Kenston Lake Stream Restoration Monitoring Reports and Updates

New Culvert Installation at Kenston Lake Dam
Streambank Stabilization at the Former Kenston Lake
Floodplain Restoration at the Former Kenston Lake

The Kenston Lake dam was built in Bainbridge Township in 1959 and did not meet Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ current dam safety standards. The dam overtopped 3 times between 1969 and 2006 due to the lack of an emergency spillway and an undersized outlet. Kenston Lake Drive, a Township road, is on top of the dam and is the sole access to 12 homes.

Kenston Lake drains to Linton Creek and eventually to the Aurora Branch of the Chagrin River. Both Linton Creek and this portion of the Aurora Branch are coldwater habitat streams that support fish and aquatic bugs that are adapted to cool, groundwater fed streams which maintain constant cool stream temperatures. Over 80% of the stream segments in the Chagrin River watershed are Exceptional Warmwater Habitat (EWH) or Cold Water Habitat (CWH) streams. This is the highest percentage of EWH and CWH tributaries of all the major rivers in northeast Ohio. When lakes are constructed in coldwater streams, they warm the water and impact the coldwater habitat biology downstream.

In October 2006, Bainbridge Township hosted a meeting for Kenston Lake residents where Chagrin River Watershed Partners and Ohio Department of Natural Resources presented on dam safety, maintenance issues, and funding opportunities for dam removal. At the end of this meeting, only a few property owners expressed an interest to repair and maintain the dam. In 2008, the Township received a $294,900 grant to remove the dam and restore the stream. This project included the cooperation of 4 dam owners, 2 of whom did not have lake access, and 10 lake property owners. The dam was removed in late 2010 by drilling a new culvert at the toe of the dam to convert the lake back into a stream. Bainbridge Township contracted with EnviroScience, GPD Group, and RiverReach Construction to design and construct the stream restoration. 1,600 linear feet of stream were restored in the former lake bed in 2011 through floodplain excavation, riffle construction, stream bank stabilization and planting approximately 600 trees and shrubs in the riparian corridor. This restoration removed a hazardous dam and provides a stable stream with a forested riparian corridor. The former lake bed contains a number of springs that create wetlands. The wetlands and stream provide flood control, erosion control, wildlife habitat, and restores a coldwater source to the downstream coldwater habitats of Linton Creek and the Aurora Branch of the Chagrin River.

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.