The Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District is nearly finished with a new type of stream bank restoration project for an Owasco Lake tributary that has staff members excited to see the results.
At Dutch Hollow Brook, one of Owasco Lake’s largest tributaries, district staff is wrapping up an innovative project to restore 350 linear feet of stream bank, with the goal of reducing sediment flow and nutrient loading into the lake.
Sediment in stream water often contains phosphorous and nitrogen, the two nutrients used as food for the cyanobacteria that form harmful algal blooms (HABs).
“We’re kind of excited to see how this is going to function,” project lead Jason Cuddeback said.
In most projects of its kind, the stream bank is essentially lined with stone to act as a buffer against the force of the water that would otherwise naturally carve out curves and eventually oxbow lakes from the sides of the stream.
“What Mother Nature wants to do is slow herself down,” Cuddeback said, later describing the way the water bounces between the opposite walls of the stream as “almost like a pinball machine.”
At Dutch Hollow, the amount of erosion was severe. When initially surveying the site for the project, district staff placed 24 inch steel posts to gauge how much stream bank was being lost.
When they returned after a year, the posts were nowhere to be found.
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