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Input about Euclid Creek Watershed sought at open houses in Mayfield, Beachwood

November 29, 2018

Input about Euclid Creek Watershed sought at open houses in Mayfield, Beachwood

SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio -- The Friends of Euclid Creek and the Euclid Creek Watershed Council are asking residents to attend one of two upcoming meetings being held to gather input about the watershed’s future well-being.

The open houses will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Cuyahoga County Public Library’s Mayfield branch, 500 S.O.M. Center Road in Mayfield Village, and Dec. 10 at the Beachwood Community Center, 25325 Fairmount Blvd.

The open houses are being held to help the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District update its Euclid Creek Watershed management plan.

Residents will be asked for input on topics such as eroding sections of streams within the watershed, areas where improved management of stormwater and flooding are needed, and areas that should be protected for public greenspace and wildlife habitat.

While it may seem that these topics could be better addressed by environmental experts, Elizabeth Hiser, Euclid Creek Watershed program manager for the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District, said that such a belief is not necessarily correct. Residents can provide the best eyes for watershed planners.

“Stormwater can literally be in residents’ back yards,” Hiser said. “Or, people may notice land eroding near their homes, or know of a place that has never flooded before that is now flooding. There may be more ponding or drainage issues in places near their homes.

“We’d like people to tell us if there is a vacant lot near them that might be an opportunity for preservation,” she said.

The Euclid Creek Watershed encompasses 23.3 square miles and parts of 12 communities -- Beachwood, Cleveland, Richmond Heights, Shaker Heights, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield, Willoughby Hills, Euclid, Highland Heights, Lyndhurst, South Euclid and Pepper Pike.

Euclid Creek is a direct headwater tributary to Lake Erie, originating at Wildwood Park in Cleveland.

Included in the watershed are more than 40 miles of stream, 30 miles of which is open channel. The remaining 10 miles is culverted, or buried.

Because 85 percent of the watershed is located within developed areas, it is characterized by impairments such as organic enrichment, nutrients, alteration of its flow, and habitat degradation.

Hiser said that the last watershed management/action plan was finalized in 2006, following two years in which public meetings were held.

“Things change as the years pass and some new issues pop up,” she said.

The action plan, she said, “Is like land-use planning, but for the streams.”

The updated plan will formally identify causes and sources of water quality and habitat degradation in the watershed and recommend strategies and specific projects to address these issues.

The open houses are held as part of the process of developing these plans, to explain the process to the community, and to gather information and ideas from community members.

Such planning helps establish a blueprint that communities can utilize while planning for economic development and conservation.

Since 2002, the Euclid Creek Watershed Program has leveraged a total of $3.8 million for restoration projects, education and outreach efforts, as well as plans and staffing necessary to implement a plan.

“A healthy watershed provides a better habitat for fish, all water life, and for us,” Hiser said.

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