Mill Creek Restoration at Highland Park Golf Course

Highland Park Golf Course, located in the village of Highland Hills and owned by the City of Cleveland, has some claim to fame. It hosted the Cleveland Open in the mid-1960s and saw greats like Palmer, Nicholas, and Tony Lema. It is where Cleveland native Bob Hope first played golf. But recently, Highland Park has gotten a different sort of attention.

A large-scale habitat restoration occurred at the golf course through-out 2016. Led by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, The City of Cleveland, the Village of Highland Hills, and the Mill Creek Watershed Partnership, a project to restore a degraded and channelized section of Mill Creek began in March 2016.

Restoration measures included:

  • Removing over 3,000 feet of failing stone and gabion walls
  • Burying and protecting 19 irrigation line crossings under the stream bed
  • Protecting one large water main crossing Mill Creek
  • Removing 80 feet of storm culvert (stream daylighting)
  • Partially removing a dam near the downstream end of the project

Project resulted in:

  • Restoring 4,336 lineal feet of Mill Creek
  • Restoring 180 lineal feet of a small tributaries to Mill Creek
  • Reestablishing a vegetated floodplain and riparian area , which involved:
    • Creating 6.6 acres of restored floodplain and 8.4 acres of upland vegetated buffer
    • Planting a total of 540 trees, 1,500 shrubs and 960 herbaceous perennial plants

Approximately 4,600 live stakes, including 2,070 tree stakes will be planted along Mill Creek in November 2016.

The project was designed and constructed with grant money from the Ohio EPA’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program Funding ($1.35 Million dollars), $257,000 from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s Regional Stormwater Management Program, and an additional $97,400 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant from the US Forest Service for tree and shrub plantings (obtained by West Creek Conservancy).

Along with habitat, aesthetic and water quality benefits provided by this project, modeling with i-Tree software applications indicates that the revegetated floodplain will soak up over 3.2 million gallons of stormwater annually at maturity.  Similarly, the hydraulic model suggests that the peak discharge downstream for smaller storm events will be delayed by 17 minutes due to the restored stream and floodplain.  These results provide evidence that over time the value of the services provided by the restored stream and floodplain will more than pay for the design and engineering costs on this very large project.

Experts from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and partners helped plant vegetation to stabilize stream banks over the summer, and here they explain a bit about the project:

Here’s a birds-eye view of the finished project:

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