Upgrades planned for Dysart Run

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By Christine Bryant
Staff Writer

A local restoration project several years in the making is moving forward that experts say will benefit the Blacklick Creek watershed as a whole and the properties along it.

The project, initiated by the Franklin Soil & Water Conservation District, centers on Dysart Run, a headwater stream in the Blacklick Creek watershed on the eastside of Franklin County. Its longest branch is about 3.6 miles long and is fed by 4.6 miles of land.

Though it starts in Licking County, northeast of the intersections of Kennedy, Taylor and Cleveland roads, it extends southwest into Reynoldsburg and enters Blacklick Creek just west of the transition corner where Whistlewood Drive turns into Treebourne Drive.

What was once a lazy stream, Dysart Run increasingly has become torrent, fed by stormwater runoff coming from the hard surfaces in the watershed. With it came pollution and the erosion of stream banks – and the need for repair.

The project

As the Eastside experienced growth in the late 1990s, including the addition of apartment complexes, subdivisions, shopping centers and other commercial facilities, much of the rain that fell onto these newly hard surfaces drained without passing through any stormwater control features.

As a result, Dysart Run failed to meet water quality standards established by the Ohio EPA, and larger rain storms began eroding its banks – threatening homes.

The runoff near Dysart Run needed to be intercepted in multiple locations, so FSWCD created a stormwater treatment wetland in Crawford Farms Park, located off Waggoner Road north of Broad Street.

In 2012, the FSWCD began the process of turning the existing stormwater basin into a stormwater treatment wetland, said Kurt Keljo, watershed resource specialist with Franklin Soil & Water Conservation District.

“The new wetland was intended to improve water quality and reduce runoff to the stream,” he said. “We do believe that it is cleaning the runoff entering Dysart and slowing the rate at which runoff reaches the creek.”

Local implications

The FSWCD is continuing its efforts to improve the water quality and restore the northern part of Blacklick Creek and its tributaries – and may be getting some help from the city of Reynoldsburg.

The organization’s plan, which initially focuses on Dysart Run, also includes completing a hydrology and hydraulics study of the watershed.

“In addition to helping guide the project, the study would provide a kind of blueprint for developing future stormwater projects in the watershed, providing us with information as to how much stormwater is entering the creek from where, and what steps would have the most impact on reducing the stormwater flows in Dysart Run,” Keljo said.

In support of this project’s grant application with the Ohio EPA, the city of Reynoldsburg has committed to providing $30,000 matching funds, pending city council approval, Keljo said. City council will vote on approving these funds at its Sept. 25 meeting.

“Restoring Dysart ultimately requires reducing the volume and rate of stormwater runoff to the creek, and the H&H study is needed to help us determine how best to move forward to reach that goal,” Keljo said.

At the Sept. 11 city council finance committee meeting, council member Marshall Spalding, who represents ward 3, said the study is important not just for Dysart Run, but to better understand why water run-off affects certain properties and not others.

Bill Sampson, director of public service for the city of Reynoldsburg, added the study gives the city a platform to pursue engineering funding.

“I love studies, but I know we have some issues in our city, particularly along Dysart ditch with stream bank erosion, that it would give us the documentation that we need to go after engineering grants,” he said.

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