About Cuyahoga ReLeaf®
Our newest initiative, Cuyahoga ReLeaf, addresses a critical issue in watershed health the loss and restoration of our forest canopy. This effort will focus on developing tributary-based management plans for restoring and protecting woodlands in the interest of watershed restoration and protection.
Streams are healthiest, water quality is highest, storm water is best managed, erosion and sediment are controlled, wildlife habitat is most diverse and fish populations are at their prime in the presence of a thriving forest canopy. This applies most in riparian areas surrounding streams, headwater streams and buffer areas around wetlands, but it is important that ALL lands in a watershed host healthy forest canopy.
We are losing significant amounts of forest from tall trees down to the ground cover throughout our watersheds. Emerald Ash Borer is the latest pest to attack our forests, killing vast tracts of one of the largest remaining species. Dutch Elm Disease took its toll on others of our tallest and most stately trees as anthracnose cleared native dogwoods from the understory. Earthworm infestations have cleared large areas of forest floor of the decaying vegetation that would have fed trees and shrubs.
Construction and development have taken more than their share of forest, leaving landscapes of mostly young, non-native ornamental trees amid monocultures of turf grass.
Watersheds don't work as well as they might, or should, when forest cover, an essential piece of green infrastructure, is lost.
We aim to restore this critical green infrastructure element and to create the support system to keep woods working for watersheds.