Ann Arbor, Mich. – One of the biggest polluters of West Creek in the southern Cleveland suburbs is West Creek itself.
The severely eroding creek’s steep banks are crumbling into the water, dumping tons of sediment into the stream each year. And sediment is by far the largest pollutant of waters in the Lake Erie watershed and the rest of the Great Lakes basin.
The Great Lakes Commission announced a $70,500 grant to the West Creek Preservation Committee for work in the Village of Brooklyn Heights to help stabilize the stream banks and limit further erosion. The grant comes through the Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control, a federally funded program administered by the Commission.
“Sediment is by far the largest pollutant, by volume, of our waters in the Lake Erie watershed and the rest of the Great Lakes basin,” said Tim Eder executive director of the Great Lakes Commission. “It clogs our rivers and streams, smothers aquatic habitats, and makes it hard for fish and other aquatic creatures to breathe and find food. It also carries with it other pollutants washed off the land, including pesticides, fertilizers and others.”
“This project is an excellent example of the direct, hands-on initiatives being undertaken through the Great Lakes Basin Program to protect, restore and improve water quality in our region,” he added.
Eder expressed special thanks to two members of Ohio’s congressional delegation, Sen. Mike DeWine and Rep. Marcy Kaptur, who, along with others such as Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, have lead efforts to build congressional support for the program.
“This is good news for Parma, Northeast Ohio and Lake Erie,” said Sen. DeWine a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. “Soil erosion and sedimentation severely degrade our water supply and pollute the Great Lakes. I am proud to have helped secure federal funds that will be used to fight these destructive forces so that we can preserve and protect our natural resources for future generations.”
Brooklyn Heights Mayor Michael Procuk welcomed the news.
“We are very pleased to see this project happening in our community,” Mayor Procuk said. “It will not only improve the environmental health of West Creek, but also improve aesthetics and protect business infrastructure in the area.”
At the site in question, West Creek is experiencing severe erosion along approximately 1,700 feet of the stream along State Route 17 (Granger Road). On the south side of the creek, the erosion is threatening the integrity of the entire embankment, including parts of a commercial development sitting along it.
The work at West Creek will involve a mix of vegetation and other natural materials to hold soil in place. Live crib walls, made of untreated logs or timbers that provide a structure for the establishment of a natural stream bank, may be used in particularly steep areas or where water velocities are higher.
“This work will not only improve the appearance and water quality of West Creek, but will have beneficial impacts on water quality throughout the Lower Cuyahoga River and into Lake Erie,” said Neal Hess, Watershed Coordinator of the West Creek Preservation Committee. “Controlling erosion and other sediment runoff is one of the best things we can do to improve the health of our waterways.”
Additional stream and riparian zone restoration work along West Creek is being funded by a grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
“Our goal is to bring the lower section of West Creek into full attainment of state water quality goals,” said Hess. “This erosion control grant from the Great Lakes Commission will certainly help us get there.”
The West Creek project is one of nine in Ohio to be funded this year under the Great Lakes Basin Program, which supports efforts around the basin to improve water quality through erosion and sediment control. Others include developing rain gardens in Cuyahoga Falls, promoting strip tillage agriculture in Erie and Huron counties, controlling storm water runoff in Summit County, and limiting roadside erosion in Erie County, among others.
The Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control is managed by the Great Lakes Commission, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., with funding provided by Congress through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Initiated in 1991, the Great Lakes Basin Program has supported nearly 400 projects in all eight Great Lakes states, providing over $14 million in federal grants while attracting more than $5 million in additional nonmatching funds. These efforts have protected more than 120,000 acres basinwide, keeping an estimated 1.1 million tons of soil “on the land” and 5.5 million lbs. of phosphorous and 1.8 million pounds of nitrogen out of the Great Lakes and their tributaries.
A list of all 2006 Great Lakes Basin Program-funded projects in the state of Ohio is below. Descriptions are included with the full list of 2006 projects, available online at projects.glc.org/basin/pubs/keeping/pdf/0802.pdf.
Additional information on the Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control is available at projects.glc.org/basin/.
For immediate release: October 31, 2006
Contact: Gary Overmier, email@example.com, office: 734-971-9135
The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Lt. Gov. John Cherry (Mich.), is an interstate compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of governors’ appointees, state legislators, and agency officials from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formalObserver program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Ohio 2006 Great Lakes Basin Program projects:
West Creek Stream Restoration and Erosion Control Project: $70,500
West Creek Preservation Committee, Parma.
Contact: Neal Hess, 216-749-3720, firstname.lastname@example.org
Education on No-till and Conservation Tillage: $10,000
Conservation Tillage Conference, Columbus.
Contact: Randall Reeder, 614-292-6648, email@example.com
Enhancing Lake Erie Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) Outreach: $10,275
ODNR Division of Soil & Water Conservation, Findlay.
Contact: Ed Crawford, 419-424-5006, firstname.lastname@example.org
Erie Rural Roadside Erosion and Sediment Control Demonstration: $29,265
Erie Soil and Water Conservation District, Sandusky.
Contact: LouAnn Hauch, 419-626-5211, email@example.com
Powers Brook Sediment Control Project: $32,370
Summit County Soil and Water Conservation District, Cuyahoga Falls.
Contact: David Ritter, 330 929-2871, firstname.lastname@example.org
Summit County Raingarden Initiative: $8,160
Summit Soil and Water Conservation District, Cuyahoga Falls.
Contact: Chicory Koren, 330-929-2871, email@example.com
Tymochtee Creek and Sandusky River Sediment Control Project:$36,822
The Ohio State University Extension, Upper Sandusky.
Contact: Chris Bruynis, 419-294-4931, firstname.lastname@example.org
Erie – Huron Strip Tillage Project: $74,868
Erie – Huron Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Norwalk.
Contact: Cary Brickner, 419-668-4113, email@example.com
Sugar Creek Stream Erosion and Sediment Control Project: $75,000
Ottawa River Coalition, Lima.
Contact: Beth Seibert, 419-223-0040, firstname.lastname@example.org