Dam removal improves water quality, fish habitat in urban stream near Cleveland, Ohio

Project Summary Federal Great Lakes restoration funds removed an old dam from Euclid Creek, which allowed for the return of fish and other aquatic life to the waterway. The project increased recreational fishing opportunities and improved water quality, helping the creek to meet water quality standards.

BEFORE: Euclid Creed dam was an impediment to fish passage.

Project name: Euclid Creek dam removal

Location: Euclid, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland


The Euclid Creek East Branch Dam in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, was removed in December 2010. The project restored the natural stream flow to a portion of Euclid Creek for the first time in 80 years. The dam was the first of six targeted for removal as part of a watershed restoration plan.

Approximate cost of project: $526,585 (funded through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

AFTER: Removal of the dam has provided fish with new habitat and increased recreational fishing opportunities.

Resource challenge addressed

The Euclid Creek East Branch Dam was located on the East Branch of Euclid Creek, a heavily industrialized tributary to Lake Erie that is affected by urban runoff and habitat degradation. The project removed a low-head dam that was constructed in the early 1930s to impound water for swimming at a YMCA camp. The original pool behind the dam was completely filled with sediment and the dam no longer served any purpose. The structure was an impediment to fish migration upstream from the main branch of Euclid Creek.

Key partners

  • Ohio Department of Natural Resources
  • City of Euclid
  • Cleveland Metroparks
  • Cuyahoga County Engineer
  • Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
  • Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
  • Friends of Euclid Creek

Types of jobs created

The project created 38 jobs.

  • 20 people worked on design, surveying, field administration and constructions services;
  • 11 people worked on the construction portion of the project; and,
  • 7 worked on replanting the shoreline after the dam removal was complete.

Results and accomplishments

Removing the dam and abutments restored the natural flow to 500 linear feet of Euclid Creek upstream of the dam and allowed fish and other aquatic life in the creek’s main branch to reach waters in the East Branch. The result: New habitat for fish and other aquatic life and increased recreational fishing opportunities. The improved water quality also will help Euclid Creek meet Ohio’s water quality standards.

Continued Support from Congress, White House Essential

Federal support paved the way for the successful removal of the Euclid Creek dam. Unfortunately, there are countless communities around the region which continue to struggle with drinking water restrictions, beach closings, fish consumption advisories, depressed property values and other impacts from unhealthy lakes. That is why it is essential for the U.S. Congress and the White House to support federal programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. If we cut funding now, it will only cost more later because all of these projects will only get harder and more expensive the longer we wait.

More About This Project

Originally Published: June 1, 2011