Although the program has been around for 16 years, our 2nd annual Watershed Summit on October 6 was a success with over 50 partners attending to hear about how the Watershed is doing in 2016. Unlike last year's first summit where we discussed the past 15 years of program accomplishments, this year we were able to focus on one year (to see the agenda, presentation and program handouts: click here click and scroll to the Watershed Council meeting date).
The purpose of the Summit is to gather all watershed communities, Watershed Council and Committee members, Friends of Euclid Creek members, and partner agency representatives in one room to meet and greet and to learn more about how each facet of the program works to create the whole Watershed Program. For years each committee had been meeting separately until last year’s first combined Watershed Summit.
Mayfield Village's Mayor Bodnar welcomed the group to the brand new, beautiful Community Room and talked about the importance of watershed work to the Village. Chris Vild, Euclid Creek Watershed Council (ECWC) Chair representing Beachwood, presented on the Euclid Creek Watershed Council and the Technical Committee work that has focused on stormwater permit updates that the communities are working on, tying strategies to fix the watershed to the pollutants identified in each watershed, and renewal of the ECWC agreement that communities are signing back on to for the next four year term. Next, Ken Messinger-Rapport, Friends of Euclid Creek (FOEC) President, discussed the all-volunteer groups' highlights. The primary one being FOEC's 15 Year Anniversary activities in 2016. FOEC organized 15 miles of hikes around the watershed, sponsored Day in the Life of Euclid Creek and the Watershed Summit, and provided a $1,000 scholarship to another deserving student in the watershed for the third year in a row, congratulations to Gopal Mandal of Mayfield!
Jenn Grieser, the keynote speaker from Cleveland Metroparks, discussed restoration efforts to convert Acacia Reservation from its former golf course life to a natural ecosystem and public park. This project is the largest restoration project to take place in the upper watershed at the headwaters of the Main Branch of Euclid Creek, funded through CMP and many different local, state and federal funding sources. Restoration work is starting this month to restore the natural drainage, to restore wetlands, and to restore the creek and reconnect it to its floodplain all in the southwestern portion of the 155-acre park.
Lastly, Claire Posius, Euclid Creek Watershed Coordinator with Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District discussed the annual education and watershed program highlights. From watershed projects, grant-funded projects, workshops and site visits it was another busy year for everyone involved in the program. Finding out the news of the attainment status for Euclid Creek was the biggest, most disheartening piece of news, but was not a surprise. The Euclid Creek, according to 2000 Ohio EPA data was designated to be in better condition that it was when monitored last year in 2015. While the Main Branch of Euclid Creek remained in non-attainment, the East Branch was downgraded from partial- to non-attainment. Between 2000 and 2015, development continued in the watershed and for half of that period, no stormwater management practices were installed as they were not required. Ms. Posius said that this news puts an even larger fire under her to keep up the great work we've all been doing as a program to educate landowners and implement projects that will improve conditions in the watershed.
For the first time, an award was presented on behalf of the Euclid Creek Watershed Program partners to recognize a volunteer who has contributed many hours to the Euclid Creek Volunteer Monitoring Program. Mary K. Evans was recognized for her water monitoring volunteer work, which began in 2006. With Mary K.'s chemistry and teaching background, she has been invaluable to the monitoring program. She's helped with trainings for other volunteer monitors and she, with the help of pal Lillian Houser, has monitored at the Highland Picnic Area site at Euclid Creek Reservation 132 times over the past 10 years, making 1,320 stream observations!
We look forward to getting you involved in the program in 2017 and look forward to getting everyone together again next fall.
Blog Author: Claire Posius, Euclid Creek Watershed Coordinator