Petitions support a coastal nature preserve at Dike 14

On November 19, 2002, Barbara A. Martin, acting chair, Dike 14 Committee sent a letter to Ohio Governor Bob Taft on behalf of the Dike 14 Committee. Along with this letter were 841 unduplicated signatures received on 3 petition formats signed in support of making Dike 14 into "a nature preserve with judicious public access".

Honorable Robert Taft
Governor, State of Ohio
77 South High Street, 30th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6117

Dear Governor Taft:

Please accept the enclosed petitions with the signatures of more than 840 individual Ohio residents, including representatives of 15 separate organizations in the State, that support the preservation of Dike 14 in Cleveland as a nature preserve with judicious public access. Also attached, is a Concept Plan for Dike 14 in three phases developed with the assistance of a biologist who has studied Dike 14's natural abundance. This Concept Plan incorporates a nature preserve on Dike 14 with recreational and educational facilities in the adjacent Gordon State Park.

Dike 14 is an 88-acre wildlife area on the Lake Erie shoreline that is recognized for its diverse coastal habitats, its native plants, and its critical importance to migratory birds. The petitioners appeal to you, Governor Taft, to apply the State's conservation ethics to the existing coastal habitats at Dike 14.

The organizations supporting the preservation of Dike 14 as a nature preserve include: Audubon Ohio, Earth Day Coalition, Lake Erie Nature and Science Center, Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, Ohio Coastal Research Management Project, Ohio Public Interest Research Group, Sierra Club of Northeast Ohio, Bratenahl Land Conservancy, Tinkers Creek Land Conservancy, League of Women Voters of Cleveland, League of Women Voters of Cuyahoga County, and naturalists from the Cleveland Metroparks.

As you know, Dike 14 is located in Lake Erie adjacent to the Cleveland Lakefront State Park at Gordon Park. Dike 14 is an 88-acre Public Trust property. Its structure and its landmass were created and used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the confined disposal of dredged materials from the Cleveland harbor from 1979 to 1999.

Diverse wildlife habitats at Dike 14 emerged naturally. They include wetlands, grasslands, shrub lands, meadowlands and forests. The 88-acre site is of sufficient size to sustain these distinct and diverse coastal habitats that provide essential food, water, shelter and critical staging areas, which support significant numbers and diversity of migratory birds as well as nesting and resident birds.

Dike 14 is recognized by experts as a premier migratory bird stopover site. It is documented with tens of thousands of migratory birds per year and a total count of 281 species of birds, which includes 23 of Ohio's 29 Endangered Species; 3 of Ohio's 3 Threatened Species; 2 Federally Endangered Species; and 54 out of 68 Audubon Species of Concern. These statistics rival those of much larger sites such as Huron's 575-acre Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve and Mentor's 650-acre Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve.

[On November 11, 2002] Audubon Society recommends that the highest levels of conservation be applied to Dike 14 and has designated the 88-acre site as an Audubon Important Bird Area.

For all of these reasons, Governor Taft, we urge you to grant conservation status to Dike 14. Please act to protect the only remaining quality habitat for migratory birds along 100 miles of Ohio coastline between Huron and Mentor.

We would like to discuss with you, or your staff, how the conservation of Dike 14 can produce an excellent resource for the citizens of Cleveland and the State of Ohio, by providing important benefits such as:

  • science educational opportunities for children and their schools, especially if a nature education center can be built at Gordon Park in conjunction with the Dike 14 Nature Preserve;
  • environmental research opportunities for colleges and universities;
  • environmental recreation and education opportunities for adults and children;
  • tourism and economic developmentecotourism generated by this premier birding site offers a great opportunity for the State to draw more visitors to Ohio's Lake Erie shoreline; and
  • prestigestatewide, national and international prestige associated with the urban conservation of coastal habitats for migratory birds.

Thank you for your attention to our request, and please let me know how we can be of assistance in turning the natural resource that Dike 14 represents today into a jewel on Ohio's Lake Erie Coast.


Barbara A. Martin, Acting Chair, DIKE 14 COMMITTEE
440-243-3353 or 440-243-9070

cc Dr. Samuel W. Speck, Director, Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Honorable Jane L. Campbell, Mayor, City of Cleveland

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EcoCity Cleveland
3500 Lorain Avenue, Suite 301, Cleveland OH 44113
Cuyahoga Bioregion
(216) 961-5020
Copyright 2002-2003



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