Metroparks Remove Dam, Create Wetlands

(Strongsville) - What once was, has returned. The Cleveland Metroparks have removed a dam and a mill from the East Branch of the Rocky River, returning the land in the Mill Stream Run Reservation to its original state.

The mill was built in the 1800s, and actually operated until the 1900s. However, the dam that powered the mill also created a pond that changed the ecosystem of the area, and changed what animals, birds, and insects came to the area.

This is the release from the Cleveland Metroparks:
Cleveland Metroparks was joined today by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) to celebrate the completion of the Bonnie Park Restoration Project in Mill Stream Run Reservation. The project, which began in 2018, improved water quality and habitat in the East Branch of the Rocky River, restored nearly five acres of vital wetlands, permanently protected 65 acres of existing high-quality wetlands adjacent Bonnie Park, and added a new accessible riverside overlook.

The main component of the restoration project was the removal of the lowhead dam that impeded the natural flow of the East Branch of the Rocky River for decades, restricting fish passage and disrupting macroinvertebrate populations. The dam, which formerly powered a mill until the early 1900s, has been replaced with several riffles and pools that provide aquatic habitat and together restore approximately 3,400 feet of the river channel.

Since the removal of the dam, the East Branch of the Rocky River is now in attainment for both fish and macroinvertebrate populations, a clear sign of significant water quality and habitat improvements of the Rocky River that flows into Lake Erie. This marks the first time that the East Branch Rocky River system has been in attainment of the Water Quality Standards Program for biology since the Clean Water Act was instituted. 

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