In 2015, Chagrin River Watershed Partners (CRWP) partnered with the Village of Hunting Valley to conduct a site visit on the mainstem of the Chagrin River in the Village of Hunting Valley. An area of streambank along a bend was significantly eroding and contributing sediment to the Chagrin River. The Village and private landowners also had safety concerns related to failing infrastructure including a stormwater pipe and road adjacent to the river. 

CRWP gathered information about the project and worked with the Village to prepare a Section 319(h) grant program application to stabilize this section of river. The application and conceptual approach, submitted to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in August of 2015, proposed the installation of approximately six bendway weirs that were to function as erosion and sediment control structures to redirect the river thalweg toward the center of the channel in an effort to reduce the velocity and concentration of flow against the streambank and minimize future erosion. In September 2016, the Ohio EPA notified the Village that their project was chosen for funding with a total budget of $405,500 available from federal and local sources. The grant deliverables included the stabilization of 500 linear feet of streambank and restoration of 1 acre of riparian forest. Click here for fact sheet.
Plan credit: Biohabitats, Inc. (© Biohabitats,Inc.)
CRWP assisted the Village in preparing work access agreements with the private landowners and drafted a Request for Proposals that was released in January 2018. After reviewing bids from consultants, the Village selected an innovative approach proposed by Meadville Land Service and Biohabitats utilizing large woody debris and native plants to stabilize the eroding streambank, rather than the proposed bendway weir approach. 

After onsite mobilization and cutting an access path into the base of the slope, construction on the project began on July 9, 2018. A turbidity curtain was placed within the river channel to minimize the amount of sediment entering the river during construction.


The Village and CRWP hosted two onsite tours for local natural resource professionals on July 11, 2018 to showcase how this project would take shape over the construction timeline. Approximately 40 individuals attended the tours from a wide range of organizations through Northeast Ohio.
Photo provided by Biohabitats, Inc. (© Biohabitats,Inc.) Photo provided by Biohabitats, Inc. (© Biohabitats,Inc.)
Photo provided by Biohabitats, Inc. (© Biohabitats,Inc.)  

The construction crew began excavating the toe for the placement of the rootwads with ballast boulders and rock to aid in the stabilization of the rootwads as well as to provide a base for the soil lifts to be installed on top. Sand bags were utilized as extra stabilization prior to the regrading of the streambank for periods of high flow.

Working from the downstream project area to the upstream end allowed the crew to properly place materials and avoid further disturbance as the other rootwads were installed. After the rootwads and stone were installed along the length of the stabilization area and tied into a gravel bar on the upstream end, the crew began to install the two layers of soil lifts with two layers of live branch layering composed of native dogwood and willow species. With the soil lifts in place, regrading of the slope began.

Once the streambanks were graded to the proper slope, erosion control matting was installed and the site was seeded with a riparian buffer seed mix. 

With the erosion control matting in place, the construction finished on the week of 8/20/18. The crew returned in early October to plant the container tree and shrub species and install the remainder of the native seed as necessary. 

This project is estimated to prevent approximately 207 tons of sediment, 413 pounds of nitrogen, and 207 pounds of phosphorous from entering the Chagrin River annually. Improved floodplain access will aid in the reduction of flooding downstream and the additional wildlife habitat provided by the rootwads will enhance recreational and educational opportunities on the river. As the live branch layering continues to grow the structure will become stronger and more resilient to floodwaters. 

Funding for this project was made available through the Ohio EPA Section 319(h) grant program and local match was provided by the private landowners’ homeowners association.