At a Glance
Combining the principles of conservation biology with ecological restoration and good urban planning, this project demonstrates that green infrastructure can serve to enhance both biodiversity and community recreation needs.
Cleveland’s “Emerald Necklace” provides residents with a greenway system unmatched in many urban communities. The greenways, parkways, and recreational areas that comprise the Emerald Necklace provide critical natural resource protection and outdoor recreation opportunities.
With the completion of the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation, an opportunity existed to connect the Canal Reservation with Garfield Reservation and Mill Creek Falls. The establishment of this greenway connection could protect, enhance and restore riparian and aquatic biodiversity along the Lower Mill Creek Valley.
Recognizing the importance of restoring an ecological corridor between the two parks, Cleveland Metroparks retained Biohabitats to lead a team of landscape architects, conservation biologists and greenway planners to prepare a study and draft a master plan for the greenway.
Using principles of landscape ecology, conservation biology, and regenerative design, the Biohabitats team addressed issues concerning habitat fragmentation, water quality, wetland function, stream morphology, and plant community composition. The team combined this analysis with both cultural and recreational opportunities to produce a greenway master plan that helps protect, enhance and restore the ecological integrity of the corridor. The plan also served as an economic stimulus for the surrounding neighborhoods of Garfield Heights and Cuyahoga Heights.