Inasmuch as many of central Ohio’s streams are impacted by urban development, there is a pressing need for sustainable ways to restore them. Franklin Soil and Water Conservation district has piloted a method of stream restoration that costs approximately one tenth of traditional stream restoration methods. With support from grants funded by the USEPA’s 319 program and distributed by the Ohio EPA, Franklin Soil and Water is in the process of implementing two new projects, using this pioneering restoration approach to improve water quality, enhance aquatic life & habitat, and reduce the ever pressing issue of localized bank erosion.
The first stream insert project is being implemented in the Creekstone subdivision on headwater streams of Dysart Run in partnership with the City of Reynoldsburg and Columbus Recreation and Parks. The second is on an unnamed tributary of Blacklick Creek in the Willow Brook Crossing subdivision and in being implemented in partnership with Jefferson Township.
The projects involve installing structures that mimic leaky beaver dams. The structures, called stream inserts or bio-reactors, filter the creek water, help add oxygen to the water, increase groundwater storage along the creeks, reduce erosion and create rock and gravel beds. These beds contribute additional services by creating habitat for aquatic creatures, storing creek water and improving water quality.
Twenty two inserts have been installed in the creeks running through the Creekstone subdivision, and eighteen are being put into the stream in the Willow Brook Crossing subdivision. Trees and shrubs will also be planted along the streams, which will also help improve and protect water quality in these waterways. The Willow Brook Crossing project will be completed by the end of the year, while the Creekstone project on Dysart Run will be finished in the spring of 2020.