Protect Geauga Parks has endorsed the following statement regarding the Akron City Council potential lease of mineral rights to a drilling company. The council intends to vote on this issue on Monday February 22 at their 7:00 pm meeting. Meetings are held virtually and can be accessed at akroncitycouncil.org. Public comment can be made by leaving a voice mail at 234-208-4425. Thank you to everyone who has made a comment so far – at last evening’s meeting over 100 voice mail messages were played in opposition to the proposed sale.
The City of Akron is considering entering into a mineral lease that will allow drilling and fracking under 475 acres of public land at LaDue Reservoir in Geauga County. Protect Geauga Parks opposes the lease of mineral rights at LaDue.
LaDue Reservoir, located in Auburn and Troy Townships, is a secondary reservoir to the Akron Water Supply system. Its main purpose, according to the City of Akron’s website, is to control flooding to downstream areas, replenish the water to the Cuyahoga River during dry periods, and maintain an abundant supply of quality source water for drinking water treatment.
The Cuyahoga River Watershed includes a number of parks in Geauga County — Burton Wetlands Nature Preserve, Eldon Russell Park, Headwaters Park, and Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The health of these parks, as well as the health of the Cuyahoga River, depends upon the protection of these sensitive natural areas from industrialization and pollution.
If The City of Akron permits drilling and fracking at LaDue Reservoir. Geauga County’s carefully protected parks and natural areas will be directly threatened. The drilling of the earth under the reservoir and surrounding land will affect the integrity of groundwater, as will surface spills of fracking fluid, oil and other chemicals. Machinery will make noise and pollute the air. The forest surrounding LaDue will be fragmented by a network of pipelines, inviting invasive species and disrupting the forest ecosystem. The clean water needed for fracking will be taken from the Reservoir itself or from the headwater streams and pristine tributaries that feed the larger Cuyahoga River network, negatively impacting the entire watershed.
For these reasons, Protect Geauga Parks adamantly opposes the lease of mineral rights at LaDue, and encourages the City of Akron to instead explore the sale of conservation restrictions on Akron-owned watershed land, as recommended by the Conservation Feasibility Study done for the City of Akron by Western Reserve Land Conservancy in October 2019. The sale of conservation restrictions would serve the City of Akron by protecting its water supply and providing income from its properties, and would simultaneously serve Geauga County by protecting our parks and natural resources.