Griswold Creek Restoration

Restores Floodplain, Reduces Erosion,

and Improves Native Plant Diversity

Reconnecting Griswold Creek to its natural floodplain reduced streambank erosion, restored native plant species, and improved wildlife habitat.

Description

Griswold Creek is a coldwater stream that flows into the Chagrin River and then into Lake Erie. Suburban development, stormwater runoff, and the removal of native streamside plants have destabilized the stream corridor, rendering it vulnerable to streambank erosion and disconnected from its natural floodplain. This, in turn, has threatened the habitat of native species and increased the amount of polluted stormwater being discharged into Lake Erie.

Thanks to a $260,765 grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Geauga Park District, in collaboration with the Chagrin River Watershed Partners, have been able to restore 1,354 linear feet of the stream and improve floodplain habitat.

Vernal pools that provide amphibian habitat were excavated in the riparian area, and invasive species such as Phragmites, reed canary grass and European buckthorn were removed and replaced with native species of oaks, willows and dogwoods. These native species form interlocking root structures that hold the soil in place and prevent erosion.

Additionally, sandstone riffles were installed in the stream, increasing the stream’s connection to the natural floodplain. The restored connection slows the waters down when it rains, allowing it to go into the riparian area. As it does so, the floodplain filters out pollutants and sediments. The riffle structures also help increase habitat complexity, creating areas with faster moving, more oxygenated water favored by many aquatic insects and small fish.

The restoration project also provided great educational opportunities for the local community. Local high school students have had the opportunity to learn about stream monitoring and the various ways that the improved habitat has strengthened the local ecosystem.

Resource Challenges Addressed

  • Erosion
  • Habitat Loss
  • Invasive species

RECONNECTING FLOODPLAINS

Thanks to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Griswold Creek has been reconnected to its natural floodplain, reducing erosion and improving habitat.

Results and Accomplishments

Restoration efforts were successful in connecting the Griswold Creek to its natural floodplain and significantly reducing erosion and the amount of polluted runoff flowing into the Chagrin River and Lake Erie. Additionally, invasive species were removed and replaced with native species, further restoring natural habitat.