In two years of surveying, volunteers have performed 105 surveys and documented 169 species of birds at the site.
In a little over a year of surveying, volunteers have performed 105 surveys and documented 169 species of birds at the site. Observations in June and July of 2015 uncovered a large number of species breeding at CLNP, including Wild Turkey, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Black-billed Cuckoo, Willow Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, House Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Brown Thrasher, Northern Mockingbird, Gray Catbird, Wood Thrush, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Yellow Warbler, Song Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, and American Goldfinch.
In addition to being provided to Black Swamp Bird Observatory, all data collected by the volunteer surveyors have been uploaded to Cornell’s eBird database.
Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve (CLNP – also known as Dike 14) is an 88-acre man-made peninsula that juts into Lake Erie on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio US. Because of the extensive development of the surrounding Lake Erie shore, the undeveloped land at CLNP is a critical resource for migratory birds in the Cleveland area. North-bound spring migrants need lakeshore habitat where they can stop and refuel before they attempt to cross the barrier of the lake. Fall migrants, exhausted by the lake crossing, need shore habitat where they can recover. At 88 acres, CLNP is the largest area of undeveloped lakeshore habitat between Huron and Painesville, Ohio, a shoreline distance of over 70 miles.
The National Audubon Society designated Dike 14 as an Important Bird Area in 2000 in recognition of the area’s importance to the preservation of migratory and resident birds.
Dike 14 – Doan Brook IBA Avian Survey Project
CLNP surveys use two basic methods to document bird activity at the nature preserve: point counts and daily checklists. On each survey day, one or more volunteers perform timed counts at each of 17 fixed points at the site. During these 5 minute counts, observers stand at the designated point and record all birds seen or heard. Each day, they also complete a checklist, documenting all species that are seen or heard, whether during a point count or elsewhere at the site.
The Avian Survey Project was developed in coordination with Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO). The standardized protocols used to collect the data ensure that they can be compared to data collected at other research stations in the region (including BSBO’s main station on the Lake Erie shore in Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge) and will provide valid long-term monitoring.
Between the survey’s beginning in July 2014 and the end of 2015, 21 volunteers performed 166 surveys at the site, averaging slightly more than 2 surveys per week. At least one survey was performed in almost all weeks, although deep snow during the winter of 2014-15 caused several weeks to be missed.
As is mentioned above, the surveys had documented 182 species at the site as of the end of 2015. In addition to the migrating warblers, sparrows, thrushes, and others that pass through the site in spring and fall, a wide variety of species nests at CLNP.
The following is a partial list of species that were confirmed or probable breeders at CLNP (as of the end of 2015): Wild Turkey, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Black-billed Cuckoo, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Willow Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, House Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Gray Catbird, Brown Thrasher, Northern Mockingbird, Cedar Waxwing, American Robin, Wood Thrush, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Yellow Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Song Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Orchard Oriole, and Baltimore Oriole, American Goldfinch.
CLNP documentation downloads available at the Store and viewable on Scribd:
Audubon Members at Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve (CLNP) March 29, 2015
History of Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve
In the late 19th century, Cleveland city planners and philanthropists saw a need to preserve park land to provide a refuge from city life. The most ambitious park system on the east side of Cleveland lay along the Doan Brook, extending upstream from the brook’s mouth at Lake Erie, through University Circle, and to the Shaker Lakes.
The land at the mouth of the brook was owned by William J. Gordon, who began to develop a park on 122 acres there in 1880. He donated that park to the City of Cleveland in 1893, stipulating that it remain a park. Lying along Lake Erie at the mouth of Doan Brook, Gordon Park became a popular boating and bathing spot. Land donated by Martha Ambler, Patrick Calhoun, John D. Rockefeller, Laura Rockefeller, and Jeptha Wade completed the Doan Brook park corridor all the way to the Shaker Lakes by the early 1900s.
In 1962, two derelict freighters were sunk in Lake Erie just west of the mouth of Doan Brook, ostensibly to form a breakwall to protect the beaches at Gordon Park. Over the ensuing 10 to 15 years, solid waste was dumped along the lake shoreline between the shore and the two freighters, eventually forming a 10-acre land area between the freighters and the shoreline.
Audubon Members at Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve (CLNP) October 13, 2012
The 1972 law required that contaminated material be placed in Confined Disposal Facilities (CDFs), which were intended to prevent contaminants in the sediments from reentering the waterways. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers located a CDF in Gordon Park at the mouth of Doan Brook. The brook was diverted into a half-mile-long culvert (underground pipe) that would lie under the dredged fill material, and a wall made of steel sheetpile and stone riprap was built around an 88-acre area that encompassed the two sunken freighters and the adjacent garbage dump.
The Corps of Engineers placed dredge spoil in the CDF at CLNP, designated as Dike 14, between 1979 and 1999. After disposal ceased in 1999, the area was fenced and essentially unused for over ten years. Citizen activism discouraged proposals to further expand the area for disposal of dredge material and encouraged the Corps of Engineers and Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority to make good on a prior commitment that the area would revert to park land after fill reached the 1999 levels.
Audubon Members at Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve (CLNP) January 10, 2010
In 2012, the Port Authority changed the name of the area from Dike 14 to Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve and formally opened the area to the public between dawn and dusk. Since then, the area has been used for passive recreation, including hiking, photography, and birding. In addition, field trips to the area have become a regular part of science education for children from schools in Cleveland and surrounding cities.
In 2015, the Port Authority renewed its submerged land lease for the area for a 50-year period. The lease included a designation of the area as a “perimeter dike and nature preserve for passive recreation site.”
Because the vegetation at CLNP originated from seeds in material dredged from the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie, and because the area was highly disturbed, many of the plants at the site consist of non-native invasive species. In 2015, the Port Authority commissioned a study of the area’s vegetation and the development of a plan to control invasive plants and establish native vegetation. The first part of this effort, which will be phased over a number of years, included elimination of invasive plants over the southwest part of the site in the fall of 2015. The areas treated in 2015 will be reseeded with native vegetation over the next several years, and additional areas will be treated.
Audubon Members at Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve (CLNP) September 24, 2006
Gooch, Laura C. 2001. “The Doan Brook Handbook.” Available on line at www.doanbrookpartnership.org.
Port of Cleveland web site: http://www.portofcleveland.com/infrastructure-environment/cleveland-lakefront-nature-preserve/history/
Laura Gooch is a civil engineer by training and an ornithologist by avocation. After practicing environmental engineering for more than 15 years, she began photographing and observing birds. She is currently a research associate with the ornithology department of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and a licensed bird bander affiliated with the Black Swamp Bird Observatory. Her ornithology related work includes bird photography and song recording, bird banding, migration monitoring through night-flight call analysis, bird study skin preparation, breeding bird surveys, and coordination of systematic bird surveys at Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve. Laura Gooch-Ornithology Biography PDF