Urban runoff is a term used to describe the runoff that occurs during rain events in areas that have a high concentration of impervious surfaces, such as asphalt roadways, parking areas, sidewalks, and rooftops. Urban runoff typically contains contaminants such as sediment, nutrients, hydrocarbons, metals, and bacteria from a variety of sources within the watershed. To combat runoff contaminants, the City of Oregon has constructed the Urban Runoff Capture and Otter Creek Restoration Project. This project is located at the western end of Eastmoreland Blvd, west of Wheeling Street. Construction began in Fall of 2019 and was completed in Summer of 2020. By capturing and treating urban runoff, this project will benefit Otter Creek and the Western Basin of Lake Erie. The City of Oregon was successful in obtaining a $499,997 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant from the US EPA for design and construction.
The project has created an environment that mimics historic floodplain landscapes that existed prior to development in this region. The total project area is just under five acres, with a two acre constructed wetland.
Wetland Floodplain in the Project Area
Stormwater has been routed from a 43 acre urban watershed and discharged into a wetland system where natural processes such as settling, pollutant degradation, and nutrient uptake will be facilitated by the wetland vegetation established. Constructed shallow areas (vegetated shallows and vernal pools) in the wetland will also allow for UV from sunlight to breakdown pollutants in the water as it flows through. The entire project has created a brand new habitat in this area for wildlife such as birds like the Great Blue Heron and Mallard Duck, amphibians such as the Northern Bullfrog and Eastern American Toad, reptiles such as Snapping and Painted Turtles, and small fish such as the American Shad and Green Sunfish.
Vernal Pool, excellent habitat for amphibians such as frogs and toads
The streambanks of Otter Creek flowing through the project area have also be stabilized using a combination of plantings and grading. An overwide channel floodplain was also created, connected to Otter Creek, which allows streamflows following a rain event to spreadout and slow down, reducing pollutants in the water column.
Constructed floodplain adjacent to Otter Creek
Over 180 trees and shrubs and 2,000 wetland plugs have been planted in order to further establish habitat for wildlife and facilitate pollutant reduction from stormwater. The upland areas of the project have also been seeded with grass and prairie flowers that are native to Northern Ohio. These plants are beneficial to pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
Native Prairie Flowers planted in upland areas
These improvements have been made in a neighborhood park like setting that includes a walking path and observation areas where birds and other wildlife can be viewed by park goers. Feel free to take a walk through the park and check it out!
Check out the Virtual Tour Drone video, link above.
Drone Photo of project area, walking path shown