CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio – Metropolis council discovered itself inundated with greater than 100 emails Monday evening, most of them asking for fishing to be allowed on the Cleveland Heights aspect of Decrease Shaker Lake.
The reasoning got here out of an nameless leaflet posted by the lake and likewise shared on the Subsequent Door group web site, beginning fairly merely with the headline “What Occurred to All of the Water?” It was defined in nice print on the backside of the letter that the lake had been drained to restore the “previous leaking dam”.
However the author sees the chance to have the lake stocked at no cost by the state with native predatory fish equivalent to bass and blue sunfish, which might wipe out any remaining carp.
Whereas Decrease Lake is owned by the Metropolis of Cleveland, Shaker and Cleveland Heights have a long-term lease for administration functions, basically divided in the course of the water physique.
“With the lake presently drained and many of the invasive carp gone, now’s the time to reintroduce native species to Shaker Lake to convey again wildlife,” the leaflet mentioned, since withdrawn. “The Ohio Division of Pure Sources desires to retailer useful native species in Lake (Decrease) at no cost. And Shaker Heights desires it, too – however Cleveland Heights is the one metropolis that is in the way in which.
Story of two cities
Not so quick, says Jeri Chaikin, govt director of Shaker Heights.
ODNR made a suggestion to Shaker Parks and Recreation Director Alex Nichols and Chaikin famous that fishing is allowed on the Shaker Heights aspect with no prescription.
“They supplied to retailer the lake, however given the situation of the lakes because of the dams, we determined to not proceed right now,” mentioned Chaikin.
On the similar time, Cleveland Heights Director of Parks and Recreation Joe McRae mentioned his metropolis would welcome fish, however not fishing.
“Decrease Lake is a vital and beloved a part of the Shaker Lakes Parks shared by Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights,” mentioned McRae. “It is a spot to hen watch, congregate, stroll canine, run and have a picnic. Preserving the power to do all of this requires the maintenance of our slim park with its pure vegetation in comparison with the bigger park that Shaker Heights has on its aspect of the lake.
McRae raised different considerations in regards to the affect on native vegetation that assist type the barrier to the lake. He mentioned it may trigger the water to rise which may destroy the mountaineering path and extra vegetation.
“Cleveland Heights is following the unique parks administration plan, which has prohibited fishing for a number of years,” mentioned McRae. “We aren’t against stocking the lake with native fish, however for ecological advantages quite than fishing. We additionally stay involved about wastes like fishing strains and hooks which could be harmful to wildlife in addition to people.
The “ buddies ” weigh
As co-chairs of the volunteer group Pals of Decrease Lake, Peggy Spaeth and John Barber famous that they have been requested for his or her views on the leaflet posted by “an nameless fisherman,” a few of which they forwarded as public correspondence to Cleveland Heights Metropolis Council on Monday.
“We predict the volunteers coming into Yr 4 of habitat restoration all agree with us that fishing at Decrease Lake Park ought to proceed to be banned,” mentioned Spaeth and Barber. “Our standpoint, in addition to the historical past of the divergence between the 2 cities on a coverage of frequent pure area, is right here. “
They have been amongst about 10 individuals who voiced opposition to the Decrease Lake fishing, in comparison with greater than 80 who urged Cleveland Heights officers to vary the coverage.
Spaeth and Barber additionally gave their explanation why stocking the lake with native species wouldn’t be sustainable, as the location is designated as an necessary space for Audubon birds.
“Permitting fishing within the lake would change the character of the lake right into a leisure exercise quite than a passive one,” they added. “Of all of the Shaker Lakes, Decrease Lake has been most frequently described as a nature reserve all through its historical past.”
Spaeth and Barber mentioned fishing was not permitted in Decrease Lake previous to the Shaker Parklands Committee’s overview and replace of the 2013 Land Use and Administration Plan.
At the moment, the Shaker Parklands committee was requested to endorse the doc with the next addition: “Shaker Heights doesn’t prohibit fishing on the south aspect of Decrease Lake, pending a public use planning course of. . “
This language permits fishing in Shaker Heights on the South Park Boulevard aspect of the lake and a part of Brook Highway, such because the bridge, for an indefinite interval.
“We wish to see a uniform coverage for the park, however sadly the administration companions don’t agree,” mentioned Spaeth and Barber. “We assist Cleveland Heights banning fishing on the North Park (Boulevard) aspect of Decrease Lake for ecological and human security causes.
They famous that changing frequent carp with native fish shouldn’t be a sustainable aim in a shallow, silty synthetic pond.
“A number of species of birds additionally nest alongside the sting of the lake the place they’re at severe danger of entanglement and dying from deserted fishing gear, lead sinkers additionally posing a hazard,” mentioned Spaeth and Barber , citing the presence of nesting inexperienced herons, feeding on bald eagles and ospreys, a wide range of migrating geese, kingfishers and warblers.
The Pals of Decrease Lake group is affiliated with the Doan Brook Watershed Partnership, whose govt director Victoria mills additionally despatched public correspondence to Cleveland Heights Metropolis Council on Monday.
Mills mentioned any additional selections concerning the “very shallow” lake and the Audubon website with its vegetative shoreline must be delayed till the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District completes work on the dam.
She added that three conferences have been held final 12 months and inspired new boards to be held by the partnership and the Shaker Parklands Fee.
“Additional, lots of the feedback on this nameless letter aren’t factual,” Mills wrote to Cleveland Heights Metropolis Council.
These may embrace references within the flyer that “ODNR desires to assist, however Cleveland Heights has ODNR’s arms tied behind its again,” in addition to the assertion that “Decrease Lake will quickly be lifeless and lifeless. . Do not let that occur.
After Metropolis of Cleveland Heights Director Susanna Niermann O’Neil and CFO Amy Himmelein, additionally Clerk of the Council, learn all emails, Council Chairman Jason Stein referred the matter to committee. Group Relations and Recreation, chaired by Councilor Davida Russell.
“Additional dialogue on that is wanted, and this could embrace Shaker Heights as properly,” Stein mentioned, noting that Councilor Mary Dunbar, one of many metropolis’s representatives on the Doan Brook Watershed Partnership board, can present ‘liaison experience’.
Russell requested a duplicate of Mills’ letter, including that council can even want to listen to from neighbors round Decrease Lake.
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