Ursuline and Hiram, two small colleges in northeast Ohio, were no match for Ohio’s unforgiving weather conditions. Administrators at both schools found themselves faced with the need to restore water ways for the benefit of both the schools and their surrounding communities.
In the midst of a dilemma, both colleges sought the same solution: to contact Davey for assistance.
At Hiram College, a private school tucked into the rural, rolling hills 40 miles southeast of Cleveland, years of heavy rains had washed away tons of soil from the banks of Eagle Creek, a high-quality tributary of the Mahoning River, adjacent to the college’s J.H. Barrow field station.
The field station, established in 1967, serves as an active research and educational facility for students and staff in the science and environmental programs.
Ken Christensen, a senior biologist with Davey Resource Group, says a notable problem with the stream was that flooding and the resulting erosion pushed its channel against a steep bank that further eroded with each heavy storm event.
A stretch of about 2,000 linear feet of stream encompassing almost 20 acres of the Eagle Creek floodplain suffered from severe bank erosion, down cutting and mass wasting along several points of the steep southern bank and shorter northern banks, thus negatively affecting downstream water quality.
Davey’s Solution: Davey designed a new stream channel, adjacent to the existing stream, with more meander bends in the channel that would allow the stream to create natural deposits of sand and gravel bars. The new design slowed water velocity and reduced the risk of erosion. Construction crews plugged the old channel, left it to develop into a wetland area and directed the stream into the newly created stream channel.
Christensen says students who are eager to learn more visited the site during the construction phase of the restoration to talk with Davey biologists and design engineers about the work.
“Any of the science departments can come here and learn something, whether it’s about fish, macroinvertibrates, wetlands, botany or native animals,” he says. “The whole gauntlet. It’s a great natural sciences lab.”
Overall, Davey was happy to help out and restore these beautiful college campuses back to their former glory.