FirstEnergy is using its real estate assets to benefit our communities and the environment.

Land Reclamation Projects and Brownfields Development

FirstEnergy has found new and different ways to develop and redevelop real estate assets that might otherwise remain unused. In Erie, Pa., our former Front Street Power Station has been transformed into an award-winning waterfront complex that includes a library and a nautical museum. We worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and government officials to redevelop the site, helping the local economy in the process.

In Akron, FirstEnergy reclaimed a former coal ash collection site and transformed it into the Patterson Avenue Sports Complex, with six public baseball fields. This work involved a unique collaboration with the City of Akron and EPRI, with oversight by the Ohio EPA.

FirstEnergy has taken action to provide environmental remediation at the site of facilities once owned by our companies or predecessor companies. These sites include the former locations of power plants, ash storage facilities and historic manufactured gas plants. Work is under way at many of these sites, and planned at others throughout our service area. Some of these sites date back more than 100 years, to a time when the importance of environmental protection was not widely understood or recognized. We are dedicated to a course of environmental remediation that restores the land to use and mitigates any potential hazards left behind by previous activity.

Navarre Marsh Wetlands Protection and Education

The Navarre Marsh at our Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station occupies about 730 acres of wetlands on the southwest shore of Lake Erie.  It is a home to a wide range of wildlife, including deer, coyotes, fox, bald eagles, ducks, geese, hawks, owls, heron, egrets, rabbits, squirrels, muskrats, mink, snakes and turtles. 

This marsh is part of a larger area once known as the Great Black Swamp, which stretched from Detroit, Michigan, to Vermilion, Ohio. This area is important for many migratory birds because it serves as a stopping point along two major flyways. Seasonal water levels are controlled to promote plant growth and support bird populations.

Davis-Besse owns the marsh and, in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, operates it as part of the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. FirstEnergy restored this wetland with cooperation from local officials and environmentalists.

The marsh is divided into three parts by a series of dikes and banks, and there are three types of wetlands in the area: freshwater marsh, swamp forest and wet meadow. This diversity provides food, shelter and nesting.

Davis-Besse has been, and will continue to be involved in projects like this as well as other programs with groups such as:

  • The Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
  • The Ohio Division of Wildlife
  • The Black Swamp Bird Observatory
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Pheasants Forever
  • The Ottawa Soil and Conservation District

Marsh management
Davis-Besse employees help maintain roads and dikes on the marsh property, as well as provide security.  Because water levels are vital to wetland management, Davis-Besse workers use electric pumps to lower the marsh pools after spring migrations to promote vegetation throughout the summer.  In early fall, the water levels are increased to accommodate southward migrations. The birds arrive at the marsh to rest and to feed on a variety of food such as millet, smartweed and nutgrass before continuing on their long journey.

American Bald Eagles
In 1994, a pair of eagles nested on the site for the first time in recent history.  A healthy eaglet hatched in June of 1995 and fledged just before a storm claimed the nest. A platform and nest was later constructed in the same spot but failed to produce more young. By 1999, a new male appeared in the area along with a new nest, resulting in two healthy eaglets by the spring of 2000.

The Black Swamp Bird Observatory
The Navarre Marsh is the site of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory's (BSBO) primary songbird banding research station. There, the BSBO has banded more than 550,000 songbirds, more than any other banding station in the United States. This nationally-recognized avian research group strives to inspire the appreciation, enjoyment and conservation of birds and their habitats through research, education and outreach. The group studies neo-tropical passerine species that use the beach for both spring and fall migrations. The birds are captured in nets, measured, weighed, banded and recorded before being released back into the environment.  

Hike and bike trails in Summit County

We collaborated with Ohio Metro Parks serving Summit County to pave the way to extend bike and hike trails throughout the area. The program began in 1971 to access the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Metro Parks. Over the years, adjoining community parks also have been linked by roads and trailways. This program has allowed us to build needed power lines in the area, while providing bike paths and green space. The partnership combines natural habitat with conservation, while remaining park funds are spent on other environmental efforts. Visit the parks and see all they have to offer: