Cuyahoga River Restoration

(Cuyahoga River Community Planning)

Restoring, revitalizing and protecting the Cuyahoga River watershed

We've got way too much paved impervious surface.

It's making our cities flood and our streams unhealthy.

We're doing something about it.

If you know of a place that needs a little less pavement and a little more green space, please let us know by emailing the location to

Impervious surface covering our watersheds is the most widespread obstacle to restoring water quality in rivers and streams, and has significant negative effect on our ability to restore and protect Lake Erie.

Aside from increasing runoff volume, parking lots contribute nutrient and chemical loading and contaminants from road salt, degraded asphalt, worn tire treads, automotive fluids, fertilizer, and herbicides. 31% of the land in Cuyahoga County alone is covered in impervious surface. Parking lots represent 14% of that total. The Center for Watershed Protection sets 25% impervious as the level above which serious damage to water quality is seen. If we could convert half of that 14% to absorptive greenspace, we could reach the point where we begin to protect rather than damage water quality, air quality, and human health.

It's not only a problem in urban areas, it stretches through suburban and exurban land as well. Opportunities to shrink paved areas abound wherever businesses have more parking lot than they need, or where abandoned lots in urban neighborhoods have disintegrated into particles of asphalt that wash into storm drains. It degrades water quality and lessens the chance for aquatic life to thrive.

Some green infrastructure provides stormwater storage on areas that are already green, or is built to slow rather than prevent runoff at the source. Rain gardens are often placed on greenspaces where infiltration is already happening. Bioswales are built to receive runoff but send the bulk of it down the drain.

The most effective way to reduce the effect of impervious surfaces is to remove the cause - depave the impervious surfaces altogether and replace them with naturalized areas.

DepaveNEO focuses specifically on removing areas of parking lot to reduce the source of runoff.

Sewer districts and wastewater management departments do a limited number of big projects to reduce combined sewer overflow that results when grey infrastructure - pipes - are overloaded in heavy rains.

DepaveNEO is designed to create hundreds of smaller permeable surface areas, distributed throughout watersheds, to infiltrate more stormwater and snowmelt right where the runoff begins.



Contact Jane at 216-241-2414 x110, or email with
the location:

Street address or GPS coordinates

Anything you know about the property - owner name and contact, for example.

If you'd like to get started with your own crew, click the image to download our helpful guide:

DepaveNEO and Cuyahoga ReLeaf.

We're eternally grateful to the volunteers who braved the rain, wind, and snow to remove more than 5,000 square feet of impervious parking lot and plant new trees to manage stormwater, send clean filtered water into our streams,
river, and lake, and increase the watershed's forest canopy.

Thanks to the CWRU fraternity brothers for depaving at Community Greenhouse Partners!

And thanks to the Enterprise Rent-a-Car Foundation, the amazing Enterprise volunteers, and the Arbor Day Foundation, for helping us Reforest the Forest City
by funding the depaving, planting fruit trees, and giving away 160 trees in Cleveland's Hough neighborhood.

Thanks to Morning Star Baptist Church and the 62 incredible volunteers who depaved a piece of the parking lot in Buckeye-Woodland and planted dozens of beautiful trees and shrubs, with funding provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF.)

DepaveNEO thanks our mentors at in Portland, Oregon for putting us on the path to paradise.


Check out their website and see where it all began!


Cuyahoga River Restoration

c/o Cuyahoga River Community Planning
1299 Superior Ave. E • Cleveland, OH 44114
216-241-2414 •