Big Creek Water Improvement Project
Rain and snow that fall on the 11-acre Cleveland Metroparks Zoo parking lot behind The RainForest runs directly into the adjacent Big Creek and ends in the Cuyahoga River. This runoff is a problem when it is contaminated by road salt and surface pollutants (e.g. silt, oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid).
With a grant from the Ohio EPA, Cleveland Metroparks added a diversion channel and collection pond in the front half of The RainForest parking lot that will collect all water runoff from the lot and filter out pollutants before it is released into Big Creek.
By giving up an area of the parking lot that originally accomodated cars, Cleveland Metroparks & Ohio EPA are improving the water quality of Big Creek and the Cuyahoga watershed.
See how the Zoo helps protect Big Creek (PDF)
What can you do to help?
- Keep pollutants from reaching waterways.
- Use earth-friendly yard products.
- Do you have extra fertilizer, grass clippings or dirt on your driveway? Sweep it back onto your lawn. Hosing your driveway sends these pollutants into storm drains.
- Never dump motor oil, chemicals, pet waste, dirty or soapy water or anything else down the storm drain. All of these materials pollute our lakes and streams.
- Use rain barrels to collect water runoff from your hours and garage and then use the collected water for your plants and gardens. Gardens can filter out pollutants.
- Volunteer to label storm drains in your neighborhood to inform residents that storm drains flow directly to our lakes and streams.
- Participate in beach clean-ups.
View the Runoff Filtration lesson plan (PDF)
In this lesson students will be able to describe two different processes in which storm water can be filtered before it enters into a waterway. They will also be able to design their own way to catch and filter pollutants out of storm water.