The second Watershed Action Plan was held on June 19th so for those interested, I’ve copied the minutes from that meeting. Really, what we’re talking about here is urban stream restoration, which is something cities are struggling with all across the country. Recognizing the importance of these stream tributaries to watershed management, ecology, and quality of life in a community, many cities are paying to re-open the pipes and sunlight the streams. We don’t have as much piped but some of our older “urban” streams need a little TLC.
Interested stakeholders identified at the organizational meeting held June 19th, 2007, as well as those previously identified as having an interest in the development of a Watershed Action Plan for the Fish Creek Watershed, were invited to attend the second Fish Creek Watershed Action Plan meeting held at the City of Kent’s Service Administration Complex located at 930 Overholt Road on Tuesday, July 17, 2007 at 3:00P.M.
Crystal Cherry, Portage County Soil & Water Conservation District
Christine Craycroft, Portage Park District
Claudia James, Portage County Regional Planning Commission
Mike Mennett, Home Builders Association Serving Portage and Summit Counties
Carrie Gavriloff, Kent City Council
Bill Schultz, Kent City Council
Jerry Gubanich, City of Kent, Stormwater Consultant
Gene Roberts, City of Kent, Service Director
Sheri Chestnutwood, City of Kent, Administrative Assistant
· Fish Creek – Issues and Problems to be Addressed
Mr. Roberts said that he and Mr. Gubanich recently walked Fish Creek from the Cuyahoga River to S.R. 59. Through a power point slide presentation Mr. Roberts showed various conditions found within this area of Fish Creek.
During the presentation the following conditions were noted and discussed.
Trash & Debris
Some trash was found along the Creek’s edge, however it was noted that this area of Fish Creek was found to be relatively clean and free of debris. Wood debris was found at several locations; which is typical for a creek setting.
The water was cloudy looking and in some locations having a filmy residue floating on top. Phosphates or emulsified oils were two of the possible contaminants discussed. Tests would need to be performed to determine pollutants.
Private property lawns are landscaped to the edge of the Creek. Private property lines are often located at the center of the Creek.
Stream Flow & Outfall
Slides showing areas of different flow classifications, outfall locations, and storm sewer discharge pipes within this section of Fish Creek were discussed.
· Presentation of possible process to implement Watershed Action Plan
Through the power point presentation Mr. Roberts went over the process of developing a Watershed Action Plan for the Fish Creek Watershed.
Mr. Roberts emphasized that placing blame on any person or entity is not the answer.
No one person or entity is at fault, it will take everyone to correct. Education is the key, we must start with ourselves. Learn what the stream is telling us. Obtain the knowledge of the experts, then educate others, develop educational materials, develop outreach programs and develop a method to determine our progress.
We need to define what was done wrong in the past, which is now having a negative impact on the Creek. Implement plans to mitigate past wrongs found currently in the Creek and determine what needs to be in place to prevent future wrongs to the Creek.
In addition to the previously mentioned tasks, Mr. Roberts identified the following tasks that need to be completed to implement a Watershed Action Plan for the Fish Creek watershed.
Watershed Action Plan
· Beginning the process of understanding the stream
· Identify what is there
· Walk the creek and identify general lay of the land
· Define, using best available mapping, where identifiable land marks are located
· Generate maps for detailed location of every headwater outfall (Class I, II or III)
· Note discovered issues that require further investigation
· Prepare Maps
-Maps need to be as accurate as possible
-Maps need to be relative to a grid (Northern Ohio State Plane Coordinate System)
-Maps need to show as much detail as possible
-Maps must be prepared so that others can use map to define location for what is discovered in the field well into the future
-Maps are a living document
-The “Reach” is based on the center line of the stream and is defined typically in miles
-The “Reach” defines how far upstream any point is along the stream
start at outfall
-For Fish Creek this is the Cuyahoga River
· Stream Right/Left
-The right or left side of a stream is defined from the prospective of looking upstream
-Purpose of reach measurement
-To locate where an identified point of interest is
-To tie different maps of scale together
-To be used to plan work
-For planning a stream cleanup knowing where large objects are located that need to be removed
Defining further investigation for all flows contributing to the total flow in the stream
-Class I – Cold year round flow
-Class II – Warm mostly year round flow
-Class III – No flow in dry weather
· Every flow that outlets to Fish Creek needs to be defined and located
Who does what
-We need to define each of our strengths
-Some of us may be better able to do research
-Some of us may be better able to do field work
-Some of us may be better public speakers
-Some of us may be better at getting policy implemented
-Our strengths will help us define what each of us can do
-Continue with mapping Fish Creek Main Channel
-Develop maps of all Fish Creek infalls
-Develop tests to be conducted
-Types of testing
-Micro-Invertebrate sampling and Identification
-Stream clean up
-Access through adjoining property owners
-Develop mitigation partners
-Gather educational materials and edit for Fish Creek (From WEB)
-Develop history of Fish Creek
-Develop news letter
-History of Fish Creek
-History of development along Fish Creek
-Determine adjoining property owners
-Determine all property owners
-Plan educations events
-Determine interested parties that live along Fish Creek
-Develop mailing list for news letter
-Develop a program for Scout Merit Badge
-Develop interest from people using Hike & Bike Trail
Throughout the presentation the importance of mapping the creek and the surrounding area was emphasized. Detailed mapping of the area should help determine the source of pollutants entering the creek and assist in the removal of debris from the creek during stream clean up events. A large area of Stow drains into the Fish Creek watershed; detailed mapping of the watershed and surrounding area is important.
The process of mapping the area using data already available from the City of Stow, City of Kent, FEMA, Portage and Summit Counties was discussed.
Ms. James said she may be able to assist with the mapping of the watershed and agreed to look into the costs that would be involved to map the area.
Mr. Shultz asked if a FEMA grant could be obtained to purchase properties that flood repeatedly as a direct result of the river overflowing its banks.
Mr. Roberts said that there is only one property that he is aware of located on Middlebury Road that has flooded repeatedly as a result of the Cuyahoga River overflowing its banks.
Current Projects and Activities
Ms. James asked about the public outreach meetings held during 2005 in conjunction with representatives of the Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan.
Mr. Roberts said most of the people who attended the first meeting came because of private property flooding concerns. It is difficult to get the public to participate in a sustained effort of watershed stewardship. The attendance at following meetings was very disappointing.
Mr. Roberts said flooding within the Fish Creek Watershed will never be eliminated because we have built in the flood plain.
Mr. Gubanich sets up a booth and provides educational materials to residents during events such as the Heritage Festival and Art in the Park. The City has also distributed storm water educational materials to residents that attended the Arbor Day workshop and to Adopt-a-Spot stewards.
Mr. Gubanich also works with Community Service workers who have been assigned by the courts to stencil storm drains and distribute information door tags throughout neighborhoods within the City.
Educational workshops are being held this summer in cooperation with The Ohio University Extension and Portage County Master Gardeners that include a rain garden demonstration, water quality and the importance of riparian buffers, natural lawn care, and the ecosystem of the Kent Bog.
Mr. Roberts said that he and another City employee are registered to attend a Stream Bank Workshop on stream morphology and stream bank stabilization at Adell Durbin Park on August 16th.
· Identification of additional participants that would be of value to watershed plan
Summit Metro Parks was identified as a possible participant that should be invited to future meetings.
· Next meeting agenda items and date
Mr. Schultz said he is interested in saving what natural areas still remain within the Watershed, and asked what tools are available to maintain the natural corridor.
Mr. Roberts said the new requirements regarding riparian setbacks, which are being implemented as part of the NPDES Phase II Storm Water Regulations, should help to save the natural areas still remaining. Most of the area within the Watershed is already built out. Educating the individual property owners within the watershed about stream stewardship and riparian buffer zones is the key.
Best management practices regarding water quality and the construction of retention ponds in new developments were briefly discussed.
Removal of the Cuyahoga River dams in Kent and Munroe Falls and the improvement of rivers water quality were discussed. Mr. Roberts said that the removal of the dams should help the Fish Creek Watershed; without the rivers flow being impeded by the dams, the water from the Creek now has a place to go.
Mr. Shultz asked about grants that may be available and inquired about who would contribute the match; each community?
Ms. Craycroft said that the Lake Erie Commission is currently accepting Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat funding grant applications; the application deadline is mid September.
Mr. Schultz asked who writes the grant application.
Ms. Craycroft said she is not able to commit a lot of time due to her obligations to the Portage County Park District.
Ms. Cherry said she could assist with the grant application; but was also hesitant to commit to the amount of time required to complete a grant application.
Ms. Craycroft said that a grant may be able to be obtained to help with public out reach and education. Ms. Craycroft suggested “No Fish in Fish Creek” as a phrase that could
be used for an educational campaign, and asked if the history of the creek could be researched to determine if there ever were any fish in Fish Creek.
The possibility of obtaining grant funding to cover the costs of mapping the area was briefly discussed.
Mr. Schultz asked Mr. Roberts to request Council approval to submit a grant application to the Lake Erie Commission for the benefit of the Fish Creek Watershed.
The next meeting was scheduled to be held in the 1st Floor conference room of the City of Kent’s Service Administration Complex, 930 Overholt Rd. on Tuesday, August 28th, 2007 at 3:00P.M.
Meeting was adjourned by Mr. Roberts at 4:30P.M.