In 2009, Davey Resource Group, working under the direction of Western Reserve Land Conservancy (WRLC), developed a conceptual stream and floodplain restoration plan for Eagle Creek, a high-quality tributary to the Mahoning River. WRLC successfully leveraged the conceptual restoration plan to secure nearly $1M in WRRSP monies for land acquisition, preservation, and restoration. Davey then completed the design and engineering of the stream and floodplain restoration, obtained the necessary permits, and commenced construction in 2012.
The project area begins at the confluence of Eagle and Silver Creeks, located in the Mahoning River watershed, and continues downstream approximately 1,600 linear feet, encompassing almost 20 acres of the Eagle Creek floodplain and riparian corridor. The increased velocities within this relatively straight and shortened stretch of Eagle Creek precipitated bank erosion, down cutting, and mass wasting along several points of the steep southern bank and the shorter northern banks.
Davey collected cross-section data and met with biologists from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to collaborate on the preparation of the preliminary conceptual plan. It was determined that the site was a candidate to apply a hybrid of both self-forming and natural design restoration concepts. The goals of the project were to re-establish appropriate stream morphology and floodplain connection to this area of the stream.
The restored stream channel was constructed in 2012 and is 2,215 linear feet long by 40 feet wide. It is anticipated that lengthening the relocated channel and adding some of the lost stream’s morphological features will cause stream velocities to slow and the erosive and sediment carrying capacity to return to normal. In summer 2013 water will be diverted into the new channel. The existing channel will be left intact and available to receive flood water.
The Eagle Creek stream and floodplain restoration project and the surrounding 152 acres of land were donated to Hiram College in 2011 by WRLC and is a part of Hiram College’s James H. Barrow Field Station. WRLC will hold a permanent conservation easement on the property to ensure protection.