Wildwood Stream and Wetland Restoration Project /

Lacustrine Refuge in the Cuyahoga AOC Project

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


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.


Project Benefits and Outcomes

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. 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).

NPR Story, Slideshow and Article about project and wetland planting event, May 2013 (click on image below for link)

National Public Radio, WCPN, aired story on 5/15/13

WKYC, Live on Lakeside, Conservation Crusader interview about project (click on image below for link) - story aired on 8/8/13


Restoration Deliverables
    - Channel Restoration -      1,100 ft
    - Floodplain Restoration -   1.16 acres   

    - Lacustrine Wetland -       2.33 acres in 5 areas
    - Bank Stabilization -         435’ in 3 areas
    - Invasive Control /

      Riparian Enhancement -   3.2 acres


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

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. 


Project Fact Sheet (click on image below)

Concept Plan overlayed on top of aerial photo - before restoration

Concept Plan (click on image for larger view and description)



Wildlife Observations:

If you see interesting wildlife and habitat at the new wetland, please let the Euclid Creek Watershed Coordinator know.  You can email photos & observations to Claire Posius at cposius@cuyahogaswcd.org, or call 216-524-6580 x16.  (Photos and stories could be posted on this project website or the Friends of Euclid Creek Facebook site to share with our watershed enthusiasts)



Project Photos:

Construction began on August 3, 2012.  12-16 week construction timeline.  End of January, 2013, the construction/earth moving portion of the project was complete, with additional plantings in Spring.  The team spent 2013 on additional plantings, tweaking areas of the project experiencing erosion during major storm events and spraying for invasives as they popped up around the site.  Ongoing efforts at the park will consist of future plantings, treating invasive plants, monitoring of native plant regeneration and fish to see if new species are spawning in the wetland, and outreach to be coordinated with the Cleveland Metroparks.   

Before Photo looking at oxbow island (November 2010).

Before Photo looking at oxbow island (November 2010).

Photo looking at east side of oxbow (August 2012).

  • Duck Island / Oxbow - being prepared for grading it into wetland (varying depths above/below water) for fish spawning area and nursery. 

  • Top layer of topsoil removed due to invasive Japanese Knotweed having taken over island. 

  • Large trees in wetland upland areas being preserved. 


Photo in middle of island looking west (August 2012).

  • Trees in background covered by grape vine.  Vine will kill trees if not removed.

Photo in middle of island looking west. (August 2012)

  • Grape vine roots removed, but vines left in tree so as to not stress tree further.  Vine will die back now that roots removed. 

  • Trees will look unhappy as they recover, then they will grow new leaves next season.

Photo of soil storage area off of Neff Road, just east of picnic pavilion.  (August 2012)

  • Area for soil storage off of Neff Road, while Duck Island being re-graded for wetland.

  • Residents on Neff Road will not have views obstructed once project complete in late November!  Some soil will remain, but it won't block views of park or lake.

Photo of soil storage area off of Neff Road. (August 2012)

  • All trees removed are being stockpiled in 'staging area' to be reused elsewhere in project - for in-stream habitat for fish and/or for bank stabilization work.

Photo of stream crossing from park, by pavilion, over to east side of island. (August 2012) 

  • Temporary stream crossing to move dirt from Duck Island over to staging area off of Neff Road.

Photo of streambank stabilization and grass already established along walking trail. (October 2012)

  • This outside bend was armored with rock and planted with plants to strengthen the bend during storms (force of stream hits outside bends with most force) and to prevent erosion.

Photo of streambank stabilization and grass already established. (October 2012)

  • This inside bend was cut (soil removed from bank) and the stream widened in this segment to give the stream space to move in large storm events and to prevent erosion.

Trees that had to be removed are stockpiled for reuse around the project site as habitat in the stream or above ground. (October 2012)

Photo of main wetland and erosion control matting being placed and held by rocks. (November 2012)

  • Dead tree stumps in the background (see photo explanation to the left) are reused on site for bird / insect habitat and fish enjoy the root systems for shelter and food.

Photo of stream around main wetland (now main channel) and erosion control matting being placed and held by rocks. (November 2012)

  • Rocks are a bit ugly right now, but are securing the matting down for winter - and once vegetation establishes, rocks will not be visible.

Photo of main wetland looking west standing near pavilion.  Varying pool depths evident and grading roughly 98% complete. (November 2012)

Photo of buck on main wetland.  He's not deterred by restoration activity happening on his home!  (November 2012)


Jan Rybka (Cuyahoga SWCD) holding giant wetland plant called Spadderdock, Nuphar luteum, harvested from Singer Bog in Summit County - a native wetland plant like a lily that will provide in stream habitat not seen in the project area for years.

Hawken School 8th grade students learn about planting techniques. (September 2012)

  • Joel Bingham (Project Manager from EnviroScience) holding large Spadderdock explaining how to plant the wetland plant.

  • In the forefront are plugs (small plants) being planted along the banks - consisting of native grasses, flowers and shrubs.

Hawken students planting. (September 2012)

  • Hawken students planted 250 plants on wetland link to the lake! 

  • Additional volunteers planted 150 plants in separate wetland areas.

Volunteer planting. (November 2012)

  • Project manager reviewing planting plan before sending volunteers off to plant.

Volunteer planting. (November 2012)

  • Volunteers from Friends of Euclid Creek and Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan (RAP).

Volunteer planting. (November 2012)

  • planting plugs in the main wetland area. 


Volunteer planting. (November 2012)

  • preparing 'live stakes' (dormant native trees) by cutting them and installing (as easy as pushing stake into soil.

Main wetland looking south and west from near pavilion. (January 2013)

  • grading of wetland complete, more planting events in Spring. 

Main wetland looking north and west from near pavilion.  (January 2013)


Small area being excavated for 'pocket wetland' near mouth of Euclid Creek and Lake Erie, called Link to the Lake.  (January 2013)

  • Small wetland will provide refuge for fish and guide them upstream to main wetland. 

Volunteer planting. (April 2013)

  • Volunteers planted a total of 150 trees and 850 live stakes during this event.

  • Photo above shows volunteers planting live stakes. 

Volunteer planting. (April 2013)

  • Volunteers planting trees on main wetland.

  • Deer protection was installed around trees by putting a fabric mesh around the tree with bamboo stakes. 





Project almost complete (April 2013)


Volunteer planting. (May 2013)

  • Joel Bingham, Project Manager from EnviroScience, explains planing technique to volunteers.

Volunteer planting. (May 2013)

  • Volunteers plant plugs / small plants along streambank.


Volunteer planting. (May 2013)

  • Emmet Keller teacher at Richmond Heights High School on left end and students help with planting.

Volunteer planting. (May 2013)


Volunteer planting. (May 2013)

Site visit with US EPA official Cameron Davis, Region 5 office (2nd from right)Volunteer planting. (June 2013)

Mayor Jackson's Youth Summer Employment Program students help with tree protection at site. (August 2013)

Wire cages installed around young trees to prevent deer from browsing on and potentially killing young trees. (August 2013)

Mayor Jackson's Youth Summer Employment Program students help with tree protection at site. (August 2013)

Wetland Celebration Event and tour of project site. (September 2013)

Plants getting established on wetland. (June 2013)

Plants getting established on wetland. (August 2013)

Project signage installed at site. (November 2013)

Local birder and photographer, James Latsch, captures Great Egret at site - already finding some new visitors to new wetland!  (October 2013)

BEFORE AERIAL: Aerial of site pre-construction.

AFTER AERIAL: Aerial of site after construction.





Even minor disturbance to the ground can impact

sensitive plants that are getting established. 


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.

Displaced Wildlife: An unfortunate result of any construction project, even a restoration project like ours, is displaced wildlife.  More habitat will be available to these animals once the project is complete and vegetation re-establishes.  The good news is that much of Wildwood Park has not been touched by construction and there are places animals will move until their home has been restored.  Here is more food for thought (click here for article).

So You Spot A Coyote. What Should You Do? 

Ohio wildlife biologists are frequently contacted by concerned residents who spot coyotes. Yes, frequently, but this is not cause for alarm. Coyotes are highly adaptable animals that are regularly viewed by humans throughout the state. Here are a few   steps to keep in mind when you encounter a coyote in the Buckeye State.
     1. Understand that coyotes are common throughout Ohio’s 88 counties and are even regularly seen within city limits. Read more about coyotes at www.wildohio.com 
     2. There are no wolves living in the wild in Ohio.
     3. If you spot a coyote on your property, make sure to remove all “attractants” to deter the coyote from returning. This includes removing garbage and pet food before nightfall and cleaning up around the grill.
     4. Coyotes prey primarily on small mammals such as rabbits and mice. However, interactions with domestic pets do occur sometimes. Keep small dogs and cats inside or leash them when outside.
     5. Occasionally, an inquisitive coyote will stay put and watch you curiously. Clap your hands and shout; the coyote will likely move on at this point.
     6. If the coyote visiting your yard does not respond to harassment techniques such as loud noises or is presenting a conflict even after removing attractants from your yard, contact a nuisance trapper. You can locate a trapper on our website at www.wildohio.com. For a fee, these nuisance trappers use highly regulated techniques to reduce urban wildlife conflicts. Coyote populations in rural areas can be managed through legal hunting and trapping methods. Consult the yearly “Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations” digest for more information.

More coyote photos can be located at www.wildohio.com or by contacting Jamey Emmert at jamey.emmert@dnr.state.oh.us

For more information contact: Wildlife management, Ohio Division of Wildlife or Jamey (Graham) Emmert, Wildlife Communications Specialist, (330) 644-2293


For answers to the most common questions about coyotes click here

Q. Is what I am seeing a coyote?
Q. Are coyotes only gray in color?
Q. Aren’t coyotes only found in rural areas?
Q. Where did these coyotes come from?
Q. Will a coyote kill my cat?
Q. Will a coyote kill my dog?
Q. What about attacks on people?
Q. Then what do coyotes eat?
Q. Why does there seems to be a large increase in the coyote population around me?
Q. Do coyotes hunt in packs?
Q. Is it unusual to see a coyote out during the daytime?
Q. Do coyotes interbreed with dogs?
Q. What are my options for dealing with coyotes if I don’t want them around?
Q. Where can I find some additional information?

Construction Open House: Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District, our project partners and consultants held an open house for the community to see construction progress at the stream and wetland restoration project along Euclid Creek in Wildwood State Park on Tuesday, August 28, from 5:30-7:00pm at Wildwood State Park.  At least 80 people attended and had great questions about the project.  To see the powerpoint presentation, click here.  To see Chris Worrel's review of the open house on Cleveland.com, click here.


Conditions at the Lacustrine Refuge site before construction:



Invasive Plant Species on the Oxbow / Lacustrine site - pervasive Japanese knotweed and other invasive plants species


Why are Invasive plants a problem?

One of the top environmental problems nationally and locally is the spread of invasive plants species.  Invasive plants are ones that spread quickly, lack any natural controls (animals, climates), and become monocultures threatening diversity and native plants.  They also degrade natural function of our complex ecosystems.  Common invasives: garlic mustard, purple loosestrife, lesser celandine, multiflora rose, english ivy and myrtle, tree of heaven, canada thistle, Phragmites, Common Reed Grass, ETC.
Invasive plants area also a huge drain on our economic resources, e.g. some cause more than $120 billion a year in damage to environment, forestry, agriculture, industry, recreation and human health.  At least 42% of the federally endangered and threatened species in the United States are at risk because of invasive species.  Of 3,000 plant species known to occur in the wild in Ohio, about 75% are native (present before the time of substantial European settlement - around 1750).  Of the remaining 25% (more than 700 non-native plants), fewer than 100 are known to be problems in natural areas.  Information from Ohio Invasive Plants Council website.

What you can do?
Control invasive plant problem in your yard
Participate in invasive plant pull events (like annual spring event at Wildwood Park!)
Plant Native Plants
Educate friends/family


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)


   Garlic Mustard                                 Common Reed Grass                                             


                    Lesser celandine                                                Japanese Knotweed                                                      


Fly fishermen enjoy fishing this section of Euclid Creek in Wildwood Park


Fish We're Hoping to see once Wetland Restoration complete:


                    Bowfin at Arcola Creek                                                          Northern Pike at Arcola Creek





Project Publication, News & Resources:


Project Fact Sheet: click here


Public Meetings:

  • 1st Public Meeting held on Thursday, September 8th, 2011, 6:00pm-7:30pm at the Euclid Hospital, Main Building - Waltz Auditorium.  30 people attended the public meeting where the Euclid Creek Watershed Coordinator and EnviroScience project manager, Joel Bingham, presented the concept plan and project timeline.  The project team heard feedback and answered questions from the community.  Click here to see presentation.

  • Construction Open House held on August 28, 2012, 5:30-7:30pm.  72 people attended the presentation about the project construction and timeline.  Click here to see presentation.

  • Celebration Public Meeting held on September 21, 2013.  82 people attended brief talk and tour of completed project. 


Project articles in the following publications:


Click on the following Euclid Creek Newsletters to follow the progress on the project:


History of the Wildwood Estuary site:

Estuaries Website - information on estuaries

To see all of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funded projects through the Great Lakes Accountability System click here

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative - Lake Erie Systhesis Team website - lists Ohio/Lake Erie GLRI awardees' projects

Project Timeline:

  • Request for Proposals for Design/Build portion of project: issued October 30, 2010

    • Proposals Due: December 1, 2010; received proposals from four Design/Build Teams

    • Selection Committee reviewed proposals and brought teams in for interviews in December 2010 and January 2011

    • RiverWorks Design Build Team selected to conduct work (EnviroScience, Inc., GPD Group, & RiverReach Construction)

  • RiverWorks Contract Start Date / Notice to Proceed: March 17, 2011

    • Project Manager is Joel Bingham of EnviroScience

  • Technical Committee Meetings:

    • Kick-Off Meeting held on March 31, 2011 at Cleveland Lakefront State Park offices (13 participants)

    • Committee meeting held on June 30, 2011 at Cleveland Lakefront State Park offices (12 participants)

    • Committee meeting held on December 13, 2011 at Cleveland Lakefront State Park offices (16 participants) - 30% plan review

    • Committee meeting held on May 2, 2012 at Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District offices (16 participants) - 90% plan review review

  • Literature Review / Project Area Evaluation: March-April, 2011 completed

  • Topographic surveying: June-July, 2011 completed

  • Public Kick-off Meeting (to present concept): September 8, 2011 completed

  • Wetland delineation survey: May 2011 completed

  • Morphology/Ecological survey: July 2011 completed

  • 30% Design: June 2011 completed

  • Request for Qualification for Construction Oversight Services portion of project: issued April 7, 2012

    • Proposals Due: April 24, 2012; received proposals from six Consultants/Agencies

    • Selection Committee reviewed qualifications and interviewed top teams in May of 2012

    • Davey Resource Group and TGC Engineering selected to conduct work, Notice to Proceed: May 23, 2012; Project Manager is Ana Burns from Davey

  • Permitting: November 2011 - May 2012

  • Final Design: November 2011 - May 2012

  • Construction: Started August 3, 2012

  • Construction Public Open House: August 28, 2012 completed

  • Volunteer Plantings:

    • September 21, 2012 - 24 Hawken 8th graders planted 250 plants at one of the link to the lakes wetlands; and adult volunteers planted an additional 150 plants at two other wetland locations at the project site

    • November 16, 2012 - 40 volunteers planted 1,336 plants in the main wetland - 130 live stakes, 80 Spadderdock/Pond Lilies from Singer Lake and 1,096 plugs (small plants)

    • April 6, 2013 - 43 volunteers planted 150 trees on the wetland and stream banks and 850 live stakes and placed deer protection around trees. 

    • May 4, 2013 - 34 volunteers planted 100 live stakes, 606 plant plugs and 105 nuphar/spadderdock in the main wetland area.

    • August 1, 2013 - 18 students from Mayor Jackson's Youth Summer Employment Program helped install protection around small trees on site from deer herbivory.

    • May 17, 2014 - upcoming planting event.

  • Project completion celebration: September 21, 2013 completed

  • Grant closeout date: December 31, 2013

  • Project Ecological and Morphological Monitoring: 2014-2018

Project Background Information:


          Received GLRI Award on September 20, 2010


          Request for Proposals (RFP) process for Design/Build portion of project

  • Lacustrine Refuge in the Cuyahoga AOC Request for Proposals (RFP) and Legal Notice - Issued: October 30, 2010

  • Pre-Proposal On-Site Meeting: A Pre-Proposal meeting was held at the Lacustrine Refuge project site on November 8, 2010 at 10:00 am at Wildwood Lakefront State Park.  The entrance is located at E. 174th Street and Lakeshore Boulevard, meet at marina parking lot.  Pre-Proposal Meeting Sign-In Sheet.

  • RFP Addendum 1 - Issued: November 12, 2010, RFP Addendum 2 - Issued: November 23, 2010

  • Proposals Due: December 1, 2010 - 4 Design/Build Teams submitted proposals

  • RiverWorks Design Build Team selected through competitive bid process and started work on March 17, 2011

  • Support Documents for RFP:

           Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process for Construction Oversight Services portion of project

    Project Maintenance and Monitoring Plan and attachments, December 30, 2013.


For more information, please contact Claire Posius, Euclid Creek Watershed Coordinator, 216-524-6580x16 or email cposius@cuyahogaswcd.org.



Euclid Creek Watershed Coordinator, Claire Posius Friends of Euclid Creek   Euclid Creek Watershed Council Communities
Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District P.O. Box 21384   City of Beachwood, City of Cleveland, City of Euclid,
6100 West Canal Road South Euclid, Ohio 44121-0384

City of Highland Heights, City of Lyndhurst, City of Mayfield Heights,

Valley View, Ohio 44125 FriendsofEuclidCreek@gmail.com   Village of Mayfield, City of Richmond Heights, and City of South Euclid
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