Urban Ecology: Inhabited Systems for Watershed Restoration and Management

Urban Ecology: Inhabited Systems for Watershed Restoration and Management

As the shallowest of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie has long been more susceptible to the adverse impacts of urban development. It’s a pattern that continues today, as stormwater runoff, sewage disposal, and contaminated sediment all contribute to the lake’s diminishing water quality and the growing prevalence of harmful algal blooms, fish kills, and closed beaches. Climate change threatens to exacerbate these impacts, along with erosion issues that are undermining sections of Erie’s shoreline.

The Huron-Erie Corridor has been grappling with similar problems of ecological damage and loss, driven largely by urban growth, industrial pollution, and combined sewer overflows (CSOs) that continue to hinder remediation and clean-up efforts. One of the busiest navigation routes in the United States, it is also a major fish migration corridor, bringing the need for ecological protection and restoration into sharp relief.  

The first in a series of publications created by SmithGroup to focus attention on topics and initiatives impacting the Great Lakes region, this issue of Great Lakes Cities focuses on Lake Erie and the Huron-Erie Corridor, in particular the Detroit River. The stories explore emerging solutions that seek to heal and restore Great Lakes ecology where people live, as a holistic part of how they live. The communities and projects highlighted here exemplify approaches to urban ecology that are growing in scale and impact throughout the watershed. These efforts integrate urban and natural systems through park and open space development, habitat restoration, and multijurisdictional frameworks for shoreline protection, access and management.


How the City of Euclid, Ohio is Changing the Great Lakes

Setting a New Benchmark for Lake Erie’s Coastal Restoration

Recreation and Re-Creation: Urban Ecological Design on Belle Isle

Larger Trends in Beneficial Reuse of Dredged Sediment: What This Means for the Great Lakes

Reflections on the Cuyahoga River Fire’s Golden Anniversary