Brandywine Creek Tributary Stream Restoration Project

Tinker’s Creek Watershed Partners (TWCP) has been awarded a $185,194 Great Lakes Restoration grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Environmental Protection Agency to restore natural flow to 1,800 linear ft. of stream in the Brandywine Creek Watershed. TCWP is partnering with The City of Hudson, Hull & Associates, and Mark Haynes Construction on the project. The funds will be used to reconnect the stream to the on-site floodplains and improve the riparian corridor with enhanced natural habitats and stream stability improvements without diminishing the flow of the stream.

The project is located along the Brandywine Creek Tributary between Owen Brown Street and W. Prospect Street. The Brandywine Creek Watershed is comprised of 9 communities, drains 27 square miles of land, and is approximately 11 miles long. It is a tributary to the Cuyahoga River. Unknown toxicity, nutrients, organic enrichment/DO, flow alteration, direct habitat alterations, and total dissolved solids are considered the main water quality issues facing Brandywine Creek. The section of stream has become entrenched and disconnected from the natural floodplain which contributes to excess nutrient and sediment loading. This project will address nutrient and sediment loading and habitat alterations.

Cuyahoga AOC Habitat Restoration Project Planning grant

In 2015, Tinker’s Creek Watershed Partners (TCWP) was awarded a $50,000 Cuyahoga AOC Habitat Restoration Project Planning grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Funds were used to create plans for habitat restoration projects in the watershed. The projects listed below are the ones that were selected for design and which TCWP will be seeking funding to implement.

Bear Creek Continuation Project

This project was part of the AOC funding project within the Watershed Action Plan (WAP). A consultant from BioHabitats, Inc. was hired to restore part of Bear Creek. Bear Creek drains a watershed of about 450 acres and is comprised of developments that are residential and light commercial alongside woodlands and open spaces. Altered hydrology and damaged stormwater outfalls had changed the character of the creek, deepening the stream bed and leaving steep streambanks instead of a broad floodplain. Streams in this condition cannot store water and allow it to infiltrate into the soil, and they cannot support the rich diversity of invertebrates and animals that inhabit healthy streams. The first phase of this restoration was completed in 2012.

The second phase of the project would first repair a damaged stormwater outfall. The conceptual design also shows Bear Creek redirected from the existing overhead utilities, creating floodplain wetlands in the old channel, and creating a shallow “floodplain bench” to provide structural diversity, shallow habitat, and a place to slow and store water during storm events. In addition, the design re-establishes native riparian woody vegetation to create a natural vegetated buffer and to protect the stream.

Glenwillow Stream and Floodplain Wetland Restoration

This project was part of a subgroup of project designs funded from the AOC Grant that were not currently within the WAP and were investigated by Environmental Design Group (EDG). Tinker’s Creek, south of Pettibone Road, had been straightened to allow for a landfill. The straightening of this portion of the Creek significantly impacts the natural flow regimes and ecological habitat. Tinker’s Creek is naturally meandering, which allows for the dynamic scour and deposition of sediment. Straightening and channelizing the stream eliminated those natural stream dynamics, ultimately affecting aquatic life. Invasive plant species thrive throughout this stretch of stream. The lack of trees and native vegetation throughout this portion of the stream cause higher temperatures, which impairs native aquatic life and encourages algae growth.

EDG proposed a design to improve normal flows through the area by creating a two-stage channel which allows increased velocities without significantly compromising discharge capacity for larger flow events. EDG also proposed removing invasive species in the area and replacing them with trees and native shrubs to help provide shade for the stream. It was also proposed to increase floodplain storage at the downstream section along the west bank where development had encroached upon the natural floodplain.

Hudson Mainstem Project (Streetsboro WTTP Project)

The consultant hired for this project design was Davey Resource Group. During the site visit, Davey Resource Group biologists and restoration ecologists inspected the creek and riparian corridor to identify existing habitat and locate features to enhance its overall physical condition. The stream was characterized by calculating the Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index (QHEI) at several locations along its 3,100-foot length. Davey also documented the bank condition along the creek to identify areas where the bank may need to be stabilized in order to minimize the amount of silt that is eroding into the stream channel.

In addition to evaluating the mainstem of Tinker’s Creek, Davey also identified those topographic features that may be inhibiting the stream from interacting with its floodplain. The mapped floodplain of Tinker’s Creek on the Streetsboro WWTP property was extensive. However, dredge spoil piles that exist along the east bank of the creek may have been inhibiting the stream’s ability to discharge onto the floodplain at lower flow elevations. Extensive wetlands also existed on portions of the property. Conceptual designs focus restoration efforts on 575 linear feet of Tinker’s Creek in an area where soil has been sidecast and habitat assessment scores were low. This design also included removing sidecast soil along the channel to provide a reconnection to the floodplain, installing grade control structures and partial weirs within the channel, planting of native woody vegetation in the riparian zone, and controlling invasive, non-native vegetation.

Streetsboro 303 Project

This project was part of the AOC funding that was already within the WAP and preselected for conceptual design. The consultant hired for this project was EnviroScience, Inc. The  main  stem  of  Tinker’s  Creek  flows  from  the  south  to the north under State Route 303 through a culvert.  Tinker’s Creek had been ditched and channelized through the entire project reach and over much of its headwaters primarily for drainage and development.  In the project area, Tinker’s Creek was moderately incised with streambank heights approaching 5 feet in most areas.  Low gradient streams such as these require regular access to wide floodplains due to fine particles composing the streambanks. Confinement of stream energy through incision leads to erosion and massive channel adjustment. A wide floodplain existed in this area as a large wetland community but it was inaccessible during frequent storm events. The wetland exhibited signs of degradation by drainage and invasive species on both sides of SR 303. The conceptual designs for this project included creating a new channel to narrow the stream and to add natural meanders and connection to the floodplain and wetlands. A natural streambed with riffles and invasive species control also helped improve flow and habitats within the stream and surrounding wetlands.

Streetsboro SR 14 Drainage Ditch Project

This project was part of the AOC funding that was already within the WAP and preselected for conceptual design. The consultant hired for the design was EnviroScience, Inc. Headwater streams are vital to the health and water quality of Tinker’s Creek. This restoration would contain two tributaries located on the south side of Route 14 behind the Home Depot in the City of Streetsboro. Both streams empty into a man-made retention pond. Each of the streams are functioning poorly, displaying bank erosion and down cutting.

EnviroScience, Inc. proposed conceptual designs that would remove the berms that separate the streams from their floodplains and add natural curves or meanders back to the streams. This would aid in stream functioning by restoring the streams’ ability to transport sediment. Controlling invasive species in the wetland would also help improve habitat.

Twinsburg Project

This conceptual design was part of a subgroup of projects that were not currently within the WAP and was investigated by Environmental Design Group (EDG). EDG performed stream surveys and created a conceptual design for restoring function to the stream. This perennial unnamed tributary to Tinker’s Creek is located within Twinsburg City School district owned property, just north of Officer Joshua T. Miktarian Memorial Pkwy near Twinsburg High School. The tributary drains approximately 493 acres, which consists of approximately 40% impervious surfaces. The project would restore 150 linear feet of eroded streambank and degraded stream channel and significantly reduce sediment and nutrient input into Tinker’s Creek while providing habitat.