BEFORE: Prior to restoration, the stream was channelized

(straightened) and had no access to its natural floodplain


South Russell Village Manor Brook Headwater Stream Restoration

AFTER: Facing north, after seedling, mulching, and livestake

installation along the newly restored stream

South Russell Village Manor Brook Headwater Stream Restoration

A stream known locally as Manor Brook flows in a southwesterly direction through South Russell Village before it flows into the North Branch of McFarland Creek and eventually enters the Aurora Branch of the Chagrin River. On common areas west of Chillicothe Road and north of Manor Brook Drive owned by the Whitetail Run Community Association in Geauga County, the stream was facing challenges such as historic straightening of the stream channel, loss of floodplain, flooding, and streambank erosion at the site as well as at downstream areas. To help address these challenges, the Village worked with Chagrin River Watershed Partners and CT Consultants to develop a stream restoration plan and apply for an Ohio EPA Section 319 Grant. The Section 319 Grant was awarded in 2019 and provided $262,528 in federal funding towards the project along with $188,990 in local match provided by the Village. The goals of this project were to help address community stormwater concerns, improve the function of the stream, and provide downstream water quality benefits to McFarland Creek and the Chagrin River.

The restoration design used a “bioengineering approach,” which incorporates hard structures such as rock and also vegetation, which helps stabilize streambank soils and rock as it grows over time. The project added more natural “sinuosity” or curviness to the previously straightened stream channel and reconnected the stream to its natural floodplain. Floodplains are low areas along a stream which allow the stream to spread out, slow down, and soak into the ground during and after flood events. Floodplains are important for dissipating the erosive energy of high flow floodwaters and filtering out pollutants from water. Streambank erosion jeopardizes nearby infrastructure and contributes excessive sediment and pollutants to downstream areas, leading to unhealthy habitat conditions for aquatic life.

The Manor Brook Headwater Stream Restoration Project also included plantings of native trees, shrubs, and wetland plant species in the “riparian” (or “streamside”) corridor. These native plants will help stabilize streambank soils, soak in water, filter out pollutants, and provide cooling shade to the stream as they grow. Trees that were felled to make room for the naturalized stream channel were incorporated into the stream as woody debris and log riffle structures to provide aquatic wildlife habitat and grade control for the stream. The Village selected Mr. Excavator to perform the restoration in Summer 2022 and native vegetation was installed during the preferred dormant season in Fall 2022. Through this project, 1,173 linear feet of stream and floodplain were restored, 1 acre of invasive plants were treated or removed, 1 acre of native riparian plantings were installed, and 1 acre of riparian corridor was protected through an environmental covenant. This project will also reduce sediment and nutrient pollution to the Chagrin River and Lake Erie.

For more information about this project, please contact Kim Brewster Shefelton, Chagrin River Watershed Partners, at 440-975-3870 ext. 1006 or


Funders and Partners 

This project was financed in part or totally through a grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency through an assistance agreement with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. The contents and views, including any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations, contained in this product or publication are those of the authors and have not been subject to any Ohio Environmental Protection Agency or United States Environmental Protection Agency peer or administrative review and may not necessarily reflect the views of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency or the United States Environmental Protection Agency and no official endorsement should be inferred.





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