Ohio EPA awards $1,166,575 for restoration of unique stream in central Geauga park


Geauga Park District is thrilled to announce a very exciting award for Geauga County – a $1,166,575 grant from the Ohio EPA, with assistance from Chagrin River Watershed Partners, to restore streams and forests at Veterans Legacy Woods in Newbury and Burton townships.


Work funded by this grant, sourced by the Ohio EPA’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsorship Program, will help restore the property to a more natural habitat after its many years of maintenance as Wicked Woods Golf Course.


Veterans Legacy Woods is comprised of 180 acres within the upper West Branch of the Cuyahoga River watershed. This section of the Cuyahoga River is a “good” quality stream system that is rich in both aquatic flora and fauna. Restoring these streams, riparian corridor and forested habitats will be critical to improving water quality and preventing the loss of biological diversity.


The Upper Cuyahoga is a well known hotspot of rare and listed plant and animal species, with some of the best wetland complexes in Ohio. Given this sensitivity, it is a high priority to restore degraded areas by planting native vegetation, restoring eroding banks, and addressing hydrological alterations.


The funded project also includes the removal of two pond dams, which will improve water quality and restore natural stream processes. Geauga Park District Park Biologist Paul Pira documented that these dams raised the downstream water temperature, so removing them will help maintain cooler summer stream temperatures and restore natural stream processes flowing into the West Branch of the Cuyahoga River.


To be noted is an extremely unique and major component of this project: creating 1,500 linear feet of new coldwater stream for the specific purpose of introducing native Ohio brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), a state-designated threatened (soon to be endangered) species. Currently, only three viable/self-sustained populations of native brook trout remain in the entirety of Ohio – all three stream locations proudly protected, owned and managed by Geauga Park District. These fish have been the focus of a long-standing cooperative conservation and reintroduction effort by the Ohio Division of Wildlife, which has included other key partners over the years.


Lastly, five acres of former golf course fairway will be reforested with native trees and shrubs, providing shaded stream and wetland environments. Over time, these plantings will help stabilize the streambanks, prevent pollution from entering, and shade nearby streams, keeping them cool for aquatic species.


To learn more about Veterans Legacy Woods, visit


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Geauga News
Author: Geauga News