Chagrin River Sediment and Erosion Management Guide
Chagrin River, OH

Grantee: Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Inc.
Basin Program Funds: $10,485
Non-federal Funds: $4,424
Project Duration: 07/1999 - 08/2000
Status: complete

Problem Statement
Land-use changes and practices are altering the hydrologic regime in Ohio's Chagrin River watershed. The principal causes are increased impervious surfaces, removal or alteration of natural vegetation, and changes in land-use activities. These changes have resulted in more frequent bank-full events in all parts of the watershed, leading to greater streambank erosion and sedimentation and increasing the sediment load to Lake Erie. Trees and woody debris are carried downstream where they jam, forcing more frequent channel clearing. Altered low flow conditions and sedimentation degrade critically important spawning habitat for walleye, steelhead and other species. Increased siltation reduces recreational opportunities and increases the cost of dredging to maintain recreational boating facilities.

The impact of erosion and sedimentation leads to short and long-term ecological and economic costs that are borne by local governments and citizens in the watershed. These trends are expected to continue with ongoing out-migration from the Cleveland metropolitan area.

Confluence of clear and sediment laden streams.

In 1996, in response to the erosion and sedimentation problems in the watershed, many local governments came together to form a nonprofit organization, the Chagrin River Watershed Partners (CRWP). The CRWP's goal is to preserve and enhance the river and its watershed as a high quality natural resource, while also minimizing future costs for maintaining watershed infrastructure. The organization is funded by local governments, the Gund Foundation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

CRWP staff are developing a variety of tools for member communities to address erosion and sedimentation. These tools include model ordinances that address the range of areas where erosion and sedimentation can be controlled. The partners have noted some institutional barriers to implementing these best management practices. This inspired CRWP personnel to propose an erosion control guide that raises awareness among both decisionmakers and watershed residents of the causes and costs of erosion and sedimentation. The guide is building stakeholder support for implementing cost-effective best management practices.

A five member Technical Advisory Group (TAG) has been established, composed of representatives from soil and water conservation districts, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service and a CRWP member community. TAG members advised CRWP on the content of the watershed guide and reviewed the final product for accuracy and completeness. The guide was also reviewed by other Ohio Department of Natural Resources personnel, as well as CRWP's executive committee.

The final product, The Chagrin River Watershed User Manual, has easy to read text, as well as photographs and diagrams that help the reader explore four questions: What should I know about the Chagrin River watershed? What problems accompany land-use change? What are some solutions? How can I get more information?

CRWP personnel distributed The Chagrin River Watershed User Manual widely throughout the watershed. Recipients include the CRWP Board of Trustees, the mayors, councils and presidents of township trustees in all communities in the watershed; and other municipal officials with responsibilities related to erosion and sedimentation control. The guide was also provided to planning and zoning commissions; planning and engineering firms serving CRWP members; state and federal legislators in the watershed; and all other local, state and federal agencies working in the watershed. Finally, organizations with an interest in the watershed, such as the Ohio Homebuilders Association, EcoCity Cleveland, the Cleveland Audubon Society, the Chagrin River Land Conservancy, and many others, also received the watershed manual. Additional copies will be distributed at CRWP presentations and workshops and sent out to any agency, especially soil and water conservation districts, upon request.

Contact: Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells, (440) 975-3870


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