The Mahoning River shaped Eastgate’s planning region as we know it today. The river was dammed up in numerous places to provide cooling water for the big steel industries that settled along the Mahoning River. From the 1960s to the early 1980s the big steel industry began to close its doors to the Valley, leaving behind memories for its hard workers and a legacy of pollution for the river that sustained them.

Eastgate recognizes the Mahoning river as an asset, not a liability, to our region. The river, per the Ohio EPA’s 2013 biological and chemical survey, is making a comeback both in water quality and fish diversity. Eastgate wants to continue the upward progression of the river’s health by working with communities along the river to remove the remaining lowhead dams and restore the river to its natural, free flowing state.

Eastgate Regional Council of Governments and thirteen communities along the Mahoning River are working together to restore a river that built our region- the Mahoning River. For many years, the goal has been to return the Mahoning River to its’ free-flowing state and improving its’ water quality. This goal is now a reality as the first of nine, low-head dams was removed in the Village of Lowellville. Progress is being made as additional dam removal projects are funded addressing the remaining dams.

River Corridor Revitalization

Complimenting the dam removal projects is the Mahoning River Corridor Revitalization Plan. Eastgate initiated the plan, which was completed in December 2021, to create a roadmap for communities to utilize as they move forward towards embracing the river that built the region. The plan provides a regional approach to re-envisioning and redefining the river corridor. The plan focuses on ecological improvements, restoration efforts, expands recreational amenities, and enhances economic development opportunities regionally and within each of the thirteen communities.

The Community Implementation Toolkits outline each community’s unique traits, provide context on existing conditions, and offer recommendations for the future. In the end, the kits explore how the corridor-wide objectives may be specifically applied and identifies implementation funding. A copy of the plan, along with the community toolkits, can be found at the Mahoning River Corridor Revitalization website.

Mahoning River Corridor Restoration Video Presentation

Mahoning River Revitalization Plan

Mahoning River Dam Removal Analysis Hydraulic Report

Mahoning River Corridor Evaluation Study

An ecologically restored Mahoning River presents endless recreational, economical, and preservation opportunities to its’ river communities. A restored river will provide ample ecological, social, and economic opportunities in riverfront communities. The Mahoning River Corridor Evaluation Study analyses, organizes and identifies lands along the Mahoning River from the Pennsylvania-Ohio state line upstream to the City of Warren’s Burbank Park. The result of the study identifies lands with the greatest riverfront access potential for recreation and future greenway restoration initiatives while promoting economic development by offering connectivity to the existing business, recreation, education, and entertainment amenities.

Read Study

Lowhead Dams Along the Lower Mahoning River

Take a Tour

This map shows the scope of work for removing the 9 remaining lowhead dams in the Mahoning River. The lower Mahoning Restoration Project is a priority of Eastgate due to the level of water quality impairments caused by the lowhead dams and the contaminated sediments that have accumulated behind them. The following interactive map is dedicated to the lower Mahoning River Restoration project, which is water quality focused, and is not intended to be used as a recreational guide for paddlers. For recreational safety pertaining to lowhead dams, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of State Parks and Watercraft is an excellent source for safety measures. Eastgate encourages paddlers to access the ODNR’s site,, to learn more about why low head dams are dangerous and smart safety tips to follow while paddling.
Mahoning River Illustration

Information on the Lowhead Dams in the Lower Mahoning River

United Stated Army Corps of Engineers Mahoning River Environmental Ecological Dredging Project

Mahoning River Restoration efforts initially began in the mid-1990s as a phased project managed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) under the Section 312 of the Water Resource Development Act (WRDA) of 1990, later amended by Sec. 205 of the WRDA of 1996, and with local support and sponsorship. The amendment to Section 312 provided for removal of contaminated sediment within the river corridor. The vision of the initial project included an environmental ecological restoration of a 31-mile stretch of the Lower Mahoning River from Warren to the Ohio-Pennsylvania state line by removal and remediation of the river’s contaminated sediment via dredging.

Phase I- Environmental Dredging Reconnaissance Study

This study was Phase I of two phases determined the problems and opportunities of an ecosystem restoration related to the removal of the contaminated sediment in the Mahoning River. The Reconnaissance Study included a biological assessment, sediment analysis, and an analysis of river restoration activities.

Phase II- Environmental Dredging Feasibility Study

The goal of the feasibility study was to determine a cost effective and environmentally conscience method of removing and remediating contaminated sediment from the Mahoning River. As the study progressed, local steering committee members looked to expand the scope of the project to include low head dam removal. To this day, the feasibility remains in draft form.

Feasibility Study

Other USACE Mahoning River documents of Interest:

Mahoning River Bioremediation Study