March 14 - Today, Cleveland Metroparks Board of Park Commissioners approved the acquisition of two new, crucial wetland properties to the Emerald Necklace. The properties, an undeveloped, 26-acre parcel on Engle Road in Middleburg Heights is adjacent to the Lake-to-Lake Trail and the 20-acre "Heron Rookery Wetland" in North Royalton which is along the East Branch of the Rocky River, enhance Cleveland Metroparks comprehensive ecosystem mission of conservation. Now a part of Big Creek Reservation, the 26-acre Engle Road property contains a portion of wetlands, tributary streams and an upland area which all connect to the wetlands surrounding the 2.4-mile Lake-to-Lake Trail. As a whole, these wetlands represent the largest and last remaining glacial pothole wetlands in Cuyahoga County. "This acquisition serves as a vital puzzle-piece in the wetland landscape, helping to complete the ecosystem surrounding the Lake-to-Lake Trail and solidifies the involvement of Cleveland Metroparks in the stewardship of the Rocky River." said Brian Zimmerman, CEO of Cleveland Metroparks. The "Heron Rookery Wetland," along the East Branch of the Rocky River, was acquired as a conservation easement with financial assistance from the Water Resource Restoration Sponsorship Program (WRRSP), and is now part of Mill Stream Run Reservation. The 20-acre property, adjacent to an existing 88-acre Cleveland Metroparks property and a 70-acre Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District's conservation easement, will create a core natural resource reserve of 207-acres. This core focuses on the "Heron Rookery Wetland" complex, a Category 3 wetland and the second largest wetland complex in the East Branch Rocky River corridor. "This collaboration is not only good for the community, but also ensures the long-term ecosystem integrity of the river and surrounding areas." said Mayor Robert Stefanik of the City of North Royalton. The project is part of Cleveland Metroparks larger preservation initiative along the entire length of the East Branch of the Rocky River, from its headwaters to its confluence with the West Branch of the Rocky River.