water

Cleveland - Wildwood Lacustrine Wetland and Stream Restoration Project / Lacustrine Refuge Project

Cleveland Metroparks Euclid Creek Reservation, Wildwood Park, Cleveland, Ohio

Stream and Wetland Restoration in an important Area of Concern (AOC) within Cuyahoga County

Before Aerial Photo

After Aerial Photo

Project Site

Concept Plan Diagram

Concept Plan with aerial overlay previous to construction

The Wildwood Lacustrine Refuge Stream and Wetland Restoration Project is located in Cleveland Metropark's Euclid Creek Reservation, Wildwood Park in the Euclid Creek Watershed on the Main Branch of Euclid Creek, a tributary to Lake Erie that is heavily urbanized and affected by urban runoff and habitat degradation in the City of Cleveland.

The Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District received a $1,396,050 grant from US EPA through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) to fund the project. The restoration provides a rare opportunity for residents of an urban area to connect with nature and to experience native plant species long displaced from our region and to enjoy wildlife species which have disappeared.

Ecological restoration of the Lower Euclid Creek has been awarded to two Northeast Ohio teams. The design-build contract was awarded to a team called RiverWorks (EnviroScience, Inc., GPD Group and RiverReach Construction) and the project oversight was awarded to Davey Resource Group.

**PLEASE HELP OUR PROJECT SUCCEED BY KEEPING OUT OF THE WETLAND AREA WHILE PLANTS ARE GROWING!** Even minor disturbance to the ground can impact sensitive plants that are getting established.

Project Benefits and Outcomes

The project’s technical advisory committee worked with RiverWorks to create the following positive changes for Euclid Creek:

  • Restored 2.3 acres of important coastal and lacustrine wetlands, and 1.16 acres of floodplain;
  • Restored 1,100 feet of Euclid Creek and placed the stream in its natural, historic alignment;
  • Increased the overall ecological function of Lower Euclid Creek;
  • Increased fish habitat and spawning of recreational species;
  • Increased habitat for birds and amphibians;
  • Stabilized 435 feet of eroding stream bank in three locations within the park;
  • Controlled and managed 3.2 acres of pervasive invasive plant species;
  • Provided opportunities for environmental education and public involvement through planting events and public meeting;
  • Assisting Euclid Creek in reaching State of Ohio water quality attainment standards;
  • Aided in delisting Cuyahoga River AOC (Area of Concern); and,
  • Potential economic impact of $2.4 million (double the project cost).

Project Partners / Technical Committee:

  • City of Cleveland: Division of Water Pollution Control & City Councilman Mike Polensek, Ward 11
  • Cleveland Metroparks
  • Cleveland Museum of Natural History
  • Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District
  • Friends of Euclid Creek
  • Midwest Biodiversity Institute
  • Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
  • Northeast Shores Development Corporation
  • Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR):Cleveland Lakefront State Parks (CLSP),Ohio State Parks Divisions
  • Ohio EPA

Project Area and Flooding: While this Great Lakes restoration project was not a flood control project, it went through an intensive review from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hydraulic division for the proposed modification to the 1980’s diversion channel that created the oxbow condition (i.e. what is considered the main channel of Euclid Creek today). Since our project is within this Army Corps regulated flood control channel, the project underwent a similar level of scrutiny and review. The Army Corps has approved the proposed changes to the area based on rigorous hydraulic studies, flood elevations and evaluation of risk. This restoration project does not increase flood elevations that exist today. The removal of a majority of the island sediment for wetlands and an increase in stream width and capacity at the mouth of the oxbow area improves current conditions, while meeting the habitat restoration goals of the project. The modified diversion channel was not removed entirely but exists as an overflow conveyance channel similar to its original intention when floodwaters reach a certain height.

Problematic invasive plants at Wildwood Park: here are the top problem plants at the park that the consultants are trying to eradicate and replant with natives:

  • Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) - biennieal invasive herb; first year growth is low to the ground rosette with kidney-shaped leaves; second year growth produces a tall flowering stem with triangular-shaped leaves sharply toothed; seeds dispersed by wind (fact sheet here).

  • Common Reed Grass (Phragmites australis) - tall, invasive perennial wetland grass frequent in disturbed or polluted soils, along roadsides, ditches and dredged areas (fact sheet here).

  • Japanese Knotweed (Ploygonum cuspidatum) - forms thick, dense colonies and has a distinct bamboo-like hollow stem; its invasive root system is strong enough to damage building foundations, roads and retaining walls (fact sheet here)

  • Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) - huge problem plant in Cuyahoga County - perennial, low-growing plant with attractive, bright yellow flowers that aggressively spreads if unchecked and destroys spring flora. (Interesting report on local impacts of plant on Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River Reservation, click here)

Native plantings proposed: 200 trees; 650 shrubs, 6,000 plugs, 1000 live stakes - with deer/goose protection surrounding plantings until they are established. To see a list of the proposed plant species list, click here.

Land Owner: City of Cleveland

Land Management Entity: Cleveland Metroparks

Grants Manager: Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District

Design / Build Consultant Team: RiverWorks - A partnership for Stream & Wetland Restoration made up of EnviroScience, Inc., the GPD Group, and RiverReach Construction

Construction Oversight Team: Davey Resource Group and TGC Engineering, LLC

Project Funding: US EPA through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: $1,396,050

Project Costs: $1,349,112 (Design / Build: $1,310,818; Construction Oversight: $22,388)

Project Monitoring: Starting in 2014, ecological and morphological monitoring at the site will begin for five years to ensure the project is meeting intended goals. We are monitoring for fish species, macroinvertebrates (aquatic bugs), habitat, wetland delineation, vegetation (success of natives versus invasives), and channel stability. Partners from the Cuyahoga SWCD, Ohio EPA, NEORSD, Cleveland WPC, CMNH and Cleveland Metroparks are contributing to different elements of the monitoring effort.