Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel Overflow Outfall and Associated Sewer and Restoration Project: Restoration/Compensatory Mitigation Plan (Little Cuyahoga River)
After suffering from more than 200 years of human modifications to its hydrology and taking a pounding from increased stormwater runoff from its surrounding urban landscape, the Little Cuyahoga River along a stretch of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail had suffered a cyclical pattern of channel degradation and bank erosion. Evidence of the damage was abundant: a 7-foot drop caused by a perched, concrete-encased sewer crossing, undermined rip rap, and vertical eroding banks measuring as high as 10 feet.
To help the City of Akron address the degraded stream and proposed OCIT outfall impacts, Biohabitats was asked to prepare a restoration/compensatory mitigation plan. Biohabitats developed a design that would not only achieve specific goals such as bank stabilization and safe conveyance of 100-year flows, but also improve the ecological conditions of the Little Cuyahoga River. The design, focused on restoring fish migration by removing a concrete encased sewer line which crossed the site and maximizing the benefits of bioengineering, also restores aquatic and riparian habitat, improves water quality, and allows the Little Cuyahoga River riparian zone to better function as a wildlife corridor. The design also enhances the towpath user experience, by creating a “green” corridor of native vegetation along the River, as opposed to rip rap.
Biohabitats shepherded the project from the initial geomorphic assessment through concept development and permitting strategy to final design document production. The project is scheduled for construction in fall 2018, spring of 2019.