HOW Conference Field Trips will be held on Tuesday, September 11th from 2:30-5:30pm. Transportation will be provided.
BLACK RIVER RESTORATION PROJECT BOAT TOUR
City of Lorain, Ohio
THIS FIELD TRIP IS CURRENTLY SOLD OUT.
The Black River Boat Tour will take visitors to see the ecological restoration projects within the City of Lorain. The Black River is a tributary to Lake Erie and one of four Areas of Concern in Ohio. Six miles of the Black River lies within the City of Lorain where the river banks are dominated by legacy remnants of the industrial era. The City has taken on the monumental task of restoring these legacy remnants in order to use the Black River as an economic asset once again.
The boat tour will depart from the Black River Landing where visitors will board the Port Authority boats for a tour of the restoration sites. The first stop will be near the confluence of French Creek at River Mile 5 where slag and steel mill remnants are still visible from the river as well as the newly restored 25-acre flood plain. In 2009 this floodplain held 50-foor-high slag piles that were dumped on the river banks. This slag has been removed from the flood plain and is being recycled on the upland portion of the steel mill site. The floodplain now contains wetlands and a mixed variety of habitats that were planted with native shrubs and trees.
The second stop will be to view the fish shelves that were built along the high shale bluff in 2011 under the NOAA Phase 1 fish Habitat Project. The concept of fish shelves was introduced along the Black River in 2001 and has been the basis for fish shelf concepts within the Black River and at other lacustuary sites within the Great Lakes.
The thirds stop will be just across the river from stop two where visitors will get to witness fish shelves and stream bank restoration under construction. The construction of NOAA Phase 11 project is set to kick off in July 2012 and will be on-going through the fall of 2012.
The fourth and final stop will be at the Heron Rookery just downstream from stop 3 where stream bank and fish shelves were constructed in 2011. The rookery is home to over 200 Great Blue Heron nests!
WEST CREEK NEIGHBORHOOD STORMWATER STEWARSHIP INITIATIVE
Cleveland Metro Parks
The Neighborhood Stormwater Stewardship Initiative (NSSI) is a collaborative project of Cleveland Metroparks, West Creek Preservation Committee, City of Parma and Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. Funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) will allow for implementation of stormwater control measures (i.e. rain gardens, right-of-way rain gardens, rain barrels and street trees) along residential streets adjacent to West Creek Reservation. By decreasing stormwater total volume and peak flows, biology of primary headwaters to West Creek will improve as a result of the project. Additionally, residents will benefit directly by reduced water bills and stormwater fees. The NSSI field trip will begin at West Creek headquarters to view a variety of recently installed residential, stormwater control measures.
The fieldtrip will continue downstream into West Creek Reservation to show first-hand the impacts of stormwater from the neighboring community. Participants will view the primary headwater receiving stormwater off Klusner and walk downstream the mainstem of West Creek, eventually stopping at theWatershedStewardshipCenterat West Creek. Currently in construction, this new center will feature a variety of stormwater control measures (i.e. permeable pavers, cistern, green roof, rain chains, etc.) used in concert with each other to result in less stormwater runoff post-construction than pre-construction.
After visiting the Center, participants will travel to the West Creek Confluence project where West Creek meets the Cuyahoga River. The 10-acre wetland and stream restoration project includes stabilization of 1000ft. of streambank, installation of 10,000 streamside plants, and hydrologic connection of 6 acres of wetland. This project will allow for public access to the Towpath and Ohio and Erie Canal.
RECONNECTING BALWDIN CREEK
Cuyahoga River Soil and Water Conservation District
Baldwin Creek, like many urban streams throughout the Great Lakes, suffers from the consequences of the development that surrounds it. Many sections of the creek have been moved, straightened and otherwise reshaped in order to accommodate development, and its floodplains built upon or filled-in. In the lowermost one mile of the creek before it flows into the East Branch of the Rocky River, four low-head dams were built in order to pool water as a backup supply for the City of Berea and to control the gradient in the now-straightened channel. In addition to causing maintenance problems, these dams have effectively limited fish passage in Baldwin Creek. Even as water quality improves and macroinvertebrate communities recover, large disparities exist between the quality of the fish communities upstream and downstream of the dam sequence.
The removal of this series of dams is a priority project in both the Rocky River Watershed Action Plan, which was endorsed by the state of Ohio in 2006, and the Rocky River TMDL report. Funded by the GLRI through a subgrant from Ohio EPA’s Surface Water Improvement Fund, with additional funds through the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District through Ohio EPA’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsorship Program, the current restoration project will remove the lowermost 3 dam structures on Baldwin Creek. A future, recently-funded project, will remove the fourth and final dam in 2013, which when combined with other ongoing efforts in the watershed will likely lead to de-listing of Baldwin Creek for its designated aquatic life use impairment.
The goals of this urban stream project are to: restore fish passage between the East Branch of the Rocky River and lower Baldwin Creek (including providing passage for the state-threatened central bigmouth shiner) through the removal of three of the dams; prevent additional stream-bank erosion upstream of South Rocky River Drive; and create post-project in-stream habitat in the designated project reaches to improve QHEI metrics/sub-metrics from the current “fair” rating.
With the construction timeline running from mid-August to the end of September, this project will be under construction for the September 11 field trip, giving field trip participants a chance to see an active dam removal and stream restoration site. The field trip’s only stop will be the restoration site, located in the City of Berea. Participants will tour the entire 0.5 mile reach of Baldwin Creek that is part of the project, which includes three low-head dam removal/modification sites, as well as the installation of numerous riffles/modified Newbury weirs.
CHANGING LANDSCAPES USING GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE
Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
Green Infrastructure, as defined by the U.S. EPA, is a management approach and technologies to infiltrate, evapotranspire, capture and reuse stormwater to maintain or restore natural hydrologies. The sites selected for the Changing Landscapes Using Green Infrastructure tour all feature innovation solutions in community restoration and incorporate green infrastructure. The selected projects are:
- Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone – Burton, Bell, Carr, Inc., the local community corporation is converting a large portion of the desolate “Forgotten Triangle” into a 26 acre green oasis. This initiative will position the neighborhood and the City of Cleveland to become the forefront of the future eco-conscious economy and ultimately cultivate a new thriving neighborhood economy.
- Blue Pike Farm – is the first farm in the City of Cleveland in the 21st century. It is an urban farm that occupies over 1 acre of land situated within an urban industrial and residential section of Cleveland. The far specializes in growing fresh fruits and vegetables using natural and sustainable agricultural practices.
- The Courtyard by Marriot University Circle – Located in the cultural center of Cleveland, this new 153-room hotel is expected to open in Winter/Spring of 2013. The District has worked in partnership with University Circle, Inc. and Snavely Building Company, the project’s contractor, to take advantage of the natural sandy soil conditions of this site to manage stormwater.
- Sustainability Garden – The District’s administrative offices are located in the Midtown Corridor Business district. The office space was expanded in 2003. In 2009, an unused outdoor space was converted into the Sustainability Garden, a demonstration of several techniques in stormwater management including: downspout, disconnection, rain garden, native plant landscaping, permeable paver system, seating using recycled materials and other features that reuse on-site materials.
- Tremont Union Gospel Press Bioretention – In the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland, a renovation project incorporated a bioretention cell into their parking area. The parking lot drains approximately 20,000 square feet into 800 feet of bioretention cell. This stormwater feature was designed to be effective and aesthetically pleasing.
MENTOR MARSH: RESTORING THE GREEN RIBBON
Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Mentor Marsh is an 850 acre wetland formed from the abandoned channel of the nearby Grand River and is one of the first four State Nature Preserves designated in Ohio. It provides critical spawning habitat for Lake Erie fish and is an important refuge and nesting site for waterfowl and migrating songbirds; more than 200 species of birds have been recorded using the site, including several state listed species. Twelve state listed endangered, threatened, or species of special concern have been recorded at Mentor Marsh. In addition, Mentor Marsh is part of the Lower Grand River Important Bird Area and was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1963 for its importance in migration routes and exceptional plant communities. Mentor Marsh contained several types of high quality ecosystems: aquatic plants, marsh, bottomland forest, swamp forest and upland forest. Due to human intervention, Mentor Marsh has changed from a predominantly swamp forest to the dominant Phragmites wetland of today as a result of both brine well ruptures and from salt leaching from a nearby landfill.
Participants will visit the restoration work of CMNH’s Natural Areas Division to see the past ten year’s efforts in removing invasive plants and restoring local biodiversity. Most visible is the stewardship work along the Wake Robin boardwalk. The Mentor Marsh region has long been a noted birding location along Lake Erie and its diverse habitats surrounding the Marsh provide recreational opportunities to see sought after birds. Re-growth of native vegetation from the seedbank in the Marsh can be seen from the new fire resistant Ipe` wood boardwalk after the removal of Phragmites. This native vegetation attracts sought after American bittern, Virginia rail, Nelson’s sharp-tailed sparrow and LeConte’s sparrow and brings the birders flocking.
Our second stop at Mentor Marsh is the remnant swamp forest wetland. This swamp is of historic significance as this was the natural community of the Marsh before salt intrusion and has the highest potential to act as a natural control through shading of Phragmites. Protection efforts are also important here as this remnant swamp is a seed source for future restoration of Mentor Marsh. This area harbors more rare Pumpkin ash, black ash, and once thought extirpated tree species in Ohio, Amelanchier interior.
Fire prevention is another challenge that will be discussed during the field trip. Mentor Marsh has burned nine times since 1979 after Phragmites established itself as the dominant vegetation. Bald eagles have nested in the eastern basin of the Marsh since 2010 and would surely be threatened by spring wildfires at the Marsh. Protecting the nest tree and the eagles is a new management objective of both the CMNH Natural Areas crew and the City of Mentor Fire Department.
SCIENCE ON A STEAMSHIP
Great Lakes Science Center
Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) engages visitors through fun, interactive experiences to stimulate curiosity about and encourage understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). A leading institution for informal science education, GLSC enhances its local relevance by focusing on 4 core areas that are key strengths and areas of growth in Northeast Ohio: aerospace and space exploration, biomedical technology, advanced energy, and the Great Lakes and freshwater science.
For the past several years, GLSC has been key to efforts to create a Freshwater Innovation Alliance (FIA), a coalition of local universities, non-profits, businesses, and passionate individuals working together to promote regional development around freshwater ecosystems in Northeast Ohio. GLSC is the inaugural home for FIA, building upon years of experience in communicating the importance of fresh water to its community.
“Science on a Steamship” will highlight several of GLSC’s major efforts to educate and engage the public around freshwater issues and the Great Lakes. Field trip attendees will begin with a tour of the Steamship William G. Mather, the flagship of the Cleveland Cliffs fleet, that was built in 1925 and measures 618 feet long. This massive ore boat boasts a 14,000-ton capacity and served as a Great Lakes ore freighter until 1980; her history includes distinguished service to the Allied steel-making effort in WWII. Over 250,000 volunteer hours have restored the steamship’s historic areas, and her cargo holds include exhibits about Great Lakes conservation and ecology. Moored just outside—and part of—GLSC, the Mather is part of a multi-million dollar campaign to transform this historic vessel into an attraction that connects the important history of industry on the Great Lakes to current efforts to sustainably manage and protect the freshwater resources of the Midwest.
Next, guests will meet members of GLSC’s Education and Exhibits team, who create compelling experiences that connect families, students, and teachers to freshwater ecology and inspire the next generation of scientists, public policy-makers, and informed citizens. GLSC staff will present the institution’s vision for the William G. Mather and GLSC’s new Freshwater Galleries, and will share key successes from their many programs—including summer camps, teen science apprenticeships, and school workshops—that engage the public in exploring the future of the Great Lakes.
After this presentation, guests will be treated to one of GLSC’s “Big Science Shows”—explosive and fun science spectacles.