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.
This multi-year project was funded through a grant from the Great Lakes Commission awarded in 2011. Funds were provided to work with farmers in the upper areas of the Rocky River Watershed and with streamside property owners in the more urbanized areas of the watershed. The project has provided cost-share funding for agriculture projects in the Mallet Creek and Plum Creek subwatersheds, and bank stabilization in the Baldwin Creek subwatershed, preventing 15,000 tons of sediment from entering the Rocky River over the lifetime of the implemented practices. To date, over 2000 acres of cover crops have been established through the project, and scheduled streambank restoration projects will reduce severe streambank erosion at multiple sites in Baldwin Creek.
Also part of this project, 21 miles of streambank in the Baldwin Creek subwatershed were assessed in 2014 using the Bank Erosion Hazard Index (BEHI) in order to identify primary source areas of streambank erosion and to prioritize potential streambank restoration areas. The results of the assessment suggest that streambank erosion in Baldwin Creek is generating neary 5,500 tons of sediment each year. Cuyahoga SWCD is providing technical assistance and financial incentives to owners of high priority streambank erosion sites.
Riparian Reforestation Reverse Auction
The Rocky River Watershed Council was awarded a $15,000 Lake Erie Protection Fund grant to implement a pilot Riparian Reforestation Reverse Auction project in stream team subwatersheds.
Hinckley Stables Stream Restoration
Cuyahoga SWCD was awarded a Surface Water Improvement Fund (SWIF) grant from Ohio EPA to restore a headcut on a small ephemeral channel at the Cleveland Metroparks' Hinckley Ranger Stables. The project used extensive plantings, log structures, and live branch layering to stabilize the channel at the headcut and reforest the area surrounding the stream. The upstream migration of the headcut was generating 4.5 tons of sediment per year, which was being exported downstream. Preventing this downstream transport of sediment will protect the sensitive downstream headwater stream communities. The project was completed in 2015.
Coe Creek Streambank Restoration and Princess Ledges Storm Water Wetland
Technical assistance and grant writing support were provided to the City of Fairview Park for its Coe Creek Streambank Restoration Project, which was awarded $66,600 from Ohio EPA's Storm Water Improvement Fund (SWIF) grant program. This project addressed a 170 linear foot reach of Coe Creek experiencing accelerated streambank erosion by re-grading the streambank, lowering the floodplain to improve its connection with the stream, and adding riparian vegetation.
Technical assistance and grant writing support were also provided to the Medina County Park District for its Princess Ledges Storm Water Wetland Project, which was awarded $54,879 from Ohio EPA's SWIF grant program. The project will provide wetland habitat and storm water control upstream of a cold water stream community.
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