West Creek Coventry Restoration
Restoring West Creek
A healthy stream has riffles, pools and floodplains. Riffles are shallow areas where water runs fast over rocks. Pools are deeper areas, where water slows down and sediment has time to settle to the bottom, which helps keep the water clean. With clean water, sunlight can reach and nourish underwater plants that provide homes for aquatic insects which are food for fish.
Floodplains are the areas outside of the streambanks, where the water can spread out onto native plants during heavy rains. Riffles, pools and floodplains provide habitat and help the stream to “hold” more water, which can slowly seep into the ground and be used by plants instead of rushing past.
Why did West Creek need to be restored?
At some point, this stretch of West Creek was ditched so people could farm on the floodplain. This separated the stream from its floodplain and degraded habitat. Meanwhile, as the area developed, many surfaces that were once forested and green were paved over by roads, sidewalks, and buildings. Stormwater flowing quickly over these hard surfaces went directly into West Creek, picking up dirt and pollutants along the way, degrading habitat and making the water dirtier.
Restoring a living stream system requires special techniques
The restoration of West Creek focused on reshaping the stream channel, adding riffles and pools back in, and reconnecting the stream to its floodplain. When reconnected to its floodplain, the stream actually restores itself.Like veins in the human body, natural streams branch and diverge. As water flows around things like rocks and fallen trees, channels become multi-stemmed.This creates wetlands, which provide important habitat and help slow down and filter the water. Now a weaving, multi-threaded stream, West Creek is cleaner, erodes less, floods less, stores more carbon, and adds beauty and wildlife to our community.
West Creek Conservancy, Biohabitats, Ohio Public Works, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Great Lakes Restoration, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, Watershed Volunteer Program, ASC Group Inc., Chagrin Valley Engineering Ltd, MLS, and OGC