The Cleveland Metroparks, which cover more than 20,000 acres, attract millions of visitors each year. But these parks do not just provide a haven for city dwellers: some protect important watersheds that flow into Lake Erie, a major source of fresh water for the entire region.

Video screenshot (sustainability)

Gayle Albers, Manager of the Watershed Stewardship Center at the Cleveland Metroparks’ West Creek Reservation, says that climate change is predicted to bring heavier and more frequent storm events that will threaten their watershed.

Albers: “When we get these big rain storms it can really degrade the ecosystem, it can take soils with it and create more pollution.”

The Center uses stormwater management methods to help prevent pollution.

Albers: “We have rain barrels and rain gardens and a series of bioswales that help to allow the water that hits the ground to actually be absorbed into the ground. And it slows it down and spreads it out, and then it dissipates it much more slowly into the river system.”

Albers says the Watershed Stewardship Center staff demonstrate these techniques for the public, who can use them to protect their own properties.

Screenshot of stormwater management sign

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media/Aren Zolninger.
Photos source: The Watershed Stewardship Center at West Creek video screen captures.

Editor’s note: Albers adds that the parks partner with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and with West Creek Conservancy

More Resources
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Cleveland Metro Parks

Bud Ward was editor of Yale Climate Connections from 2007-2022. He started his environmental journalism career in 1974. He later served as assistant director of the U.S. Congress's National Commission...