Cascade Creek Sedimentation Control and Educational Project

Grantee: Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park
Basin Program Funds: $24,775
Non-federal Funds: $15,325
Project Duration: 07/1999 - 09/2000
Status: complete

Problem Statement
Cascade Creek is an urban stream experiencing streambank erosion and sedimentation in many places where vegetation is minimal. A portion of the stream running through an arboretum provides a unique opportunity for visitors to learn about the relationship between vegetation and water quality.

Project Photo 1: Click to see full view

Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park is an outdoor classroom, using trees for all types of education, including the sciences and environmental education. Running through Frontier Park is Cascade Creek, an urban stream that is strongly influenced by stormwater flows. Although urban sediments contaminate the stream, the water quality is good enough to support annual stocking of trout and runs of steelhead trout for breeding. However, the stream is in need of additional trees for shading to enhance the stream ecology and increase the root mat, providing streambank stability and filtering of nutrients. This project seeks to improve the water quality of Cascade Creek as it runs through Frontier Park and to provide an educational opportunity to learn about the relationship between vegetation and water quality. The quality of water and sediments in Cascade Creek have special significance as they directly affect the water quality of Presque Isle Bay, a designated Area of Concern (AOC).

Additionally, this project will provide education regarding the importance of trees in riparian buffer zones by creating informational stations that demonstrate the relationship between plant material and water quality for visitors. The selection and availability of the types of trees that will grow streamside and in floodplains will be helpful as a demonstration project and each of the types of trees will be labeled.

Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park (LEAF) solicited volunteers from various landscape companies to plant 183 trees along Cascade Creek. LEAF staff designed, constructed and installed information stations along the creek that describe the riparian buffer and the positive effects it has on a water system as well as identification labels for the newly planted trees. LEAF also designed and purchased a nature center display. To facilitate dissemination of project information, LEAF updated their website to include photos, illustrations and text describing the riparian buffer system.

Project Photo 2: Click to see full view

LEAF has provided three different sources by which the community can gain knowledge as to the importance of minimizing the effect of sediments on the Great Lakes through the existence of a riparian buffer zone; a nature center display, a web site and informational stations located throughout the park. LEAF conducted an Arbor Day Celebration and a LEAF festival in which 400 students and visitors learned about the importance of trees to the environment and/or enjoyed the newly placed amenities in the park.

As a result of this project, thousands of community members who visit the park, read the signs and/or visit the Nature Center will be made aware of the importance of trees in controling soil erosion and sedimentation. The riparian buffer will help improve water quality in the creek and provide improved habitat for birds, fish and other aquatic life.

Contact: Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park, (814) 825-3253


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