Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), in partnership with Medina County SWCD, Lorain SWCD and the Rocky River Watershed Council, has been awarded a $400,000 grant from the Great Lakes Commission to reduce sediment loading in the Rocky River Watershed. The three-year project will focus on three target subwatersheds with known sediment issues—Baldwin Creek, Mallet Creek and Plum Creek (the Plum Creek that flows into the West Branch in Olmsted Falls). The Rocky River’s current sediment load of 70,560 tons/year, or 240 tons/year per square mile, is 15 times the estimated background, predevelopment sediment load of 4704 tons/year or 16 tons/year per square mile (Whiting, 2003).
Preliminary modeling suggests that the Mallet Creek subwatershed is the largest per acre contributor of sediment from upland sources in the Rocky River Watershed, while Plum Creek contributes the second largest amount.
In the Mallet and Plum Creek subwatersheds, the project will focus on agricultural lands. Financial incentive will be provided to land users in these areas to implement practices such as vertical and zone tillage, cover crops, grassed water ways, vegetative filter strips and livestock exclusion fencing.
Streambank erosion will be targeted in the Baldwin Creek subwatershed, where the Rocky River Watershed Action Plan recommends stabilizing 7500 lineal feet of streambank. The project goal is to stabilize at least 2500 feet of streambank.
The overall project will reduce sediment entering the watershed by over 18,000 tons over the lifespan of the implemented practices.
A kickoff meeting will be held for teh project on December 15 at 10:00 AM at York Township Hall, located at the intersection of Rt. 18 and Rt. 252.