At a Glance

Dam removal and floodplain restoration sets a trajectory of healing for a degraded stream system.

Project Description

The 3,300 acre Mill Stream Run Reservation is the second largest jewel in Cleveland Metroparks’ “emerald necklace” of public parks. The waters flowing through it are inextricably linked to the region’s industrial history. At one time, they powered mills that helped create that history. Today, however, many of them have been degraded and impaired by it. This includes Baldwin Creek, which flows through a portion of the Reservation that was acquired by CMP in 2022. A low-head dam, once used by a drinking water plant, was preventing the natural flow of water and sediment, blocking fish passage, and causing the channel downstream of the dam to become incised and disconnected from its floodplain. Bordered on one side by formerly agricultural area and the other by an abandoned horse ranch/residential development, the creek was also degraded by historic land use practices. With funding from the Ohio EPA’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program, and in partnership with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, Cleveland Metroparks sought to remove the dam and restore the degraded stream. For help, they turned to a design-build team led by Biohabitats.

Biohabitats led the design, permitting, and construction of a nature-based solution to restore the creek’s hydrology and sediment transport, improve fish passage and re-colonize benthic macroinvertebrates, and enhance riparian habitat and ecosystem function along the stream and its floodplain. In addition to removing the dam, a partial headwall downstream, and impervious surface in the floodplain, the design “resets” the riparian corridors through bank stabilization, in-stream habitat restoration, selective grading, floodplain connection and restoration, and revegetation.

The restoration sets the trajectory for ecological recovery using resources found on-site whenever possible, minimizing impacts to existing resources, and maximizing restoration outcomes with dollars available.



Great Lakes

Expertise Areas

Conservation, Design & Build, Ecological Restoration


Cleveland Metroparks


Strongsville, Ohio, United States

Project Team
  • KS Associates
  • ASC Group, Inc.
  • Meadville Land Service
  • Schirmer Construction
  • Ecological Field Services