America’s Great Outdoors River Model Project Completed
BY ANDREA ANIA, ALPENA FWCO
The Sulphur Springs Assessment and Restoration project restored 400 linear feet of stream and 0.5 acres of high quality native riparian habitat in the Chagrin River Watershed (Ohio). Although there were delays due to heavy rains from hurricane Sandy, channel and floodplain construction and plantings were completed by mid-November thanks to the efforts of project manager Christina Znidarsic of the Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Inc. (CRWP). This project restores and reconnects a segment of Sulphur Springs that was dammed in the 1930’s for recreation. The dam was breached in recent years, leaving an entrenched stream that was disconnected from its floodplain and lacked riparian vegetation.
The segment of Sulphur Springs that was restored is located in the South Chagrin Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks (CM). The Chagrin River watershed is home to some of the last relict populations of native Ohio brook trout, dating back to the last glaciations over 10,000 years ago. Through restoration and monitoring, this project will assess if the stream is suitable for reintroduction of the state-threatened native Ohio brook trout, or, alternately, high quality minnow species (redside dace and southern redbelly dace) that are indicators of healthy headwater streams.
dyke. Credit: Andrea Ania
The Sulphur Springs Assessment and Restoration project was identified by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar as being among the 51 river projects selected nationwide to serve as models of the America’s Great Outdoors Rivers, a program designed to conserve and restore key rivers across the nation, expand outdoor recreational opportunities and support jobs in local communities. Project partners include CRWP, CM, State of Ohio, and the Emerald Necklace Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
The CM will continue to monitor stream flow and water temperature into 2013 to measure post-construction conditions. The CRWP has also developed and continues to implement an education campaign to teach local residents about practices that minimize impacts to the watershed (rain gardens, rain barrels, shade trees, native landscaping).
vegetation and old dam outlet structures have been removed to restore
the stream and riparian area. Credit: USFWS
stabilized with native vegetation to restore the floodplain and stream.