Field Trip Registration
Thank you for your interest in field trips and intensive workshops at River Rally 2019! Use the accordion menu below to view itineraries and details for each experience. Register for yourself and/or your team through the registration form below the descriptions, and an itemized receipt will be emailed to the address provided immediately upon purchase. To participate in one of these experiences, you must be registered for River Rally 2019.
This registration form will be active through May 31, 2019, or until each group has reached maximum capacity. If a trip does not reach the minimum required headcount or is canceled by the organizer, your payment will be returned in full. Otherwise, all field trip fees are non-refundable. Claim your spot today!
Field Trip & Intensive Workshop Descriptions
Sustainable Water Affordability in Action
Itinerary: Many communities have decades of infrastructure backlogs, but we must find ways to invest in water system improvements while maintaining water affordability for low- and moderate-income households. Broadening the conversation on affordability beyond rate-setting hearings to include cost-of-living and other considerations is essential to ensuring safe and clean water for communities in a time of rising water bills and growing infrastructure investment needs. This workshop will look at how communities are balancing these issues. Addressing affordability for limited-income customers can be a way to open the door for needed rate increases. Community and advocacy groups can be excellent partners in promoting and implementing affordability solutions through channels that are typically not readily accessible to the water utility. We will break down how cities build water affordability programs from the ground up and examine how water costs fit into larger cost of living issues for communities. We will set the context with a brief set of discussions on key affordability issues, including efficiency and conservation, new uses of data, alternative rate setting, customer assistance programs, energy efficiency links, and incorporating water affordability in city decision-making processes, such as land use planning. What follows will be a hands-on workshop to allow participants to look at real-world data for their communities, identify affordability factors, and develop affordability actions they can apply near-term. Participants will be given a framework for thinking through affordability approaches in their communities and will come away with near-term action steps to begin to address water affordability comprehensively back home.
Time: 1:00 – 6:00 PM
Required Gear: If participants provide data on how much utilities (drinking water, sewer, stormwater) cost in your area we can use that real-world information in the workshop. Examples of data might include sample water/sewer bills or anonymized bill collection information. We will follow up by email before the workshop with more details.
The Urban Watershed Venture: History, Infrastructure, People & Trails
Itinerary: Cleveland’s rich cultural and industrial history runs deep. A spark from a passing rail car was enough to set ablaze the oily polluted dump which was known as the Cuyahoga River. During this time, Cleveland was led by one of the first African-Americans of a major city, Mayor Carl Stokes. Along with his brother Congressman Louis Stokes, their advocacy work helped to the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972. Fifty years later where does the region stand? Participants will have a full experience biking throughout the watershed. We will depart the hotel via bus shuttle at 12:30pm. heading to our first stop along the Cuyahoga River to retrieve bikes at the Ohio City Bicycle Coop. We will then explore the region stopping at historic sites of civil unrest, water quality monitoring which will include a demonstration of electrophishing and macro invertebrate sampling. Participants will have an opportunity to visit a combined sewer, connecting old infrastructure to modern day efforts to clean up the lake. During the ride, we will meander through neighborhoods with narratives describing the geological changes of the region over time. We will also see improvements in infrastructure of water conveyance and all-purpose recreational trails. This remarkable tour of the Cuyahoga River will leave visitors with a comprehensive overview of the growth of Cleveland’s efforts to clean the water and cultural relationships over time. We will return to the Coop at ~5:15pm to shuttle participants to the hotel for a 6pm arrival. (~25 miles, rain/shine).
Time: 1:00 – 6:30 PM
Required Gear: Athletic clothing is recommended. Bikes/Helmets will be provided.
The Renewal of a River
Itinerary: Visitors will be introduced to Cuyahoga Valley National Park and its role in preserving and protecting the Cuyahoga River Valley. We’ll explore the Cuyahoga River ecosystem, the cultural and natural interplay of fundamental resources, and the value of the Cuyahoga River in daily life. First stop is the Ira Trailhead for a 1 mile roundtrip stroll to a Beaver Marsh. Here we’ll explore the wildlife present, learn about the history and value of the area and the monitoring done by the parks Resource Management Team. This trail is flat and paved with crushed limestone (3 miles). Our second stop will be Hunt House (NPS historic structure) and Szalay’s Farmers Market where we’ll explore farming in the valley and its effect on the river. The group can then shop at the Market (5 miles). Our third stop will be the peninsula where the group will explore a multi-modal river access point and learn about the Cuyahoga River Water Trail (10 miles). Our fourth stop is the Station Road Bridge where we’ll discuss river restoration, dam removal and the return of wildlife to the area (20 miles back to the conference center).
Time: 1:00 – 5:45 PM
Required Gear: Dress for the weather and wear good walking shoes.
Dam Removals on the Cuyahoga River
Itinerary: At the first stop we will view the river restoration in downtown Cuyahoga Falls which involved the removal of 2 dams. We will also discuss how the City has connected with the river as a beneficial part of the community. We will discuss the new and expanded recreational opportunities dam removal has opened up. Stop 2 will take a look at the Gorge Dam and discuss this ongoing removal effort. Still in the initial planning stages, this project brings multiple partners together and demonstrates the importance of Great Lakes restoration funding. Our third stop will be at the Canal Diversion Dam in the National Park. It is likely that timing of the 2019 planned removal will allow for a visit to an active removal project. Distance to Cuyahoga Falls 36.8 miles. Return trip will be 38.1 miles with stops in Cuyahoga Falls (1 mile away, 44221), and in Brecksville (19.3 miles away, 44141), and then returning to the Westin (17.8 miles, 44114).
Time: 1:00 – 6:00 PM
Required Gear: Comfortable walking shoes.
Extended Workshop: Closing the Deal with Rural Landowners
Itinerary: Each session is 90 minutes (4.5hrs total) with a small break in between. Folks can pick up their lunch before hand or eat during the first session. Although landowners have access to financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices, most programs are falling short of their acreage goals. To help conservation field staff accelerate their approach, the presenters have explored the strategies and tactics that most successful field staff use. We worked with so-called “ag whisperers” to obtain insights into how they go about cultivating trust and engage in productive relationships with farmers and forest owners, and then “close the deal” for voluntary conservation practices. Our research included: Identifying more than 100 top field staff in six states, we mined their experience using a variety of research tools: A thorough literature review on farmers perspective on conservation programs Three focus groups with ~45 Michigan farmers An online survey, with ~30 responses from top Michigan field staff A focus group with ~15 top Michigan field staff An online survey with ~45 Pennsylvania/Maryland/Virginia conservation field staff Two focus groups, each ~12 with Pennsylvania/Maryland/Virginia conservation field staff Workshop Description: Learn the tricks of the trade from the most successful conservation field people. If you want rural landowners to say “yes” to conservation practices and easements, this course is for you. Part 1: Landowners and Their Perspective. You will explore the demographics of rural landowners, and how they make decisions about conservation practices and easements. Part 2: Negotiations, Start to Finish. In this session, you will learn how to cultivate your personal reputation among landowners, and help them reach a decision to pursue a conservation on their property. Part 3: Persistence Pays — and So Customer Service. In this session, we explore how top field staff provide good customer service while managing an ever-expanding workload.
Time: 1:00 – 5:30 PM
Required Gear: None.
Smart Lake Erie: Enjoying & Protecting our Gem
Itinerary: From 1-1:15pm, we will load the bus at the Westin and travel to Cleveland Metroparks Wendy Park/Whiskey Island (4 mi.). At 1:30pm, we will begin the standup paddleboard or sailing tour of the mouth of the Cuyahoga River and Cleveland skyline (participants’ choice) (~2 mi roundtrip). Participants will discover an appreciation for water-based recreation opportunities that abound in downtown Cleveland and learn how Cleveland Metroparks partners to provide access to as many residents as possible. Participants will also observe the conservation value to migratory birds and insects of these small green spaces. At 3:00pm, boat trip to water intake for Cleveland Division of Water (~8 mi roundtrip) where participants will be introduced to Cleveland Water Alliance & smart buoy system. Participants will get up close to one of Cleveland’s drinking water intakes and learn how the Division of Water ensures its users have the highest water quality possible. Participants will also understand Cleveland Water Alliance and the technological strides they are making to protect Lake Erie. Participants will have the opportunity to text the “smart” buoy that is stationed by the water intake. During the remaining time, participants will tour the historic US Coast Guard station. At 4:30pm, we will take a bus to Edgewater Beach house for refreshments & networking (1.6 mi). With refreshments, participants will visit the newly constructed, iconic beach house and learn about efforts by Cleveland Metroparks and partners to provide safe water access. We will travel back to the Westin at 5:30pm (3.2 mi.)
Time: 1:00 – 6:00 PM
Required Gear: Closed-toed water shoes, quick-dry clothes/layers, sunscreen, hat and reusable water bottle are recommended. We will provide boats, PFDs and refreshments.
Sustainability in Action: West Creek Watershed Tour
Itinerary: At 1:00pm, we will load the bus at Westin and travel to Cleveland Metroparks Watershed Stewardship Center (WSC) (9.4 mi). At 1:35pm, we will begin the walking tour (~1 mi) of stormwater control measures (green roof, permeable pavement, rain gardens, cistern, stormwater wetland, bioretention) – “Conduct Raincoat Walk”. Participants will observe stormwater features and learn about research partnership with Kent State University and our Watershed Volunteer Program, involving citizen scientists in gathering data on water quality associated with these practices. At 2:00pm, we will take an icecream break. At 2:15pm, participants will hear a partner presentation & Indoor exploration of WSC exhibits (West Creek 3D watershed model, LEED features, EmRiver model, Augmented Reality Sand Table, interpretive exhibits). Participants will understand the grassroots preservation of this property by West Creek Conservancy (WCC) and the partnership with WCC and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District that advances the Center’s mission of restoring and protecting urban watersheds. Participants will explore hands-on models used to teach diverse audiences about watersheds.At 3:30pm, we will travel to West Creek Confluence Restoration Project (4.4 mi) and begin a walking tour of West Creek Confluence Restoration Project (~0.5 mi). Participants will explore an urban stream restoration project and learn about public-private partnerships that made it possible. Participants will then walk to Kurtz Bros. Cuyahoga River Sediment Interceptor (~0.5 mi) and observe sediment interceptor in action. Participants will see an innovative solution to managing sediment in the Cuyahoga River, while enjoying a local beverage.At 5:30pm, we will travel back to The Westin (8.5 mi).
Time: 1:00 – 6:00 PM
Required Gear: Comfortable walking shoes, clothes and reusable water bottle are recommended. We will provide an icecream snack and local beverages.
Boat Tour of Lower Cuyahoga River & Infamous 1969 Fire
Itinerary: 1-1:15pm: Load Trolley at The Westin 1:15-1:25pm: Travel to Cleveland Metroparks Rivergate Park (1.4 mi) 1:25-3:25pm: ElCee2 boat tour of Lower Cuyahoga River & Site of 1969 Fire (~12 mi roundtrip) Learning outcomes: Participants will experience the mixture of industry, recreation and conservation happening along and in the Lower Cuyahoga River, surrounded by downtown Cleveland. Participants will travel to the site of the infamous 1969 fire and learn about the Cuyahoga Area of Concern and their efforts to improve beneficial uses of the river. Participants will understand results from decades of water regulations & progressive watershed management. 3:25-3:40pm: Bathroom break 3:40-4:30pm: Walking tour of Rivergate Park (~0.5 mi roundtrip), its stormwater practices and adjacent facilities (Rowing Foundation, Cleveland Bicycle Co-op, Cleveland Skate Park, The Foundry: Cleveland’s Community Rowing & Sailing Center) Learning outcomes: Participants will observe the stormwater practices at Rivergate Park that improve water quality before it enters the Cuyahoga River. Participants will also learn about the neighbors surrounding Rivergate Park and what makes it a vibrant location for people to visit and connect with the Lower Cuyahoga River. 4:30-5:45pm: Networking hour with Local Leaders at Merwin’s Wharf Learning outcomes: Over refreshments, participants will have the opportunity to meet a variety of local leaders, who are advancing a vibrant downtown while also improving the Cuyahoga. This group will also join up with the dragon boat fieldtrip participants to allow for additional networking time amongst River Rally attendees. 5:45-6:00pm: Travel back to The Westin (1.4 mi)
Time: 1:00 – 6:00 PM
Required Gear: Comfortable clothing, walking shoes & reusable water bottle recommended. We will provide pfds.
Lower Cuyahoga River Dragon Boat Tour
Itinerary: At 1:00pm, we will load Trolley at The Westin and travel to Cleveland Metroparks Rivergate Park (1.4 mi): Intro by NRPA. Participants will understand big picture of the importance of parks to place-making as well as conservation and watershed management. Participants will receive a dragon boat orientation, receiving instruction on safety considerations and proper dragon boat paddling technique. At 2:00pm, we will begin the dragon boat tour of Lower Cuyahoga River (~3 mi roundtrip). Participants will experience the industry, recreation and conservation happening along the Lower Cuyahoga River, surrounded by downtown Cleveland. Participants will paddle by Scranton Flats and learn about improvements to fish habitat and gains resulting from decades of water regulations & progressive watershed management.At 3:40pm, we will begin a walking tour of Rivergate Park (~0.5 mi roundtrip), its stormwater practices and adjacent facilities (Rowing Foundation, Cleveland Bicycle Co-op, Cleveland Skate Park, The Foundry: Cleveland’s Community Rowing & Sailing Center). Participants will observe the essence of parks and placemaking at this riverfront property that includes a restaurant, skate park, rowing facility and bicycle coop, each attracting diverse audiences to engage with the Cuyahoga River. Additionally, participants will learn about stormwater practices at Rivergate Park that improve water quality before it enters the Cuyahoga River. At 4:30pm we will begin a networking hour with Local Leaders at Merwin’s Wharf. Over refreshments, participants will have the opportunity to meet a variety of local leaders, who are advancing a vibrant downtown while also improving the Cuyahoga. At 5:45pm, we will travel to The Westin (1.4 mi).
Time: 1:00 – 6:00 PM
Required Gear: Water shoes, quick-dry clothes and reusable water bottle are recommended. We will provide PFDs, paddles and refreshments.
NEORSD Stormwater Management and Wastewater Infrastructure Tour
Itinerary: The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District will showcase facilities and project sites that have been fundamental to wastewater treatment and stormwater management programs. Participants will tour innovative wastewater facilities and stream restoration sites that have been instrumental in the rebirth of the Cuyahoga River and other Northeast Ohio watersheds.
Time: 1:00 – 6:00 PM
Required Gear: None.