April Program: Westlake Watershed Group
Wesley M. Davis, Engineer and head of the City of Westlake’s Watershed Group, addressed the WGC at its April 17 meeting. Wes first reviewed past initiatives, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948 and the Clean Water Act of 1972. In 2003 the City initiated Stream Restoration Projects, beginning with a Board of Health study that determine the water in our creeks and streams was badly contaminated. The City has six major creeks/watersheds (Cahoon, Porter, Schwartz, Sperry, Wischmeyer and Wolf) that flow into Lake Erie. These creeks and their tributaries comprise over 100 miles of waterways that are fed by 150 miles of storm sewers. They collect water run-off from parking lots, roadways, buildings and landscape areas. During urbanization, riparian buffers have been removed allowing contaminants to flow freely into our streams. Preventing debris, fertilizers, oils and chemicals from contaminating storm water and eventually reaching the lake is the goal of the City and the Watershed Group.
Wetland projects in the Southbridge Circle and Columbia Creek areas have been completed. The Dover Ditch project started in 2017 created 20 acres of wetland preserve at Crocker and Center Ridge Roads. This project will reduce flooding in the Cahoon Creek Watershed. Wes showed us amazing slides of the “before” and “after” of this project. Over 100,000 cu. yds. of soil and debris were hauled off this site. The stream channel has been re‑established, three settling ponds have been added, and trees and other native flora added. A walking path and viewing platform is available for visitors.
The City’s Engineering Department in conjunction with the Watershed Group also promotes sustainability by promoting the use of rain barrels, organic fertilizers, other GoGreen ideas, and by sponsoring an annual Rain and Garden Show held at Crocker Park, at which our members participate. An ongoing project in conjunction with the Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District, is reviewing for compliance all detention basins in the City, both public and privately owned, numbering over 350. Grants have been applied for the Point West and Woodpath upcoming projects.
In sum, Wes’ presentation was very informative, and we are proud of the City of Westlake’s efforts to clean and restore our waterways.