What a trip Tommy and I had this weekend on our site visit! We met with two people at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes and discussed the impact of stormwater and gathered information about the Doan Brook Watershed. Th visit was very informative and we took lots of pictures; even went on a nature hike exploring the marshes and the many different types of invasive and native plants in the area.
While on our site visit, we mapped out regions of ecological foci. Forests were mapped as young, moderate, or mature, and we also took note of topography, density, soil types (for as much as we knew), and habitat. We followed the entire length of the watershed. The first area we found interesting was a parking--> slope--> basin--> wetland park. It was very interesting to note that someone was able to efficiently control stormwater in a way we learned about in class.
The next place we found interesting was an area where we found the watershed being split in two: on either side of the railroad. We found controlled, engineered concrete ditches on either side. These are not ideal because they increase stormwater flow. To help the environment, I threw some rocks in the way!
Down along the railroad, we found a stormwater management failure. Because of sedimentation and erosion, a split occurred in an engineered depression to channel the water, resulting in breakage. We noticed concrete pavers used to slow down the stormwater, but because the system was broken it was almost useless. We determined that the system was used to control stormwater away from the railway.
Finally, we visited many vacant sites. One in particular seemed to be an abandoned house left after a fire. We couldn't help but wonder what happened to the site. We saw nature already beginning to take over. The site was littered with garbage as well. We were surprised by the amount of vacant sites we found.
Overall, the visit was very successful. We would like to thank the rain for allowing us to document stormwater firsthand. We are excited to see how this analysis will play out. More information to come this week.
The Dugway Brook Watershed (Cleveland, East Side) is approx. 9 square miles and contained within the cities of Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland and University Heights. Most of the watershed has been culverted, meaning it runs underground through storm sewer pipes. This was done in order to make room for urban development. Approximately 94% of the watershed has been developed. In only a select few areas is the watershed developed: Forest Hill Park in Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland, Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland Heights, and Bratenahl before entering Lake Erie.
Nine Mile Creek is the same story. Only small pockets of the watershed are exposed. Nine Mile Creek runs through the communities of University Heights, South Euclid, Cleveland Heights, Cleveland and Bratenahl. It drains approximately 18 square miles and is 11 miles long.
The question I asked while doing my research was: Why was their such a need to enclose these valuable watersheds? After further reseach, I found out that urban development was in fact, the primary concern. In 1912 the Ohio Board of Health approached the City of Cleveland with concern for the contamination into the watershed. Today, the watershed experiences nutrient overflow and stormwater drainage through pipes. This project we will be looking more into the impacts of stormwater and stormwater management and how people and development are affecting ecology.
To conclude our analysis of water as a system, we focused on water particularly in residential areas. We focused on a sub-division in the Southwest corner of the Westcreek watershed; an area that receives headwater to the tributary. We chose this area because we recognized that the best way to control stormwater is to control the source of pollutation: at the headwater areas.
We took the treatment train approach, which is "a series of treatment measures that collectively address all stormwater pollutants." Our mapping analysis contained hydric soil locations, topo, roads, and boundary lines (see slides below).
Our design was to create an effective stormwater control system that filtered and infiltrated water. We also created an ideal subdivision that incorporated stormwater by adjusting to hydric soils and by using porous surfaces that help absorb and filter stormwater. Swales, constructed wetlands, elevated pathways, sediment basins, and inlet/outlet areas were all used in this design.
•By utilizing existing open space within the residential fabric, analyzing existing surface conditions, and appropriating proper wetland locations and treatment train plan we were able to design new sustainable homes that were influence by and worked with the natural landscape
•In addition to new homes, a community plan of renovating residential impervious surfaces and reducing the use of pesticides is promoted throughout the surrounding existing homes
•While a single home is a near fraction of the size of other commercial/industrial uses, the density and quantity make residential fabric some of the most influential within a watershed. By both renovating the existing, creating new, and living by example, a more diverse solution it created to the problem thus allowing for more significant effects on a more universal scale
This week we investigated the West Creek Watershed. A watershed is an area of land that drains precipitation (rain and snowmelt) to a stream, river, or lake. Watersheds are influenced by soil type, topography, geology, vegetation, groundwater, and land use.
The West Creek Watershed is undergoing many water quality issues mostly caused by NPS (Non-point source) pollution such as suburban run-off. Pesticides, fertilizers, cleaners, car washing, and waste all contribute to suburban run-off. The question we asked was: how can we effectively treat stormwater?
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has taken action in this area by awarding a $394,000 grant to the West Creek Preservation Committee to help restore the 10-acre confluence of West Creek, a tributary of the Cuyahoga River watershed in Cuyahoga County. The grant is one of seven federal Section 319 Clean Water Act grants awarded by Ohio EPA this year. The grant totals nearly $2.9 million.
Please view the following presentation for more information on West Creek and the EPA.
To conclude this week in studio, we finished our analysis of open spaces by proposing a solution to storm water control and prevention in the suburban area we studied. We began by documenting the existing conditions of the open spaces and proposing an open space that allowed water to be controlled and filtered through an irrigation system. In the urban setting, open spaces are areas dedicated for parks, green spaces, and other open areas. These areas, commonly open to public access, can range from highly maintained environments to relatively natural landscapes. Open space outside of the urban setting are often more natural: state/national parks and greenways.
In the suburbs, we determined open space to be the greenways that function as corridors composed of natural vegetation used to maintain biological diversity, protect water resources, conserve the soil, support recreation, enhance the community to custom cohesion, and allow species to disperse routes during climate change.
We determined that water could be controlled by implementing a plan first for each individual suburban unit. By using the slope of the ground and a proper filtration system of gravel, course stone, and top soil, we could filter the water to piping and run the piping to a forebay, which helps hold the water temporarily before overflow occurs and transfers the water into a more permanent basin.
The green area (above) represents a new park development that serves at an educational tool to the community. Trails and waterways would be built to provide the public with an experience that engages the community with the environment.
In addition, we researched the use of passive elements such as rock gardens and earth works. We analyzed the project by Herbert Bayer in Mill Creek. He designed a park that would react to rain. We were intrigued by this idea and introduced it into our design.
We thought our project was a success and that given the time we had, we were able to touch on various subjects that many groups never got around to. We felt the project was a little rushed, but we still enjoyed the process and the final design.
Brandon E. Young