The Clinton County Park District has teamed up with Clinton & Clermont SWCDs to complete a watershed restoration project at the East Fork Riparian Reserve located on the Clinton-Highland county border in the upper East Fork Little Miami River (EFLMR) watershed. The 70+ acre park has been owned and managed by the Park District since 2006 and has undergone a major transformation from degraded farmland into a diverse landscape with early successional stream-side forest and upland prairie. The park has three streams that flow into the EFLMR, of which the main tributary has significant stream bank erosion.
Funding provided by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ H2Ohio Program and the Ohio Public Works Commission’s (OPWC) Clean Ohio Program was awarded to the Park District to restore the impaired stream, improve floodplain connection and reduce sediment pollution currently washing into the EFLMR. Sediment and nutrient pollution are common problems across Ohio. During storm events, sediment and nutrients (from fertilizers and/or failing septic systems) are washed into nearby streams, impairing local habitat and sending pollutants downstream to larger reservoirs, like Harsha Lake in Clermont County. These pollutants are linked to the increase in Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) at Harsha Lake, a common scenario occurring in many of Ohio’s rivers and lakes.
The Clean Ohio and H2Ohio programs offer grants and technical assistance to park districts and other organizations for projects that serve to protect Ohio’s Water Resources. The Park District is working with Sustainable Streams and Environmental Remediation Contractor (ERC) to construct the project and in a few short months will result in approximately 800 feet of restored stream and 2 acres of new wetland habitat.