Cazenovia Creek Streambank Stabilization – Joint Board 27L
Erie and Wyoming County, NY

Grantee: Erie County Soil & Water Conservation District
Basin Program Funds: $15,000
Non-federal Funds: $6,061
Project Duration: 07/2003 - 11/2004
Status: complete

Problem Statement
Approximately 300 feet of streambank at the outside bend of a meander on Cazenovia Creek is severely eroding. This erosion is occurring at the downstream end of Erie and Wyoming County Joint Board project site 27 - L. A large gravel bar has accumulated on the opposite bank that directs water towards the eroding bank.

The Erie and Wyoming County Joint Board annually inspect and maintain 57 miles of streambank in the Buffalo Creek Watershed. The Erie and Wyoming Counties Joint Watershed Board of Directors was named the local sponsor for the Buffalo Creek Watershed Protection Project under the authority of the Flood Control Act of 1944. The demonstration projects involved construction of over 300 streambank stabilization projects on 57 miles of streambank in the Buffalo Creek Watershed - including Buffalo Creek, Cayuga Creek and Cazenovia Creek. The result was a 25% reduction in dredging costs in the Buffalo Harbor. All projects were completed in the early 1960’s and many are in need of serious repair. The annual appropriation to inspect and maintain these sites is approximately $10,000. The annual maintenance costs were estimated in the late 1950’s as $15,000 and today would exceed $100,000 in construction costs alone. To economize, bioengineering techniques are utilized including stream barbs, weirs and plantings to rehabilitate the maximum amount of streambank.

Cazenovia Creek has a drainage area of 135 square miles and joins the Buffalo River within the designated Area of Concern (AOC) identified in the Lake Erie Management Plan. The Buffalo River joins Lake Erie near the mouth of the Niagara River. The Buffalo River Remedial Action Plan strategy has been developed with goals of remediation of bottom sediments, continue on-going programs to manage nonpoint source pollution and to improve fish and wildlife habitat. The Lake Erie Management Plan acknowledges that sediment is impairing 5 of 14 beneficial uses of the stream including restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption and dredging activities. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation 1996 Priority Water bodies List (segment ID 0103-0009) designates the West Branch of Cazenovia Creek as a class B stream with a primary use in fish propagation which is stressed by sediments from streambank erosion. Cazenovia Creek is also listed as a high priority stream in the Erie County Water Quality Coordinating Committee’s Water Quality Strategy.

The project design, drawings, and construction specifications were completed by Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District personnel and approved by USDA-NRCS. A site showing was held for qualified contractors and the project was let to the lowest bidder. Construction took place and district staff was present for inspection. Heavy construction included repair to 120 feet of rock from the original joint board project, installation of root wads, and reshaping of the channel. An as-built survey was conducted and the project site was evaluated. Plant materials were installed above the rock and root wads to complete the project. The site will be monitored annually by district staff.

The project will result in improved fish and wildlife habitat and sediment reduction while improving stream aesthetics. Several objectives of the Buffalo River Remedial Action Plan will be met, including: remediation of bottom sediments, improvement of stream water quality, remediation of nonpoint source pollution and restoration of fish and wildlife habitat. The implementation of this project will facilitate design of another scheduled project, Joint Board 28R, that is immediately downstream.

The project involved shaping a new channel by moving a large (1000 cubic yard) gravel bar onto the eroded left bank. The stream thalweg was relocated at the new toe (approximately 50 feet south) over a distance of 300 linear feet. The side slopes were planted with live fascines and live stakes of streamco willows and/or red osier dogwoods. The top portions of the bank were planted with a rye/fescue seed mix which will serve as a filter to the stream. This design will concentrate the stream and ice stresses at the toe of bank as proven by NRCS Technical Note 26 Tractive Stress Stability and Design.

Contact: Mr. Mark Gaston, 716-652-8480


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