Field Guide

About the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve (CLNP)

A unique urban wildlife haven on Lake Erie

The original shoreline at the site was part of the land William Gordon willed to the City of Cleveland in 1896 for use as a public park (now Gordon Park). In 1962, two old freighters were sunk offshore to create a breakwall to protect the park’s beach. During this time it was not uncommon for solid waste to be dumped along the lakeshore. The waste eventually formed an approximately 10-acre area between the sunken freighters and the shoreline. The Preserve’s land mass began taking shape in the late 1970’s as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) disposed of sediment dredged from the Cuyahoga River in a walled-off area that juts out from the Lake Erie shoreline. The USACE placed sediment in a confined disposal facility (CDF) called Dike 14 from 1979-1999 as part of its program to dredge the Cuyahoga River. The USACE designed the contours of Dike 14 to encompass the entire area. Over the years, layers of sediment – essentially sand, soil and clay – were placed within the walls of Dike 14, After the USACE stopped using Dike 14 as a CDF nature took hold, and with very little human intervention, the peninsula became filled with plants, trees and shrubs that attracted diverse species of birds and other wildlife. – now known as the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve.

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How to Use the Field Guide

The Port of Cleveland encourages you to use this Field Guide and to look, listen, explore and enjoy the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve. Walk the paths of the Nature Preserve, listen to the sounds of the wind, waves and wildlife, learn from interpretive signage and discover and celebrate the diverse wildlife treasures along the shore of Lake Erie.

This easy-to-use guide has been formatted to include beautiful illustrations, historical, habitat and natural history notes, ecology links and additional resources for you to explore.

Download the Field Guide