RECONNECTING BALDWIN CREEK
The Rocky River Watershed Action Plan and various Ohio EPA reports indicated that the fish community in Baldwin Creek is not numerous and diverse enough to meet Clean Water Act standards. By allowing fish from the East Branch of the Rocky River to move freely up the creek and re-populate it, the removal of three low-head dams along the lower 1/2 mile of Baldwin Creek in the City of Berea is the first step to restoring the ecological integrity of Baldwin Creek.
HOW DO YOU REMOVE A DAM ANYWAY?
While it might be fun to imagine lighting a stick of dynamite and tossing it at the foot of the dam, in reality there are a number of limiting factors that, once considered, lead to a less explosive approach, such as a jackhammer attached to the arm of a track hoe.
Furthermore, protecting the existing creek channel and aquatic habitat, maintaining the grade to prevent erosion and streambed scour in the newly dam free creek channel and protecting existing infrastructure such as bridges and underground utilities are just a few aspects of the planning and design that must be taken into consideration.
In order to achieve the projects fish passage and habitat improvement goals, rock fill, large ‘habitat rocks’ and several engineered rock riffle structures were installed at strategic points along the stream channel, including at the former down sites and both upstream and downstream of the Dam 3 site.
The dams were removed and the rock riffle structures were installed in November 2012. Fish sampling activities planned for late spring 2013 are expected to confirm that this section of Baldwin Creek now meets Clean Water Act goals for fish community and habitat. These photos show the project sites after the removal of the three low head dams. Clockwise from the upper left: the Dam 1 site at the Baldwin Creek confluence with the East Branch of the Rocky River; the Dam 2 site at the Berea Water Treatment Plant access drive; one of the new riffles upstream of South Rocky River Drive; and the now dam-free Dam 3 site (as seen from downstream of the South Rocky River Drive bridge).
Watershed restoration, by its very nature, does not occur in a vacuum, nor can it be successful without partnership and collaboration.
This project was implemented by Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation Distrct in partnership with the Rocky River Watershed Council, the City of Berea, Cleveland Metroparks, and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. Additional research and assessment was provided by The University of Akron and Baldwin Wallace University. This project was funded by a Surface Water Improvement subgrant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency under the provisions of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative administered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency—Great Lakes National Program Office. Additional funding was provided by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District through the Ohio EPA—Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program. Design, engineering and construction oversight were provided through a contract with a team led by NTH Consultants, Ltd., and also including Davey Resource Group, The Ohio State University, and KS Associates.