Project Spotlight: Geauga Park District

Davey Resource Group, Inc. (DRG) completed a stream and wetland restoration project for the Geauga Park District in Chesterland, Ohio. This project focused on the Griswold Creek that flows through the park district’s Bessie Benner Metzenbaum Park. Before the project was completed, Griswold Creek was experiencing impacts as a result of urbanization. Riparian vegetation was almost non-existent and urbanization within the watershed was contributing to increased runoff, which elevated water temperatures and increased water flows. These issues led to downcutting of the creek channel and the loss of connectivity to the floodplain. To address these problems, Geauga Park District applied for and received a United States Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant for stream and floodplain restoration.

For this project, DRG teamed with local subcontractors and worked closely with the client to design the restoration plan for 1,345 linear feet of Griswold Creek and the adjacent riparian corridor. The project included several measures:

  • Installation of eight riffle grade control structures to encourage natural deposition, add habitat and elevate the channel to better engage the floodplain
  • Regrading and stabilization of the bank in areas of erosion
  • Excavation of shallow pools adjacent to the stream to create habitat and increase storage within the adjacent floodplain
  • Treatment of non-native vegetation along the riparian corridor
  • Seeding of the riparian corridor with a native riparian seed mix
  • Bioengineering of the streambank using 1,185 live stakes to revegetate and anchor the soil
  • Planting of 900 bare root and 990 container plants of native tree and shrub species to establish a shaded riparian corridor with habitat and food sources for wildlife

The DRG team successfully completed the project and achieved the client’s restoration goals at Griswold Creek, which included:

  • An increase of floodplain storage as a result of the excavation of the areas adjacent to the creek
  • A reduction in stream downcutting due to the installation of grade control structures
  • A decrease in erosion and sediment deposition in the creek and an increase in shade from installation of woody plants along the stream banks

DRG also implemented stream restoration best practices, like in-stream structures, adjacent wet pools with woody debris, control of non-native species, and planting of a diversity of woody plants. Water quality was greatly improved as a result of the restoration project and habitat within the creek and in the riparian corridor has significantly improved.

As part of the grant requirements, the Geauga Park District invited public involvement and promoted public education on the environmental benefits of the project. Post-construction, DRG worked with the Geauga Park District and West Geauga High School to invite local students to assist in gathering baseline data and conducting survey work with the Davey team’s field research technicians and biologists (read more here). West Geauga students will continue to return to collect data each fall and spring for the next several years to document changes.