Innovative tool contributes to Reynoldsburg stream health

 

Photo courtesy of Franklin Soil and Water
In 2013 stream inserts were installed by Franklin Soil and Water as a pilot project in a Reynoldsburg park to test their effectiveness.

Franklin Soil and Water Watershed Implementation Coordinator Kurt Keljo is leading a stream restoration project that includes studying stream flows in the Dysart Run watershed and installing “bioreactors” in some of the headwater streams in that watershed.

Dysart Run starts in Licking County, and flows through parts of Jefferson Township, Columbus and Reynoldsburg before entering Blacklick Creek. The bioreactors will be installed in sections of the stream on Columbus parkland.

Studies show that Dysart Run’s water quality is lower than it should be. In addition the creek’s high flows create riverbank scour that threatens property and contributes to reducing water quality. These problems are symptoms of “urban stream syndrome” caused by development, which creates hard surfaces like roads, parking lots, and roofs. Hard surfaces cover nearly one quarter of the watershed and contribute increased polluted runoff to Dysart Run.

The bioreactors, also known as stream inserts, consist of a fibrous, porous, recycled plastic material that are laid across creekbeds enhancing channel conditions. Sand, gravel and rock collect behind the inserts and along with them filter and clean the stream water. Microorganisms that colonize the surfaces of these materials help to reduce water pollution and improve the water quality of the stream.

The inserts are expected to improve habitat and aquatic life in the stream, while reducing localized bank erosion. Franklin Soil and Water is eager to demonstrate this new tool to reduce the harmful effects that ever-increasing urbanization has on our watersheds. Financed by an Ohio EPA 319 grant and matching funds from the City of Reynoldsburg and supported by Columbus Recreation and Parks, the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

Information courtesy of Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District.

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