The Highland Park Golf Course contains a once straightened and degraded segment of Mill Creek, which is owned by the City of Cleveland and within the Village of Highland Hills. A large scale restoration project, led by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, the City of Cleveland, the Village of Highland Hills, and Mill Creek Watershed Partnership began in March 2016 and is nearing its final stage of completion toward the end of October 2016.

Restoration measures included:

  • Removing over 3,000 feet of failing stone and gabion walls
  • 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.

Check out an aerial view of the current state of the project in our photo album . Earlier images of the project’s progress can be found on our flickr site.