Stream restoration project offers lessons for success

Although stream restoration projects can be challenging, the proponents of the successful restoration of a tributary of Tinker’s Creek in the city of Hudson offered a few lessons.

Paul Kovalcik, senior environmental scientist at Biohabitats, Inc. and J. Meiring Borcherds, watershed coordinator at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, talked about the tributary project at the Great Lakes Restoration Conference on Tuesday.

Among their advice:

  • Work with stakeholders to understand their goals and objectives.
  • Never stop trying to find additional funding to improve the project.

The tributary to Tinker’s Creek before restoration work. It had been channelized and disconnected from its floodplain. Restoration work will improve water quality and reduce sedimentation (Photo: Biohabitats, Inc.).

In the case of the project in the Tinker’s Creek watershed, about 2,000 feet of a tributary on the grounds of Hudson High School was restored to a more natural hydrology to improve ecosystem functioning. The tributary had been straightened years ago. Meeting a concern of the city, the tributary was reconnected to a floodplain area that can meet the city’s stormwater goals. And working with the school, the project provides space for an outdoor learning area. Students participated in the design of the project and will continue to be involved in monitoring its performance.

“Projects that achieve multiple goals are challenging but they can be the most successful over time,” said Kovalcik.

 

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