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Scenic Rivers Project Reviews

Under the Ohio Revised Code, the Director of ODNR has the approval authority over publicly funded projects within 1,000 feet of state-designated scenic rivers, outside of municipal corporation limits. Scenic Rivers staff work to balance the protection of the riverine resources with the completion of proposed projects. Bridge replacements or new builds, bank stabilization, and pipeline installation are the most frequent types of projects encountered. Outlined are general best management practices for projects near or across state scenic rivers.


The appropriate Regional Scenic River Manager shall be invited to a pre-construction meeting with the contractor present and be notified of the project start date one week prior to the commencement of work. Periodic inspections of the project shall take place to ensure Scenic River requirements are being met. The appropriate Regional Scenic Rivers Manager shall also be contacted one week prior to the completion of the project to conduct a final site inspection. The final site inspection shall be scheduled while the contractor is present to ensure that the final site stabilization has been achieved. Scenic Rivers conditions shall be included in the final project plan set and must be made available to all construction personnel throughout the duration of the project. This shall ensure that the contractors understand Scenic River requirements.

Mitigation for Stream Impacts

Additional mitigation may be required to offset the negative impacts to State Scenic Rivers and their tributaries caused during the project. Any mitigation required under Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act for Scenic River stream crossings should be implemented as protection or restoration projects within the associated watershed, preferably directly on the designated Scenic River sections. This will help to ensure the long term protection of these sensitive, high-quality river systems. The Regional Scenic Rivers Manager may be able to assist with the identification and implementation of local mitigation projects.

Best Management Practices

Erosion Controls

A sediment and erosion control plan shall be developed for the site and implemented before earthwork commences. Particular attention shall be given to any drainage ways, ditches, and streams that could convey sediment-laden water directly to State Scenic Rivers. Properly installed (framed and entrenched) sediment fence shall be utilized around the work site perimeter and stormwater inlets.

Appropriately designed rock-check dams and other erosion controls shall be utilized in ditches and drainage ways. All controls shall be properly maintained until final site stabilization is achieved. All sediment and erosion controls shall be removed upon the stabilization of the project area with vegetation. Straw bales shall not be permitted as a form of erosion control.

All denuded areas, including ditches, culverts and river/stream banks, shall be permanently seeded and mulched (or fiber mat) immediately upon completion of earthwork or temporarily seeded and mulched (or fiber mat) within 7 days if the area is to remain idle for more than 30 days. Access roads constructed on slopes shall be graveled to prevent erosion from surface runoff.

Storage of Fuels, Petrochemicals, and Equipment

Idle equipment, petrochemicals, and toxic/hazardous materials should not be stored in the floodplain or near any drainage ways, ditches, or streams that could convey such materials to State Scenic Rivers or any of their tributaries.

Petrochemicals and toxic/hazardous materials shall not be discharged into any State Scenic River, their floodplains, or any of their tributary drainage ways, ditches or streams.

Refueling of equipment shall not occur in the floodplain or near any tributary drainage ways, ditches or streams.

Spill Prevention

The permittee shall develop a Spill Prevention Countermeasure and Contingency Plan (SPCC) in the event of a spill or break in an equipment hydraulic line, which may discharge into waters of the state.

All spills must be reported to the Ohio Spill Line (1-800-282-9378) in accordance with OAC 3750.06.

Material Disposal

Any and all construction debris, earthen debris, excess asphalt or concrete, wood debris from the clearing, excess fill material, material excavated from the river bottom and trash shall be disposed of at an approved upland site or landfill above 100-year flood elevations. Disposal of any such materials in wetlands, floodplains or within 1000 feet of State Scenic Rivers is prohibited.

In-Stream Work

All in-stream work shall be conducted during dry periods of extremely low flow (August 1 through October 31).

Any disturbed areas in the stream bottom shall be returned to pre-construction contours. Stream bottom elevations shall be determined before in-stream work commences to ensure that all fill material and debris is completely removed before construction is completed. If feasible, pier construction utilizing drilled shafts and holding pits (for sediment-laden water and excess concrete) is recommended.

  • Rip-rap used shall be kept to the minimum amount needed to prevent scour and shall consist of clean rock only (free of any toxic or fine material).
  • All fill material used as rip-rap, work platforms or cofferdams shall be a minimum of three inches in diameter and be washed to remove fine particulate matter (i.e. clay, silt, sand and soil).
  • Work platforms shall be kept to the absolute minimum size needed to facilitate in-stream work. In-stream work shall be conducted through the use of water diversions not requiring the placement of earthen fill (i.e. sheet piling, membrane dams, etc.) wherever possible.
  • Any fill shall be completely removed from the streambed immediately upon completion of in-stream work. If feasible, the use of Aqua Barriers is recommended.


No wastewater of any kind shall be directly discharged into State Scenic Rivers or any of their tributary streams, drainage ways or ditches.

If dewatering is necessary to facilitate in-stream work or pier construction, all wastewater shall be pumped onto a vegetated area a sufficient distance from the river to allow for complete infiltration.

All stormwater drainage shall be directed onto a vegetated area to allow for complete infiltration. If discharge to a vegetated area is not feasible, then wastewater shall be discharged into a sediment filter bag or into a temporary detention/retention pond with sufficient retention time to permit for the settling of all suspended solids.

Clearing and Grubbing

All streambank vegetation shall be left undisturbed to the maximum extent possible. Areas, where vegetation is removed, shall be re-vegetated with native tree species. Any disturbed streambanks shall be returned to previously existing contours and elevations.

A native tree species list can be provided by the appropriate Regional Scenic Rivers Manager. Trees shall be one inch in diameter and balled/ burlap nursery stock. After a full growing season for the trees, any stakes and guide wires shall be removed and properly disposed of. Any trees that die during the first growing season shall be replaced.

Cutting or clearing of any riparian vegetation within 1000 feet of State Scenic Rivers beyond the existing right-of-way shall be prohibited, however, vertical trimming is permitted where necessary. Care shall be taken not to girdle or scuff tree trunks or damage any standing trees.

Painting and Sand/Water Blasting

If painting, sand or water blasting any portion of the bridge is necessary then appropriate aprons shall be utilized to provide for complete containment of all paint debris particles and other debris. Appropriate aprons shall be utilized to provide for complete containment of all paint and/or sealant over-spray.

Any such debris shall be removed immediately from 1000 feet of State Scenic Rivers and disposed of at an approved upland site above the 100-year flood elevations. Disposal in wetlands, floodplains or within 1000 feet of State Scenic Rivers is prohibited.