The Portage Park District recently took ownership of a 112-acre parcel on Seasons Road, Streetsboro, known as the Tinkers Creek Greenway Phase III. The Tinkers Creek Greenway acquisitions Phases I and II were used to create Trail Lake Park, south of this new property and adjacent to Herrick Fen State Nature Preserve.
The project was made possible through partnerships with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) who sponsored the project with $1.72 million in funding through the Ohio EPA’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program. That funding will also cover restoration activities including invasive species control, plugging an old oil and gas well, clearing debris, restoring 9 acres of wetlands and planting over 70 acres of forest and meadow habitat. The property is primarily meadow but includes a large wetland, streams, and a portion of high-quality rare wetland fen habitat with endangered species.
The wetlands and tributaries on this property that flow into Tinkers Creek and provide habitat for many different species of plants and wildlife will be clean and healthy. – Robin Christensen, Western Reserve Land Conservancy
Tinkers Creek is the largest tributary to the Cuyahoga River which flows to Lake Erie, and this project is located near its headwaters. Conservation and restoration of this property protects and improves water quality flowing downstream, thus preventing the need for additional water treatment in the future. Investing in conservation now will save the NEORSD and the OEPA money overall, while at the same time providing a beautiful public park for all to enjoy.
“This once again illustrates the power of partnerships and collaboration,” said Christine Craycroft, Executive Director of the Park District, “our partners help to stretch local dollars, and add capacity to accomplish more than we could working alone as a small agency. In the end, the Park District’s contribution involved staff time and about $10,000 in local funds to make it happen.” Western Reserve Land Conservancy, one of the largest non-profit land conservancies in the country, pre-acquired the property from the private landowner and assisted with securing funding. The NEORSD sponsored the project by adding it to the water pollution control loan it received from the EPA. Ohio EPA will hold a permanent environmental covenant on the property to ensure its perpetual preservation.
“By permanently protecting the Tinkers Creek Greenway Phase III property, we’re making a commitment now and to future generations that this land will remain in its natural state,” said Robin Christensen, conservation project manager at Western Reserve Land Conservancy. “The wetlands and tributaries on this property that flow into Tinkers Creek and provide habitat for many different species of plants and wildlife will be clean and healthy. Big projects like this one come together when all the partners play to their greatest strengths. The Land Conservancy is proud to work with the Portage Park District, Ohio EPA, and Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to preserve a critical piece of the Tinker’s Creek watershed.”
Preliminary plans call for parking, hiking trails, restrooms, and other low-impact amenities. Major restoration work is planned for 2022-2023. The property will remain a preserve (preserve properties are unopened to the public) during the restoration and planning process.