impacts from additional dam removals on the Cuyahoga River. Preremoval geomorphic and sedimentologic conditions were characterized. Monitoring of the river response to dam removal has continued for 5 yr. The dam removal lowered base level and increased flow velocity upstream of the former dam site. Postremoval, the initial channel response was rapid incision to the predam substrate, followed by rapid lateral erosion of the exposed impoundment fill. Four to nine months after removal, dewatering and vegetation of the exposed impoundment fill greatly reduced the rate of lateral erosion. For 2.5 yr post -removal, sandy bar forms were present upstream of the former dam, and sand was transported under all flow conditions of the year. Subsequently, the bed has become armored with gravel. Downstream of the former dam site, the channel aggraded with sand, causing flow to occupy meander bend chutes that had formerly only been active during high flow. A sandy deltaic feature has accumulated 3.3 km downstream in the impoundment created by the Le Fever Dam. The impacts of the Munroe Falls Dam removal are generally well described by published channel-evolution models with minor exceptions due to local geology and hydrology. The similarities between the Munroe Falls and Le Fever Dam impoundments suggest that this study can aid in understanding the impacts of the possible future removal of the Le Fever Dam.

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