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Rediscovering Plum Creek

Ever since the dam was installed in Plum Creek, way back in 1887, the creek has been more of a series of ponds than a stream, but that is changing and we’ll all have a chance to rediscover the original Plum Creek later this year. 

The City Engineer, Jim Bowling, dropped me a note on the status of the Plum Creek Restoration project this week and I thought it would be helpful to share it.  As you can see in the picture above the ponds are no more and the original stream bed channel has re-emerged.  

The Dam was removed on February 19, 2009 and some people may be wondering why no work is being done at this time.  No work is currently being done in order to allow time for the sediment to dry. This also allows us the ability to get more accurate measurements on the amount of sediment that needs to be removed. The contractor has installed an orange safety fence around the entire work area to keep people from getting stuck in the exposed sediment while it is drying.  The contractor will mobilize in the beginning of April, and by mid April work will resume at the site.

 

Project Background

In March 2009, the City of Kent applied for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funds for the Plum Creek Stream Restoration Project.  The City of Kent was awarded $1,366,527 for the planning, design, construction, and construction management for the project.  The Project includes the removal of the Plum Creek Dam, replacement of the Mogadore Road Culvert, and the restoration of approximately 2,200 linear feet of stream (upstream of the dam).

The Plum Creek Dam was built in 1887 and no longer serves its original purpose.  The dam is a Class III structure under the jurisdiction of Ohio’s Dam Safety Laws regulated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) through periodic inspections.  The last inspection of the dam performed in 1995 resulted in recommendations for the City to: prepare an Emergency Action Plan, prepare an Operation and Maintenance Manual, perform hydrologic and hydraulic studies to determine modifications needed to increase the discharge/storage capacity of the dam to pass the design flood, prepare plans and specifications for the necessary modifications, and rehabilitate the lake drain and install an adequate silting basin.  No action has been taken on these recommendations to date.

The existing Mogadore Road Culvert is over 20 years old and is in poor condition.  The 2008 Bridge Inspection Report noted the following existing issues: several bolts rusted, the culvert is bulging in two locations, water is running under the entire culvert length, the ground is washed out at the outlet 4.5 feet deep, both headwalls need replaced.  Many of the existing conditions mentioned above go back at least as far as the 1985 Bridge Inspection Report.  The conditions have deteriorated over the years.

The Plum Creek Reservoir, adjacent to Plum Creek Park, was last dredged in 1978.  Approximately 24,000 cubic yards of material was removed from the reservoir in dredging and rechanneling operations and a 40-foot x 9-foot silt basin was constructed.  The reservoir was reportedly in need of being dredged again by the early 1990’s.  In 2009, the estimated amount of sediment in the reservoir is 12,000 cubic yards.  The soft sediment poses safety and aesthetic concerns.  The impoundment also negatively alters water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity (relative clarity).  The resultant water quality and physical barrier of the dam negatively impact the diversity, quantity and quality of fish and macroinvertebrates in the stream.

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