when restored, doan brook to become model urban stream

The picturesque Doan Brook meanders through Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights, providing walkers and joggers with a scenic backdrop. Yet the section that flows through Cleveland's Rockefeller Park remains boxed in by crumbling stone walls.

This year, a $2.5 million project to restore these portions of the Doan Brook will finally get started. The project will remove failing stone walls and concrete dams for nearly a half-mile, allowing the stream to flow more naturally while improving water quality and increasing fish populations.

"This project could serve as a model for other communities that are seeking to create healthier streams in urban areas," says Victoria Mills, Executive Director of the nonprofit Doan Brook Watershed Partnership.

The Doan Brook project was originally slated to receive $5.5 million, but was scaled back after bids came in over budget. The new plan addresses these concerns by creating natural terraces that improve drainage and reduce flooding without threatening portions of the gardens. The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) will manage the design and construction process. 

Although the project is smaller in scale than originally envisioned, Mills is excited about its impact. "I am hopeful that it will spur more improvement projects in Rockefeller Park, including a new master plan," she says.

The Doan Brook improvement project was conceived in 2001, when the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered the city to restore the brook to compensate for the loss of 88 acres of wetland and more than a mile of Abram Creek at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Abram Creek was destroyed to allow for a new runway to be built. The EPA required the city to complete $15 million in restoration projects, most of which have now been completed.

The brook is rare among Cleveland's urban streams because much of it remains above ground. The Doan Brook Watershed Partnership was formed in 2001 to coordinate the preservation efforts of the cities of Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, Cleveland and interested citizens. Over the years, Doan Brook has developed an active constituency dedicated to its renewal. The Doan Brook Watershed Partnership will hold a clean-up day on April 17th. To register call 216-321-5935 x 237 or visit the website.

The $2.5 million project will also remove some invasive species and allow limited access to the brook, but will not address flooding.

Source: Victoria Mills
Writer: Lee Chilcote
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