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New Cincinnati Fire Dept. docks, ops center in works along Ohio River

The Cincinnati Fire Department looks to increase its Ohio River emergency response time with two new docks and a land-based operations center.

Right now the closest fire boat is near Horseshoe Cincinnati. Environmental studies are underway for the docks, one under the Purple People Bridge and the other at Riverside Park in Sedamsville. Assistant Chief Ed Dadosky says, "We have our boats stored in fire stations that are relatively close, but every minute it takes when an alarm comes in we have to get in the engine, tow the boat down and it takes it a little while to get it in the river."

Fire Department not muscling the mussels

Before any construction can begin biologists must make sure the docks will not disrupt any federally protected mussels. This week scientists employed by Environmental Solutions & Innovations are diving to the bottom of the Ohio at the two dock locations to sample the mussel concentration.

Biologist and diver Casey Swecker spreads a group of mussels out on a boat. "A mussel concentration of 200,000 mussels will filter over 1 million gallons of water a day. So they are actually nature's purifier for streams and rivers."

This week Swecker and his colleagues John Spaeth and Kyle McGill take turns diving and then assessing each mussel they find. McGill says, "We place any live and dead mussels into a bag which is later brought on board and we process them at the end of the survey and take length, width, depth, weight, all measurements and then we take photos and then replace them back into the water."

An earlier bat study has cleared the fire department, finding that the docks would not disrupt the bats.