Floodplains, wetlands, rivers and lakes

From the streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands that exist today in Northeast Ohio to the glaciers that covered the region 10,000 years ago to the succession of lakes and oceans that existed in this place going back millennia, water has shaped our region in millions of obvious and subtle ways. Understanding and appreciating its importance starts with recognizing where today's water resources are found. The map on this and the following page set the stage by showing us where lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, floodplains and watershed boundaries are located.

Wetlands are those areas where the water table is at, near, or above the land surface for a significant part of most years. They include marshes, mudflats, and swamps situated on the shallow margins of lakes, ponds, streams, and manmade reservoirs. They also include wet meadows or perched bogs and seasonally wet or flooded basins with no surface-water outflow.

Once disparaged as unhealthy, it's only after we drained over 90% of our wetlands in Ohio (this state is second only to California in the proportion of wetlands that have been destroyed) that we have come to recognize the important benefits they provide. They retain stormwater, filter pollutants, recharge underground aquifers, and provide habitat for animal and plant species, some of which exist in no other place than Northeast Ohio.

Download a detailed PDF file of this map (1.35 MB)



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Cuyahoga Bioregion
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