Development blamed for watershed changes
Rushing rainwater may have seemed in short supply this past summer, but Kurt Keljo, watershed coordinator for the Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District, said construction of subdivisions and other development has caused changes in Dysart Run, the watershed that runs off Blacklick Creek.
Keljo told Reynoldsburg City Council Sept. 24 that major development in the Waggoner Road and East Broad Street area in the past 15 years has caused more runoff of water from Dysart Run, deepening the erosion of land along its path.
Keljo said he is currently working on action plans for Blacklick, Rocky Fork and the lower Big Walnut creeks to minimize the erosion caused by development in those areas.
"Rainfall is falling on parking lots so it rushes right into the creek instead of the ground, causing a lot more erosion," Keljo said.
He said the Dysart Run watershed runs along East Broad Street to Waggoner Road and crosses East Broad to go under Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road, affecting nearby homes.
"Because of rushing stormwater, those banks are getting more flow and more erosion and doing more side-cutting along curbs, getting closer to houses," he said. "We are trying to figure out how to address those areas."
Keljo said Ohio State University professor Andy Ward and his students are studying Blacklick Creek in the Reynoldsburg area and will be looking into ways to minimize erosion and improve water quality.
The OSU Extension has scheduled two Streamside Landowner Workshops to help area landowners learn what they can do to manage erosion, protect their health and promote a back yard habitat.
The first will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Reynoldsburg Police Department, 7240 E. Main St. People should register by calling 614-688-3421. A light meal will be provided.
The second workshop is planned from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Jefferson Township Fire Department, 6767 Havens Corners Road in Blacklick. A light meal also will be provided; those interested in attending should call the same number to register.
For questions, call Anne Baird at OSU Extension, or email at email@example.com.
Keljo said he is working with Reynoldsburg Parks and Recreation Department Director Jason Shamblin to improve stormwater practices around the Reynoldsburg Senior Center on Haft Drive.
"The senior center parking lot needs to be replaced and we need to put in a drain so that the water will not run off the parking lot and directly into the creek," Keljo said.
He said the difficulty in dealing with watershed erosion is that the origination of the problem often occurs upstream, so some measures to decrease erosion end up being temporary.
"We want to educate landowners on what they can do to help," he said. "The homeowners association of the subdivision north of the Meijer's store on East Broad Street, for instance, put in rain gardens to help divert the rainwater."
Keljo said a right-of-way rain garden might be placed between the curb and the sidewalk so water coming down a street from houses and driveways can be diverted into the garden, which reduces runoff to a creek.
"I've also written a grant proposal to retrofit a stormwater basin in the Crawford Farms subdivision," he said. "Rather than having the water run right through the area, it will stay in the basin."
He said more erosion means more dirt in the water that flows by homes and in creeks, which means the overall health of the watershed is affected.
Keljo said he will speak again to Reynoldsburg City Council after Ward and his students finish their study of Blacklick Creek.