On June 30-July 1, 2017 an extreme rainfall event caused the lateral migration of the of Tributary 26 to Butternut Creek located south of Colton Road in LaFayette, New York. The migration of the stream channel caused undercutting and erosion of the stream bank to the east and deposition of new point breaks downstream.
Tributary 26 looking southerly. Eroded streambank visible on left (east).
In collaboration with Dr. Ted Endreny from SUNY ESF and the Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District, NSE developed a design plan for the restoration of this stretch of Tributary 26 and was intended to reclaim riparian area east of the creek for the landowner and implementing conservation and restoration techniques intended to prevent future lateral migration of the creek and preserving it’s natural function. The design followed Rosgen stream restoration principles and consisted of:
reestablishment of the creek channel to the west
bendway weirs to deflect and dissipate energy away from the eroding east stream bank
rock riffles and large stones to dissipate energy within the newly reestablished stream channel
dogwood plantings in the reclaimed floodbank and fascines to protect the edge of bank.
Design plan for Tributary 26 Restoration
Construction was initiated per the design plan by the selected contractor J&J Landscaping the week of November 27, 2017 and earthwork completed on December 8. Plantings to follow in mid-December.
Reestablished creek looking southerly from Colton Road.
Assuming continuing adaptive management measures to be informed by the landowner, the reestablished creek and energy dissipation measures will provide for a stable planform, yet able to pass extreme events via a connected functioning floodplain.
Natural Systems Engineering’s Principal, Kyle Thomas, was quoted for this Newsday (New York) newspaper article on green stormwater management. The story describes how the Nassau County municipalities of North Hempstead, Great Neck Plaza and Floral Park have released their 2017 Stormwater Management Reports calling for the management of stormwater water in an eco-friendly manner. Thomas was interviewed to provide a somewhat technical perspective on what management of stormwater in a green fashion actually means.
Bottom Slope/Fish Ramp at Ley Creek (pre-existing stone dam on the left)
Streams and lakes in Onondaga County in Central New York area have been significantly altered and degraded as a result of urbanization and industrialization. Located in the Lake Ontario watershed, the area is eligible for funds under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for habitat improvements in the watershed. In 2010, the Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA), secured funding under the GLRI for restoration measures in the Onondaga Lake watershed.
Following the successful restoration of Beartrap Creek in Salina, New York in 2010, an additional habitat restoration effort was undertaken in the South Branch of Ley Creek in DeWitt, New York. The Central New York Chapter of the IWLA, in consultation with the Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI), identified a low head stone dam suspected as acting as an impediment to upstream migration of walleye and northern pike for spring spawning as an opportunity for improvement. Natural Systems Engineering designed a stone bottom slope (or fish ramp) consisting of field stones placed to the toe of the dam to allow fish passage during periods of higher streamflow. Partners on the project include Joe Green Excavating (Phoenix, New York) for construction, OEI for pre- and post-construction biota monitoring, and the Central New York Chapter of the IWLA who was instrumental in site selection and logistics.
As part of the Syracuse Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, NSE recently completed hydraulic modeling of Onondaga Creek for the proposed Kirk Park project to demonstrate that the project will not result in adverse impacts on the channel or floodway during a 100-yr recurrence event.