Streambank Stabilization for Ohio AOC's
Cuyahoga, Black, and Maumee AOC's, OH

Grantee: Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
Basin Program Funds: $10,912
Non-federal Funds: $60,229
Project Duration: 04/1995 - 06/1996
Status: complete

Problem Statement
There is a need in Ohio's Areas of Concern (AOCs) for expertise to target, design, and implement streambank stabilization and habitat restoration projects. Skilled resource people can be found in a variety of government agencies, academic institutions and the private sector. However, it is often difficult to assemble the cross section of skills necessary to plan and design these projects. The project utilized the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) multi-disciplinary Stream Team approach as a basis for building a larger network of cooperators in the region. In addition to the RAP community, other groups interested in water quality improvements through erosion control benefited from the experience and information exchange which resulted from the project.

Naturally stabilizing an eroded streambank

The goal of the project was to strengthen sediment reduction efforts in the Lake Erie basin by establishing a protocol and a regional/state pool of expertise for strategically implementing streambank and habitat restoration projects in Ohio AOCs. The protocol facilitated the strategic and skilled implementation of Remedial Action Plan (RAP) recommendations for streambank stabilization and habitat restoration. The protocol and expertise pool were developed as demonstration projects designed and installed in three of Ohio's four AOCs. Installation was followed by a workshop for the RAP committees and other Lake Erie basin groups to promote the use of the interdisciplinary process and stabilization techniques.

A core team of three Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) staff and seven ODNR staff assembled and drafted a guidance document for stream habitat restoration, which included criteria for setting priorities on stabilization/enhancement projects. Agreements were reached with four landowners to construct, maintain, and evaluate biotechnical projects and to conduct guided tours at pre-arranged times. The landowners agreed to long term (minimum ten years) maintenance on the projects.

Project teams and volunteers, ranging from 20 to 40 people, from the Cuyahoga, Black, and Maumee RAPs constructed 4 biotechnical projects at the following sites: restoration of 200 linear feet at Swan Creek Metro Park (Maumee AOC); restoration of 102 linear feet at Tinkers Creek in a Cleveland Electric and Illuminating right-of-way (Cuyahoga AOC); and restoration of 507 linear feet bordering Indian Hollow Lake Golf Course and Black River Reservation (Black River AOC). The teams involved professionals and volunteers from federal, state, and local agencies, private companies, and non-profit organizations. A total of 809 linear feet of streambank were restored.

The projects will be evaluated annually by the Ohio DNR and Ohio EPA during spring high flow and autumn low flow periods to ensure stability and determine maintenance needs. The landowners will also submit a report annually to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (copying ODNR and OEPA) outlining the revetment condition and any maintenance performed.

A partially stabilized bank

The restored sites have been cataloged in a file of biotechnical projects constructed in the state. The file is housed at the Ohio DNR, Division of Water. The information is being used to develop a Stream Management Guide fact sheet that will identify each project's location, elements, and a contact person for site visits. Two stream management guides were produced and printed, and illustrations for evergreen revetment and fascine construction fact sheets were created. The equipment purchased to conduct site restorations is available for use on future biotechnical work in the RAP areas and the Lake Erie basin. Two kits of equipment are housed at the Ohio EPA Northeast District Office for primary use by the Cuyahoga, Black and Ashtabula RAP communities. One kit is housed at the Ohio EPA Northwest District Office for primary use with the Maumee RAP, and one kit is housed at the ODNR Division of Water for use by ODNR staff-supported projects, primarily in the Ohio River Basin.

The construction training sessions created a high level of enthusiasm and feeling of accomplishment for the RAP workgroup members. Several of the local newspapers covered the projects, including the Toledo Blade (circulation of 332,943), Elyria Ohio's Chronicle-Telegram (circulation of 56,746), and two articles in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (circulation of 505,616), bringing the message of erosion reduction and habitat restoration to a large audience. Many workgroup members and other participants are now comfortable with the concepts and are planning additional projects. Landowners have approached participants about applying these practices on their land, and the Black and Cuyahoga RAPs are moving toward more comprehensive habitat restoration strategies and landowner partnerships.

Although the demonstrations will result in reduced rates of soil loss at the four remediated sites (809 linear feet in total), the net effect for the watersheds will be minimal. The successes of this project were providing the skills necessary to reproduce the installation of biotechnical practices and producing an understanding of where future efforts can be most beneficial considering the modified hydrology of these watersheds.

Contact: Margo Fulmer, (419) 399-4771


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