Wetland Regulation and Mitigation Research in Twinsburg, Ohio-- Cleveland Clinic's Site Proposal

Submitted by elizathrush on Fri, 02/27/2009 - 19:51.

         I am posting to this blog to hopefully find others who would like to post their opinions or do an interview with me regarding my research topics. I will try to give my interest and research a context—how I became interested, why I’m posting for public input. Please bear with me; this is my first blog post ever…  

The proposed Cleveland Clinic facility planned for Twinsburg (around Darrow Rd. and 480) seems to be both contested and welcomed, depending on who you talk with. I am doing research for my master’s thesis regarding how wetlands are regulated and mitigated—specifically using the proposed Cleveland Clinic facility as a case study to examine the regulatory, economic, environmental, and social impacts of this construction project, and the resulting mitigation.

More specifically, I am interested in understanding the relationships between national, state, and local governments as well as private entities and the public concerning wetland regulation and mitigation. I am currently interviewing Ohio EPA staff, environmental consultants, academics, Cleveland Clinic staff, and Twinsburg citizens.

I became interested in this case study site during the summer of 2008 while I was an intern for Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. I heard about the site through the news and through EPA proceedings. I was immediately interested in the proposed Cleveland Clinic site due to the high profile nature of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and the large amount of high quality streams and wetlands on the parcel to be developed. I also found the site interesting because several previous attempts at development had been made in the past, but this attempt seems to be the one that will actually be successful.


My research questions include:

1. What socio-eco-political factors contribute to how this land and landscape will be preserved/degraded?

2. How is wetland mitigation and banking used as a policy tool/maneuver?

3. How does this history of this site affect how the landscape will be changed/degraded? What makes this attempt at development different than the other unsuccessful attempts?


Other questions include:

1. How do we better account for and mitigate wetlands? Is No Net Loss of wetlands achievable or important?

2. Are mitigation banks successful at replacing lost wetlands’ functions?

3. How far away should wetland mitigation take place from an impacted or filled wetland? How could this distance impair local water quality?

4. How does the economic gain and job creating capacity of the proposed facility compare to environmental loss? Does this or should this matter?

5. What do you think about the location of the proposed CCF facility in relation to the existing University Hospital branch? Is the location of this project purposeful?


            If you are interested in my research or would like to comment on any of these aspects, or anything I left out, please do! I am experimentally using this blog as a medium for making connections with Northeast Ohio locals and to enhance my thesis research.

            Feel free to post comments to this page or email me directly at elizathrush [at] gmail [dot] com. 



( categories: )

Wetland mitigation

5. What do you think about the location of the proposed CCF facility in relation to the existing University Hospital branch? Is the location of this project purposeful?

Hello Elizabeth--I hope more people from the Twinsburg area respond to your queries...I can speak from some experience in land use planning and I will respond to all of your queries via email, but my primary concern with this project is articulated in question #5.  And my answer is a resounding NO/NO. 

Ohio EPA is located in Twinsburg and they should have addressed this before the project ever got off the drawing board.   I don't live in Twinsburg, but I will be subjected to the downstream damages to the Cuyahoga River.  That an institution representing health would destroy the lifeline of our community is a travesty beyond words.


Thanks for asking, and raising our consciousness

Laura, please share your thoughts on this here, as well! I'm not at all informed on this issue.

Elizabeth... thanks for sharing your research and investigative process with us here at realneo... we appreciate being included! The public is never really allowed at the master planning table, in this region... we aren't even allowed to see pieces of the plans until they are signed, sealed and delivered, and we've been taxed a year to pay for them...

Hopefully you will bring some much needed expert attention to planning irregularities here.

May I suggest Roldo as an outstanding source on all your research questions. And Susan Miller has been all over water issues here for years.

I'll be interested in your findings regarding any patterns that may explain past and present planning failure on larger water issues here, as we are paying a very heavy price for sprawl, which is getting worse, and we are headed for disaster.

The leadership here - especially representing heavy industry, mining, shipping, real estate, healthcare, and big education - continues to deny the need for "sustainable" and environmentally conscious planning, and government has been weakened and "strategic visioning" outsourced to corporate and foundation interests to such a degree our planning and the mainstream media are entirely in the hands of the CEO of the Cleveland Clinic.

Any local data, media coverage and analyses on the issues you are researching will probably have been conducted by researchers paid by the Cleveland Clinic, through various foundation and non-profit exchanges, via local universities, and via the Plain Dealer. Sort of like the Clinic investing in developing medical devices and drugs they then help mainstream for profit.

One interesting Cleveland Clinic "environmental" irregularity is the President of Cleveland Clinic's Huron Hospital, Gus Kious, and his family have been positioned as well compensated green gods of the region, with strong influence among Cleveland Foundation, "sustainability" and government leaders here, who always tend to side with industry. So, the Clinic has invested little but is is developing a big greenwash footprint, that is largely hype and increasingly funded by taxpayers.

Watch for the Cleveland Foundation's Cleveland Carbon Fund to play a role - that may be one way the Clinic will greenwash any water issues they cause and divert funds from real environmentalism to the Cleveland Foundation, for their sustainability hype.

Another observation is a recent study by Neighborhood Progress Inc. and Kent Urban Design Collaborative, funded by foundations, seems to pursue a strategy of tearing down as many urban buildings as possible as part of an offset downstream "water management" strategy - this is diverting our HUD Neighborhood Stabalization Program money away from what was intended. The study only considered actions in "Cleveland" and so left off the map all water issues outside Cleveland, which are what cause many water management issues inside Cleveland. This is typical, where research is designed to offer incomplete findings beneficial to industry that may be used to benefit a funder like the Cleveland Clinic... they are clearing 100s of acres of land for Clinicish interests like the Opportunity Corridor and will probably call that an offset for some suburban sprawl development.

Oh, and you may want to leverage the fact that everyone I know who works at the clinic hates working there, so people will probably be willing to talk if their identity is kept confidential - if you ask people to talk openly about the Clinic, many people will be intimidated... biggest employer in the region!

What else...? How long is your research scheduled to last?

Thanks for caring!

Disrupt IT

thanks for the responses!

Thank you both for your insights, suggestions, and responses. I was hoping this blog would be a good way to find people interested in environmental issues affecting Northeast Ohio-- 

My research is in its early stages. I am a graduate student in a two-year master's program, but I stumbled upon my research topic late. I am in the mad-dash towards graduating in June, but haven't yet made it to my analysis and results yet. I will post more as this process continues. Again, I am very grateful for your insight and opinions. 

I, too, find it alarming that so many people have told me that there isn't really any outlet for public opinion until the end stages of planning for these types of facilities. Although public hearings are held, how can we make this a more inclusive and meaningful part of the planning process? This is not directly part of my research, but is very important, nonetheless. 

I will try to keep posting as I learn and find more questions...

I agree that it is important to note how studies are funded and how this may influence outcomes (consciously or not)...


Google sees your research questions already

If you Google "wetlands regulation twinsburg ohio"   or "wetlands twinsburg"  your report on Realneo is the first hit.   If you Google "Cleveland Clinic Twinsburg" your report is the seventh hit.  

You already have good traction - those who are interested, will find your work quickly. 

The web is how to get the public more interactively invovled in wetlands issues - or any issue for that matter.    

Good work!

PS    And Laura, please respond on Realneo - not via private email - because every contribution here on the web contributes to the strengthening of each citizen's clout to influence public policy.   

best, jeff