About Tinker’s Creek Watershed Partners
Tinker’s Creek is named after Joseph Tinker, the principal boatman for Moses Cleaveland’s survey crew, who died in a boating accident on a return trip to New England. The steepness and rockiness of the Tinker’s Creek gorge, now a part of the Cleveland Metroparks Bedford Reservation, made much of the land along the creek bed inaccessible for homes and farming, securing its preservation as a natural area. Tinker’s Creek is the largest tributary of the Cuyahoga River, draining parts of 24 different political jurisdictions, spanning Portage, Geauga, Summit, and Cuyahoga counties. Tinker’s Creek has a drainage area of 96.4 square miles and a total length of about 30 miles. It enters the Cuyahoga River at river mile 16.36.
The watershed lies on a glaciated plateau. Soils are mostly silt loam and clayey silt loam. Wetland swamps, bogs, and fens are common in the upper watershed. Flows in the lower section of the creek are highly influenced by the discharge of treated wastewater from upstream wastewater treatment plants; in 1991 the combined effluent had a median discharge of 11.623 mgd or 17.9 cubic feet per second. Portions of the stream are on bedrock and form waterfalls which are a natural barrier to fish passage. The lower portions of the stream have formed the Tinker’s Creek Gorge, which is a National Natural Landmark.
Recent acquisitions in the basin by MetroParks Serving Summit County and the Cleveland Metroparks have increased the amount of protected watershed in the basin. Many local communities are also involved in protecting and acquiring parkland in the basin. (Ohio EPA, Lower Cuyahoga TMDL).
Tinker’s Creek History
Tinker’s Creek Watershed Partners (TCWP) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) watershed organization officially established in 2006. Our mission is to protect and restore water quality and habitats of the Tinker’s Creek and Brandywine Creek watersheds through community partnerships. Tinker’s Creek watershed drains 96.4 square miles and is the largest tributary to the Cuyahoga River. The watershed area spans 24 communities in Cuyahoga, Summit, Portage and Geauga counties.
TCWP is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors who bring a variety of expertise in the fields of stormwater management, environmental education, engineering, natural resources conservation, planning, law, economic development and other areas. TCWP is guided in their efforts to protect and restore the watershed and educate the public by four Ohio and U.S. EPA-endorsed non-point source implementation strategic plans (NPS-IS Plans). Each plan encompasses a subset of the Tinker’s Creek watershed and Brandywine Creek watershed. They can be found under the Information tab.
TCWP’s work is aligned with a 5-year strategic plan focused on the following objectives:
- Implement initiatives to improve watershed health.
- Drive watershed-based education/outreach and act as a community engagement hub.
- Facilitate private and public collaboration to support the development and implementation of our fundraising strategy.
- Develop and implement a targeted marketing and communications strategy.
- Align internal structures and capacities with our mission and fiscal goals.
E-mail: [email protected]
Board of Directors
Board Members Emeritus:
Justin Czekaj, Stacey Faile, Charlie Uray and Chris Vild
Erica Matheny, PhD, Executive Director
Dr. Matheny is the Executive Director of Tinker’s Creek Watershed Partners (TCWP). In this role, she leads the organization’s vision and mission, oversees operations, finances, and programs, and serves as a liaison between the board and staff.
With over 15 years of experience teaching and researching urban and environmental studies and science at prestigious institutions such as Cleveland State University, Hiram College, Stark State College, Lorain County Community College, and Lakeland Community College, Erica brings a wealth of expertise to TCWP. Prior to joining TCWP, she spent 4 ½ years at the National Inventors Hall of Fame®, where she conducted impactful research, developed national STEM programs, chaired the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee, and led sustainability efforts resulting in an impressive 80% reduction in single-use plastic materials used by over 200,000 program participants.
Erica holds a PhD in Urban Studies and Public Administration with a concentration in environmental issues, a Master’s degree in Ecology, and a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Committed to equity and environmental justice, she recently completed certification in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace from the University of South Florida.
Outside of work, Erica enjoys hiking, kayaking, and traveling with her family and their two dogs.
Alyssa Mills, Watershed Educator & Coordinator
Alyssa brings her passion for environmental education to Tinker’s Creek Watershed Partners as the Watershed Educator and Coordinator. Prior to joining TCWP, Alyssa served as a naturalist at the Watershed Stewardship Center and Rocky River Nature Center within Cleveland Metroparks. Previously, she worked as a Refugee and Asylee ESL Training Specialist at Cuyahoga Community College.
Alyssa holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with a focus on Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology (EEOB) from the Ohio State University. Currently, she is pursuing a Master of Science degree in Plant Health Management, also from Ohio State.
Outside of her professional pursuits, Alyssa enjoys spending time outdoors, connecting with nature, and engaging in environmental stewardship activities.
Angela Brodie, NOWCorps Program Director
Angela Brodie joins the Tinker’s Creek Watershed Partners as the Program Director for the Northern Ohio Watershed Corps (NOWCorps) AmeriCorps program. With a background as an AmeriCorps alum and former Associate Director of AmeriCorps State and National programs, Angela brings extensive experience in AmeriCorps program management. Her expertise encompasses grant management, community development, education, and training.
Angela holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts degree in Communication from The University of Akron. She has also served as adjunct faculty at both The University of Akron and Kent State University.
Outside of her professional commitments, Angela finds joy in traveling, gardening, hiking, and spending quality time with her family.
Claire Ilersich, NOWCorps Member Coordinator
Claire Ilersich serves as the NOWCorps (AmeriCorps) Member Coordinator at Tinker’s Creek Watershed Partners. Graduating from the College of Wooster with a degree in art history and philosophy, Claire embarked on a year and a half-long journey with AmeriCorps. During this time, she contributed to trail and environmental restoration projects across California, Colorado, and Washington state. Drawing from her rich experiences, Claire is adept at guiding current and future NOWCorps members in their service.
Continuing her dedication to environmental causes, Claire actively seeks to deepen her understanding of the issues affecting Northeast Ohio. Outside of her professional pursuits, she finds solace in knitting, cycling, and surfing whenever the opportunity arises.
Chief Mousing Officer
Kraken, a proud adoptee from the Cleveland APL, plays a crucial role within the Tinker’s Creek Watershed Partners team as the guardian of Creek and Catnip. Her loyalty to stormwater management and role as sidekick to the Stormwater Monster are legendary. She enjoys mousing around and kicking back in pools of sunshine in her time off.