Scajaquada Creek Streambank Restoration for Erosion Control
Erie County, NY

Grantee: Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District
Basin Program Funds: $24,829
Non-federal Funds: $9,214
Project Duration: 07/2002 - 07/2003
Status: complete

Problem Statement
Increased development in the upper Scajaquada Creek Watershed in recent years has led to decreased base flow in the stream with the expansion of sewer districts and increased extent of impervious surfaces. These changes have also brought about higher peak storm flow discharge and subsequently, higher rates of streambank erosion and downstream sedimentation.

The narrow riparian corridor on Scajaquada Creek is one of the few naturally green areas in this densely developed urban watershed. Its value to the quality of life of the residents can be gauged by the efforts of numerous community groups that have shown interest in this natural resource and are utilizing it recreationally through the creation of bike paths and caring for it through locally led cleanup efforts.

In response to citizen concerns about litter and odor problems in the lower reach of Scajaquada Creek, the Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District (the District) received funding from the Erie County Legislature for a two-year project to form the Scajaquada Creek Watershed Advisory Council (SCWAC) and develop a watershed management plan. The Soil and Water Conservation District conducted a physical inspection of the entire creek and its major tributaries in the summer of 2000. Key concerns identified in the inspection were sewer overflows, sediment erosion and deposition, water quality, and wildlife habitat

The overall goal of this project was to reduce sediment inputs to Scajaquada Creek from streambank erosion, and improve water quality and wildlife habitat. Specific activities in the project included:

  • Design a successful bio-technical erosion control method using a combination of rock riprap and vegetative critical area plantings to reduce streambank erosion
  • Install the sediment management practices on priority sites identified in the District stream inspection
  • Educate project site owners on proper streambank maintenance techniques to maintain the installed erosion control practices
  • Improve aquatic and riparian habitat.

Over 250 feet of eroding streambank was stabilized through this project using rock riprap and vegetative plantings for soil stabilization and wildlife habitat. The re-shaped banks also increased the channelís capacity to contain storm flows and reduced risks from flooding. Several non-native invasive plant species (Acer platanoides, Alliaria petiolata, Lonicera sp., Polygonom cuspidatum, etc.) were removed and native or non-invasive species, including Alnus rugosa, Clethra alnifolia, Cornus sericea, Lindera benzoin, Malus sargentii, and Sambucus canadensis were planted along the project reach. The plantings were chosen for fruiting, flowering, cover or other characteristics to provide habitat, as well as vigorous root growth to hold soil in place. An estimated 16.38 tons of soil will be saved annually, and 163.8 lbs of phosphorus and 32.76 lbs of nitrogen will be saved per year. The project improved aquatic habitat for fish and benthic organisms by decreasing stream turbidity and reducing sedimentation.

Contact: Ms. Ellen Ilardo, 716-652-8480


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