Saving the best of Baldwin Creek.

Where Healthy Lakes Begin: The headwaters of Baldwin Creek meander through 17 acres of undisturbed habitat, a recent acquisition by West Creek Conservancy in the southwest corner of Parma. Urban headwater areas like this provide a crucial link in sustaining the health of Lake Erie.

The Challenge: Where does Lake Erie begin? It begins everywhere – everywhere in the Lake Erie watershed. It begins where the water of several small streams from North Royalton flow northwest into Parma’s German Central wetlands. But the water doesn’t stop. Known as Baldwin Creek, it then wanders across Middleburg Heights and west where, just north of Berea’s Baldwin Lake, it flows into the East Branch of Rocky River. The river’s waters then continue north to merge with the West Branch of Rocky River along the edge of Brook Park at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. From there, as Rocky River, it meanders northward through Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River Reservation to become the boundary between the cities of Lakewood and Rocky River where it enters Lake Erie. Many of us will be drinking that water.

Our Action: One of the largest undeveloped natural areas remaining along the route of Baldwin Creek lies between North Royalton and Parma’s German Central Foundation. Over 17 acres and 2200 feet of Stream comprise the two properties that were recently preserved by West Creek Conservancy. One parcel was donated; the other was purchased. Together they provide outstanding floodplain and riparian habitat.

The Impact: What we do to the land determines what we do to the water. With much of the greenspace along Baldwin Creek fragmented and degraded, the water quality of Lake Erie – our source for drinking water and so much more – is threatened. But this 17-acre acquisition by the Conservancy increases habitat protection, restores biological communities, and helps preserve Baldwin Creek, one of Greater Cleveland’s many headwater streams that provide an answer to the question: Where does Lake Erie begin?

This is a highlight from our 2016 Report to the Community of over 20 projects completed by West Creek Conservancy in 2015. The full report can be downloaded from our website.