The West Branch of Euclid Creek, Cleveland Clinic Lyndhurst Campus Stream Restoration Project is located in Lyndhurst just downstream of Acacia Reservation. The stream is experiencing erosion, lacks access to the flooplain, and has a low head dam that prevents fish migration.
In October 2018 the Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District received a $300,000 grant through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's Section 319 Grant Program to conduct a restoration project at the Cleveland Clinic Lyndhurst Campus. The grant requires a local match of 40% and the total project cost is $600,550. The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) has committed the remaining $300,550 to fund the project. The project will rehabilitate Euclid Creek by adjusting the channel away from a failing hillslope to a significant portion of the floodplain with stable slopes. Pools and riffles will be constructed to restore and improve habitat for fish and macroinvertebrates. The project will restore native riparian woody vegetation along the floodplain to slow overland flow, capture woody debris and process nutrients and sediment from the channel. The restoration project includes the removal of a small low-head dam that currently serves as a fish migration barrier. In addition a floodplain with oxbow wetlands will be created in the former channel in conjunction with more extensive floodplain grading in the existing lawn area. Once complete, an easement will be placed on the restoration project to protect the area.
The Natural Resource Problem
The site is in the Euclid Creek Watershed along the West Branch, near its headwaters in the City of Lyndhurst. The project area is on Cleveland Clinic Lyndhurst Campus property downstream of restoration projects at Cleveland Metroparks’ Acacia Reservation. The West Branch of the Euclid Creek watershed draining into the study area is approximately 1.81 square miles. The watershed is composed of a mix of dense residential and commercial development as well as Cleveland Metroparks’ Acacia Reservation. The watershed is 19.5% forested and is 36.1% impervious cover. The creek is perennial, containing water throughout the entire year. The reach to be restored begins approximately 800 linear feet downstream of the culvert on Richmond Rd. and extends almost 700 feet downstream where it flows under the Cleveland Clinic Lyndhurst Campus entrance drive.
Within the reach to be restored there are areas of bank erosion, failing bank stabilization practices, channel incision (downcutting), maintained lawn, low-head dam, invasive species, and, due to the entrenched condition, the absence of a functioning riparian floodplain. These conditions limit the biological communities and ecological services provided by the stream and are aesthetically unappealing. The riparian vegetation consists of mostly young trees and shrubs with herbaceous vegetation within a narrow riparian corridor bordered by an expanse of maintained lawn.
Past and current human activities – including channelization of the stream against the right hillslope- have left the stream morphology, riparian vegetation, habitat and streambanks in a disturbed state, while ongoing stormwater runoff, streambank erosion, a low-head dam, and mowing continue to negatively impact the stream and riparian habitat. Downcutting has also left the floodplain mostly disconnected from the Creek, while invasive plants such as phragmites, have taken hold on a low floodplain bench at the downstream end of the reach.
The purpose of this restoration project is to rehabilitate Euclid Creek by relocating the channel away from a failing hillslope to a large lawn area and excavate a significant portion of the floodplain along both new banks to create a new floodplain with stable slopes. The project would also establish native riparian woody vegetation along the floodplain to slow overland flow, capture woody debris, and process nutrients and sediment from the channel. Within the stream channel, numerous pools and rifles would be constructed to improve habitat for both fish and macroinvertebrates. A low-head dam would be modified into a series of rock steps to allow passage of aquatic organisms. Metrics associated with the project are to restore and stabilize approximately 700 feet of stream channel; regrade and/or relocate and stabilize nearly 1,100 feet (two banks) of poor quality stream bank using native plants and bioengineering techniques; roughly 1.8 acres of maintained lawn and low quality forest will be replaced with native riparian forest; 6.0 acres of existing riparian forest will be enhanced and treated for invasives; and, 0.1 acres of wetland will be created. The goal is to raise the QHEI score to 55 within five years after the restoration is completed.
Staff are currently working on a land use license agreement with Cleveland Clinic in anticipation of putting the project out to bid early 2019.