Restored Stream Could Play Role

in Reintroducing Trout

Restoring the channel of an Ohio stream that was dammed for decades has cleared the way for the possible reintroduction of native Ohio brook trout.


Sulphur Springs is a small, coldwater stream in suburban Cleveland that flows into Chagrin River, a tributary of Lake Erie. The stream was severely altered by a dam that was built in the stream in the 1930s for recreational purposes. The dam was recently removed, but remnants of the structure remained in the stream and the altered channel was vulnerable to erosion that buried prime fish habitat. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave the Chagrin River Watershed Partners a $46,000 grant to restore a portion of Sulphur Springs and assess the possibility of using the stream as a site for the reintroduction of native Ohio brook trout.  The segment of Sulphur Springs that was restored is in the South Chagrin Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks. The Chagrin River watershed is home to some of the last relict populations of native Ohio brook trout, which date back some 10,000 years — to the last Ice Age that created the Great Lakes. Through restoration and monitoring, this project will determine whether the stream is suitable for reintroduction of the state-threatened native Ohio brook trout or minnow species that are indicators of healthy headwater streams. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar designated the Sulphur Springs restoration as Ohio’s featured project for America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, a federal program that supports community-based efforts to restore key rivers, increase recreational opportunities and create local jobs. The Chagrin River Watershed Partners worked with Cleveland Metroparks and the Emerald Necklace Chapter of Trout Unlimited to restore 400 linear feet of the stream and five acres of riparian corridor that was affected by the historic dam and impoundment.  Cleveland Metroparks is monitoring the effects of urbanization on the stream and the Chagrin River Watershed Partners produced materials that show local residents and government officials how to protect the stream by better managing land use, reducing stormwater runoff and planting shade trees and other native vegetation.

Resource Challenges Addressed

  • Lack of fish and wildlife habitat
  • Altered stream flow
  • Erosion
  • Sediment build up


Newly planted trees in Sulphur Springs

Trees newly planted around the Chagrin River tributary Sulphur Springs will help strengthen the streambank and provide habitat for wildlife. Photo credit: Chagrin River Watershed Partners.

Results and Accomplishments

The project restored 400 linear feet of stream and five acres of high quality riparian habitat in the Chagrin River watershed. Sulphur Springs is being evaluated as a possible site for the reintroduction of native Ohio brook trout.