Volunteer Vegetative Streambank Stabilization at Strongsville Backyard Preserve - Morning Session

Volunteer Vegetative Streambank Stabilization at Strongsville Backyard Preserve - Morning Session

When: March 30 from 9:00am - 12:00pm
Where: Strongsville Backyard Preserve (behind Ehrnfelt Rec Center), 18100 Royalton Rd. Strongsville, OH 44136 map this

Volunteers will assist in the installation of live stakes, live fascines and brush mattresses along eroding streambanks in Strongsville's Backyard Preserve (located behind the Ehrnfelt Rec Center). The project will result in a streambank bioengineering demonstration site for landowners in the Rocky River Watershed.

Landowners with eroding steambanks are encouraged to attend to learn sustainable streambank stabilization techniques.

There will be both a morning session (9:00am - Noon) and an afternoon session (1:00pm-4:00pm).

Pre-registration is encouraged, but not required. Registration can be completed online (see below) or by contacting Rocky River Watershed Program Manager Jared Bartley at jbartley@cuyahogaswcd.org or 216-524-6580 x1003.

In order to address streambank erosion, landowners typically utilize "hard engineering" solutions such as concrete walls, rip-rap or gabion baskets. While these approaches usually succeed to halt streambank erosion at the site, they tend to deflect the stream's energy downstream, essentially moving the erosion problem to another location. They also create poor habitat conditions for aquatic life, including fish, amphibians and aquatic insects.

In contrast, bio-engineering techniques utilize natural woody vegetation to stabilize eroding streambanks. The roots anchor the soil in place as they develop, and the stems and leaves protect the streambank soil from the energy of flowing water, while actively reducing the near-bank stream velocity and enhancing in-stream and streamside habitat.

The demonstration site established through this project will include installations of live stakes, live fascines, brush mattresses and combinations of these strategies.

Live stakes are dormant, live woody cuttings of a species with the branches trimmed off. Live staking performs an important function in creating a root mat that stabilizes the soil by reinforcing and binding soil particles together. Stake establishment also provides habitat for wildlife.

Live fascines are living branches bound together in long tubular bundles. When placed in shallow trenches at the toe and across the slope of a streambank, these structures provide protection from erosion and create a sediment trap. This material provides immediate bank support even prior to root growth. Once established, this living root material grows into a living fence-like erosion barrier. Within one growing season, roots and shoots grow along the entire length of the structure, quickly stabilizing the bank.

Brush mattresses are layers of living branches laid in a criss-cross pattern, 1-2 branches thick, on a streambank to form a living ground cover. The mattress that is formed protects the bank surface until the branches can root and native vegetation becomes established. This living system normally roots in the entire bank face.

Native woody shrub and tree species are utilized in these techniques, including various willows, red-osier and silky dogwoods, sycamore, button bush and elderberry.

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