East Fork Riparian Reserve

On May 16th, Clermont SWCD and the Clinton County Park District, along with many watershed partners, celebrated the completion of a stream and wetland restoration project at the East Fork Riparian Reserve. The Reserve is a 70 acre nature preserve nestled along the banks of the East Fork Little Miami River located on the border of Clinton and Highland counties. Acquired by the park district in the early 2000s, the property had been intensively farmed for decades before efforts began to restore the land back to floodplain forest and upland prairie.

A stream on the property that drains to the East Fork had become channelized after losing connection to its floodplain. The stream banks were eroding, with some sections over 7-8 feet high. Loads of sediment were sloughing off into the stream, degrading habitat and water quality. Approximately 850 feet of stream channel was realigned and restored with a natural meandering riffle-pool sequence and the stream banks were gently graded to reconnect the floodplain. Six pocket wetlands were constructed in the floodplain to absorb high flows and filter pollutants.

Pre-restoration, the Reserve’s upland areas were overgrown with invasive species, like bush honeysuckle and multiflora rose. This area was also restored by removing invasive species and constructing an ephemeral prairie wetland. Soil excavated for the stream restoration was used to create a berm for the wetland, and trees and brush excavated during construction were repurposed to provide habitat for native wetland and prairie species. Hiking trails were restored around the property, along with a boulder foot bridge across the stream for visitors to enjoy.

The project was funded through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources H2Ohio Program and the Ohio Public Works Clean Ohio Green Space Program, designed by Sustainable Streams and constructed by Environmental Remediation Contractor. This project demonstrates how wetlands can be incorporated into stream restoration projects to provide habitat and water quality improvements. Clermont SWCD is committed to working with watershed partners to implement solutions to improve water quality in the East Fork and Harsha Lake.

Visit the Reserve! 864 Webertown Rd, Lynchburg, OH 45142

The East Fork Riparian Reserve is located at the intersection of Clinton and Highland counties. From Clermont county travel East on U.S. 50 about 2 miles past Fayetteville. Turn Left on OH-251 N and follow for 3.5 miles before turning right onto Kernan Road and follow for 3.5 miles (Kernan Road turns into Webertown Road).