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Get the facts about Horseshoe Lake

Aerial map of Horseshoe and Lower Lakes in Shaker Heights

Regional stormwater management and the future of Horseshoe Lake, Lower Lake, and their dams


Horseshoe Lake Dam is more than 170 years old and stretches all the way from North Park Boulevard to South Park Boulevard, approximately 615 feet in length. It is an “earthen” dam and the stone portion visitors see is just the spillway, or the area where water is supposed to exit the Horseshoe Lake in a safe manner.

Over the years, Shaker Heights and Cleveland Heights have completed some minor repairs but the major problems are related to the age of the originally constructed dam. Seepage through the earthen dam and masonry joints, cracking in the masonry and sinkholes indicate the dam is unstable and deteriorating.

The dams are the communities’ responsibility. And since neither dam is in compliance with the State of Ohio Regulations pertaining to dam safety, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, who oversees the Dam Safety Program, has ordered the Cities of Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights to resolve these critical dam problems.

Our Regional Stormwater Management Program’s “Chagrin and Lake Erie Tributaries Stormwater Master Plan” included an assessment of both Horseshoe and Lower Lakes since they are on our regional stormwater system. That master plan identified notable flood control benefits at Lower Lake. The same cannot be said for Horseshoe Lake: flood control benefits were insignificant because it has a much smaller drainage area flowing into Horseshoe Lake from upstream via the north branch tributary of Doan Brook.

Since June 2021, we have presented several scenarios publicly and to the cities of Shaker Heights and Cleveland Heights about these lakes, dams, risks, opportunities, and our recommendations. These resources are available below.


August 9, 2021

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District presented its Regional Stormwater Management Program report on Horseshoe Lake, Lower Lake, and their dams to Shaker Heights City Council and the Cleveland Heights Council Committee of the Whole.

June 15, 2021

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District presented its Regional Stormwater Management Program report on Horseshoe Lake, Lower Lake, and their dams. The public meeting was hosted via Zoom Tuesday, June 15 at 6:30 p.m. and is available below.

Stay up to date on this project

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Shaker Lakes FAQ: Doan Brook restoration near Horseshoe Lake Park

Press release: Sewer District presenting Shaker Lakes findings and recommendations at public meeting on June 15

Slide deck: Shaker Lakes findings and recommendations, June 15 2021 public meeting