Stream restoration in Aurora improves water quality and habitat

Harmon PropertyStream Restoration Monitoring Reports

Impaired Stream on Harmon Property
Adding substrate to reconnect the stream channel to its floodplain
Restored stream channel and floodplain
The City of Aurora received a $478,075 Ohio EPA Section 319 grant in 2011 to restore 3,100 linear feet of stream and floodplain, 2.5 acres of wetland, enhance 4 acres of existing wetland, restore and enhance 17.5 acres of riparian and wetland buffer, and preserve 100 acres of the Harmon Homestead property. Located at the headwaters of both the Aurora Branch of the Chagrin River and the Cuyahoga River watersheds and upstream of Sunny Lake, this property is part of the City’s ongoing efforts to improve the water quality of Sunny Lake and the Aurora Branch of the Chagrin River. Construction began in April 2013. CRWP assisted Aurora with the grant proposal, grant administration, and conceptual plans for restoration on the property.
 
The stream restoration project reconnected the channel with its floodplain and provided better habitat for stream organisms. Streams lose access to their floodplains when levees have been placed along their banks, they have been channelized, or erosion has caused the stream to be enough lower than its banks that the stream channels its force downstream instead of flooding the land along its banks during storms. When streams are connected to their floodplains, they are able to store water on the floodplains during storms, decreasing downstream flooding risk. Streams that can access their floodplains usually have less erosion than those that cannot; thus, this restoration also created a better environment for aquatic organisms. Stream habitat was improved by planting trees along the stream to keep the water cool and provide shelter for fish.
 
Wetlands serve as natural water purifiers for watersheds, encouraging water to slow down so that pollutants can settle out. They also store flood water. In addition, they provide habitat for water birds, amphibians, and fish.
 
This product or publication was financed in part or totally through a grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, under the provisions of Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act. The contents and views, including any opinions, findings, or conclusions or recommendation, contained in this publication are those of the authors and have not been subject to any U.S. EPA or Ohio EPA peer or administrative review and may not necessarily reflect the views of either Agency, and no official endorsement should be inferred.