Nine Mile Creek Wetlands
(photos courtesy of Biohabitats of Cleveland, Great lakes Bioregion)
Nine Mile Creek, so named because it reaches its outflow into Lake Erie in the Village of Bratenahl, nine miles from Cleveland's Public Square, is so intensely urbanized that only small pockets of its course are open. The creek is buried underground and sees the light of day again as it reaches its north end at Bratenahl. The creek receives most of its surface water through storm drains.
Originally built in the early 1960s as a traditional "dry pond," the concrete Langerdale retention basin drained 7.6 square miles into the Nine Mile Creek watershed. The basin, which relegated the stream to a concrete channel, had overflowed twice, causing flooding to adjacent homes. To this day, the basin fills up to the top of the dam on the north end during heavy rains.
Recognizing the value of Nine Mile Creek as a tributary to Lake Erie and a critical component of the community's green infrastructure, the City of South Euclid launched an effort to restore this urban stream, beginning with a retrofit of the retention basin. Working closely with the city, Biohabitats Inc. of Cleveland, Ohio developed a design intended to achieve the goals of maximizing storage volume, augmenting aquatic habitat and minimizing long-term maintenance.
In the spring of 2008, the City of South Euclid replaced the Langerdale Retention Basin with a back-to-nature wetland that slows down the water flow, filters the water and prevents flooding. The 10-acre project created a naturally vegetated wetland area with a series of 13 ponds and weirs that slow, hold and filter sediment and pollution. In addition, the project included a conservation easement on six acres in a forested section of the Nine Mile Corridor at the north end of the city. The Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District and the Euclid Creek Watershed Coordinator were partners in the project.
Construction included many green features. Concrete from the removed channel was reused on site, excavated soil was used in another South Euclid project, and topsoil was stock piled and reused. 13,000 native plants were planted in the fall of 2008. South Euclid also built an overlook for the community to enjoy the vistas and animal life of the wetlands. This project is one of the first green infrastructure retention basin retrofits in Cuyahoga County and in an inner-ring suburb.