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Willoughby Hills Stream Restoration Project Complete!

Construction is now complete at our Willoughby Hills Stream Restoration Project on the East Branch of Euclid Creek! The restoration effort provided a unique opportunity to engage with the School of Innovation students and teachers. They were involved with everything from design to planning for long-term management of the site. Join us for a tour of the project on Monday September 9th to learn about the projects unique challenges and key partnerships!

The main goal of the project was habitat restoration and flood storage. Prior to project construction an undersized culvert was causing debris and sediment to back up in the stream. This sediment accumulation resulted in the loss of important stream habitat (pools and riffles). Overtime runoff from upstream had caused the channel to widen and deepen resulting in one uniform channel (run).

To improve this situation, the undersized culvert was removed and replaced with a riffle ford crossing. The eroding streambanks were laid back to allow for flow to reconnect to the floodplain during storms. Riffle and pool habitat was created.

Even before the new plantings were established, the habitat on the East Branch through this site went from a rating of Fair to a rating of Good after construction! It has been so exciting to see the increased number of fish visiting the site already this summer! We even found caddisfly and mayfly larvae on our recent tour of the site with WES teachers! (Caddisfly and mayfly are indicators of good water quality)

Project highlights include:

  • Reviewing 8th grade student design ideas.
  • Planting 120 trees and 159 shrubs with 6th-8th graders.
  • Planting 600 live stakes with 3rd- 5th graders.
  • WYKC featuring the project during their GIRLS in STEM series on April 23rd
  • Planting 800 wetland plugs with 3rd-5th graders and volunteers from Friends of Euclid Creek, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, and Cleveland Metroparks.
  • Showing off the project to national floodplain managers during the State Floodplain Managers Conference. The site was part of a Rockin’ Projects in Euclid Creek tour.
  • Working with Lake SWCD to offer teaching plans to utilize the restored space as an outdoor learning lab.

As part of the project:

  • 990 feet of floodplain were restored
  • 700 feet of stream channel was restored
  • 7 in stream habitat structures were added
  • natural flow was returned to 50 feet of stream previously culverted
  • 0.6 acres of invasive plants were managed
  • 3.3 acres were planted with native trees, shrubs, live stakes, wetland pugs, and seed mix

Be sure to scroll through the photos above to see the site progress and highlights.

Learn more about this exciting project on our website.

Terminology:

Boulders: rock fragment with size greater than 10 inches in diameter

Cobble: rock fragment with sizes between 2.5 and 10 inches

Floodplain: an area of low-lying ground adjacent to a river, formed mainly of river sediments and subject to flooding

Live stakes: dormant, live woody cuttings of a species with the branches trimmed off

Macroinvertebrates: animals without a backbone that can be seen with the naked eye. These bottom-dwelling animals include crustaceans and worms but most are aquatic insects.

Pool: areas of slow flowing deep water, often on the outside of bends

Riffle: fast, shallow flow over boulders, cobbles or gravel, which break the water surface

Riffle Ford Crossing: shallow area of the stream with larger stable boulders and cobble used for substrate to support vehicle crossing through the creek

Run: smooth, unbroken flow connecting riffle and pool areas

Wetland plug plants: wetland seedling species which have been germinated and grown in trays of small cells

Blog Author: Elizabeth Hiser, Euclid Creek Watershed Program Manager

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