McCammon Creek Park stream restoration underway in Orange Township

Jim Fischer
ThisWeek

Stream and floodplain restoration has begun at the new McCammon Creek Park, the latest project in Preservations Parks of Delaware County's ongoing development of the site.

The park is along Bale Kenyon and Orange roads, near the Delaware County bicentennial barn west of Alum Creek in Orange Township.

The project involves restoring about 1,250 linear feet of previously ditched stream channel and nearly 2,500 linear feet of floodplain along both banks of the stream.

Although some reforestation has occurred and some purple martin houses have been installed, this is the first major step in the park’s development, said Mary VanHaaften, Preservation Parks deputy director.

A project involving restoration of about 1,250 linear feet of previously ditched stream channel and nearly 2,500 linear feet of floodplain along both banks of the stream at McCammon Creek Park, a 233-acre site at Bale Kenyon and Orange roads in Orange Township, is underway.

McCammon Creek is the name given to the previously unnamed tributary of Alum Creek that flows through the property. Preservation Parks earlier this year opted to use the name for the park.

The land acquired for the park over the past four years had been owned by the McCammon and Postle families for more than four generations. The family approached Preservations Parks several years ago to discuss the protection of the property for public benefit.

“In addition to improving water quality and creating wildlife habitat, this stream-restoration project will provide another unique feature in McCammon Creek Park that the public will enjoy for years to come," said Preservation Parks senior park planner Matt Simpson.

Tiling and other effects of farming have degraded the quality of the stream, VanHaaften said. Restoration includes improvement of the stream banks, re-meandering a portion of the stream and the creation of a floodplain, all of which deter erosion and drainage and reduce stormwater runoff. 

“This restoration will reduce the silt and sediment and other nonpoint pollutant loads into McCammon Creek and Alum Creek,” VanHaaften said.

Calculations performed using the Ohio Department of Natural Resources load-reduction spreadsheet indicate the project will improve water quality in the Alum Creek watershed by reducing annual loads of silt and sediment by 100 tons per year, reducing nitrogen by 230 pounds per year and phosphorus by 115 pounds per year, improving overall stream quality for both McCammon and Alum creeks.

This project will improve in-stream habitat conditions, Simpson said. He also said some native species would be planted to stabilize stream banks and create additional natural appeal.

“In all, it restores the stream to a much more natural position,” he said.

The restoration project was supported by $269,000 in grant funding through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. About $182,000 in remaining costs will come from park funds generated by a 10-year 0.9-mill levy most recently approved by Delaware County voters in 2017.

Those funds also have allowed the land purchase for the park, which also has been supported by Clean Ohio Green Space grants through the state.

VanHaaften said Preservation Parks is working to purchase one final 56-acre piece of property, expected to be completed in early 2021. That final acquisition would bring the total park size to about 230 acres.

“It will be beautiful, a scenic amenity for visitors,” Simpson said.

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