CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority Port Authority has officially renamed and will open Dike 14 as The Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve.
The new Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve is a former dredge disposal site located at the northern end of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on Cleveland's East Side.
The Port plans to open the site on a regular basis and spend up to $25,000 to install an entrance gate and make other improvements.
"Since the time Dike 14 was deactivated as a disposal site for sediments dredged from the river, it has become naturalized and is now a wonderful habitat for wildlife in an urban setting," said Port President and CEO Will Friedman.
More than 280 species of birds, numerous species of butterflies, 16 species of mammals, two species of reptiles, 26 Ohio plant species, and nine species of trees and shrubs have been identified.
"Opening the nature preserve to the public provides an opportunity for access to Lake Erie as well as access to a remarkable diversity of birds, native Ohio plants and trees, and other wildlife," said Chris Trepal, Executive Director of Earth Day Coalition and a member of the Environmental Education Collaborative, a group previously organized to connect people and nature at Dike 14.
The group has already held hikes there.
Port Authority Board Chair Robert C. Smith added, "As we work on solutions for managing river sediments over the long term, it's great to see a former dredge disposal site now an important natural resource for our community."