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Chagrin Scenic River

Originally designated July 2, 1979, and extended on November 10, 2002; 71 total miles:

  • Aurora Branch from St. Rt. 82 bridge downstream to confluence with Chagrin; Chagrin River from confluence with Aurora Branch downstream to St. Rt. 6 bridge; East Branch from Heath Road bridge downstream to confluence with Chagrin (49 miles)
  • Designation extended to include its headwaters in Geauga County, from Woodiebrook Road bridge crossing downstream to the confluence with the Aurora Branch of the Chagrin in Bentleyville (22 miles)

The Chagrin River is located in northeastern Ohio. It is the only scenic river where the majority of its length is within corporation limits. It borders the Cleveland metropolitan area yet has retained its scenic characteristics. The river probably was named for the Indian word for clear water: shagarin.

The Chagrin River's glacial past is evident throughout the watershed. Over the past 12,000 years, the river has progressed from the upland headwater areas to create deep ravines further downstream. There are many areas on the Chagrin River and its numerous tributaries where thick glacial till has eroded, exposing sandstone and Chagrin Shale bedrock.

The river valley offers a diversity of terrestrial and aquatic plant communities and wildlife. Recent surveys of aquatic and breeding birds finds more than 49 species of fish and 90 bird species living in the Chagrin River watershed.

The Chagrin is one of few streams in Ohio known to support the American Brook Lamprey, a nonparasitic lamprey species. Additionally, the designation extension protects Spring Brook, a tributary of Bass Lake, which has continually held a population of the Ohio brook trout since the last ice age. The stream provides the brook trout with a near optimal habitat.
The majority of the river retains its riparian forest cover and adjacent lands are primarily zoned for low density, large lot residential. Local preservation efforts, led by the Chagrin Watershed Partners and the Chagrin River Land Conservancy, continue to aid in permanently protecting the scenic portions of the Chagrin River.

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