Streamside Vegetation for Education
Aurora, OH

Grantee: Ohio Lake Management Society
Basin Program Funds: $27,173
Non-federal Funds: $23,100
Project Duration: 07/2003 - 01/2006
Status: complete

Problem Statement
The sediment loading problem in the Pond Brook watershed is the result of soil erosion, wetland depletion, loss of riparian zones, and urban runoff. The sources of this sediment in the watershed are residential subdivisions, a new retail development near the Six Flags theme park in Aurora, Ohio, and poor shoreline practices by the watershed residents.

Pond Brook is a 4.8-mile stream that drains an area of 16.53 square miles (10,579 acres) of headwaters into Tinkers Creek, the largest tributary to the Cuyahoga River. Tinkers Creek and Pond Brook are both listed by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as non-attaining warm water habitats. Much work has been done to improve Cuyahoga River tributaries, but Tinkers Creek still remains in poor quality. Land use in the Pond Brook watershed includes commercial, recreational, and residential. The watershed is home to Six Flags of Ohio, three golf courses and a major new retail development, in addition to many large residential subdivisions, some currently under construction. Pond Brook exhibits many of the “classic” symptoms of impairment caused by the urbanized watershed. Stream flows are great during rain events, with minimal flow during dry periods. During high flow periods, the turbidity of the Pond Brook is substantially impaired, requiring significant time to return to normal transparency. The sediment observed is so fine that it remains suspended in the water column. Long-time lake residents have seen a switch from a macrophyte-dominated system to blue-green algae, which could be the result of increased suspended solids shading out sunlight. Regular monitoring at eight sites throughout the watershed by the Aurora Lake Association, in concert with the Citizen Lake Awareness and Monitoring (CLAM) and AQUA DOC, Inc., has confirmed high nutrient and sediment loading during periods of high flow.

On this project the Ohio Lake Management Society (OLMS) partnered with the Portage, Summit and Cuyahoga Counties Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) offices and other agencies to achieve the following goals and objectives:

  • Initiate environmentally friendly land-use practices to reduce soil erosion: Install vegetation exhibits at two streamside properties to stabilize stream banks and display conservation landscapes.
  • Raise citizen awareness on non-point source pollution prevention: Conduct three workshops using the vegetation exhibits as a visual aid. Distribute to 6000 residents in the watershed an educational brochure produced by the Cuyahoga RAP. Announce project milestones with five press releases in the Plain Dealer newspaper and several more articles in appropriate newsletters. Hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to highlight the successful completion of the educational vegetation exhibits.
  • Increase citizen involvement in the Pond Brook watershed: Increase membership by 50 people to the Pond Brook Watershed Initiative. Enlist 15 volunteers to assist with the vegetation planting. Recruit and train five new volunteers to monitor Pond Brook. Influence three residents and one business to adopt best management practices by adding an environmentally friendly landscape to their property.
  • Results
    A total of 700 linear feet of stream shoreline has been replanted with native vegetation at the front entrance to Aurora Shores Homeowners Association. This was a high visibility site with shoreline erosion, and the homeowners association assisted the project financially. Several native plants were used in the project and the association is in charge of watering the area. Prairie seeds were purchase and will be planted as a dormant seeding November 2005 to cover areas where growth preventing fabrics were used.

    Three workshops were conducted but only a total of 2 people attend that were not a partner in the grant. About 4,000 four-page full color brochures were printed and mailed to the local citizens with an advertisement for the ribbon cutting ceremony. Five press releases were used in the local papers. The ribbon cutting was held at the project site (Aurora Shores Homeowners Association) but only partners and their family showed up. No new members have been added to the Pond Brook Watershed Initiative (PBWI) to date. No new volunteers from Citizen Lake Awareness and Monitoring (CLAM) program were added. One CLAM volunteer was involved in the project and was of great assistance.

    Contact: Mr. Matthew Smith, 330-672-5475


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