Largest state grant received by Cleveland Metroparks will add greenspace, wetlands and valuable headwater streams to South Chagrin Reservation
Cleveland Metroparks was awarded a $4.15 million grant by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) to conserve and protect 73 acres of greenspace that includes valuable wetlands and headwater streams. The award was the largest state grant received by Cleveland Metroparks. The property, located in southeastern corner of the Village of Bentleyville, connects to the eastern portion of Cleveland Metroparks South Chagrin Reservation.
The acquisition is supported by the Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP) grant administered by the Ohio EPA that funds preservation and restoration of high-quality water resources. In January 2018, Cleveland Metroparks was also awarded a $1.88 million grant by WRRSP to restore wetlands and remove a dam that will reinstate natural flow regimes and allow fish passage in the Rocky River at Bonnie Park in Mill Stream Run Reservation. Both projects are helping to restore and protect water resources in Northeast Ohio.
"The preservation of this land will help protect valuable water ecosystems and prevent future development while giving residents more opportunities to explore nature in their community," said Brian M. Zimmerman, Cleveland Metroparks CEO.
The property contains more than 22 acres of valuable Category 3 wetlands, the best condition of wetlands that supports amphibian, insect and plant life as well as high-performing water quality and storage. It also contains 1,600 linear feet of a Class III primary headwater stream that flows to the Aurora Branch of the Chagrin River. Class III streams are the highest-ranked streams by Ohio EPA and are perennial with habitats fed by clean, cold groundwater that support life.
"We congratulate Cleveland Metroparks on this acquisition as it is in the water protection zone for the Chagrin Falls drinking water wellfield and will further protect our drinking water source," said Chagrin Falls Mayor Bill Tomko. "In addition, this will make a valuable addition to the South Chagrin Reservation."
The property also contains more than 53 acres of upland forests that includes American beech, maples, oaks and hickories, which help protect the wetlands and streams. The property contains a diverse understory of greater than 50 plant species, 12 different fish species and a variety of bird species throughout all levels of the forest.
"This new property acquisition contains some of the best wetlands and headwater streams left in Cuyahoga County," said Terry Robison, Cleveland Metroparks Director of Natural Resources. "The protection and management of this property will not only bring benefits to the watershed but also to the forests, meadows and local species."
Cleveland Metroparks anticipates final acquisition of the property in late 2019, which will immediately become part of South Chagrin Reservation.
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Cleveland Metroparks Media Contacts:
External Communications Coordinator, Jeffrey Tolman
Director of Communications, Jacqueline Gerling