WVXU: Could this low-cost fix improve habitat in streams?

UC biologists investigate ways to fix urban streams

WVXU highlighted a demonstration project by biologists at the University of Cincinnati investigating low-cost ways to improve the health of urban streams.

UC biologists Michael Booth and Stephen Matter are working with the Hamilton County Conservation District on a pilot project to add heavy timber to Cooper Creek to create standing pools of water for fish and other aquatic life.

The creek flows into Mill Creek and eventually the Ohio River. Biologists and a team of volunteers placed logs in strategic places to facilitate the creation of drought-resistant pools that can support wildlife in the hottest summer months. The logs also could help slow the flow of water during heavy storms, which can threaten to wash fish and other aquatic life far downstream.

Adam Lehmann, a stream specialist with the Hamilton County Conservation District, told WVXU that the project also could discourage stream bank erosion.

"Headwater streams are critical, both from the standpoint that they are diverse, unique ecosystems in themselves that ought to be conserved," Lehmann told WVXU. "But they're also important for maintaining the biological integrity of downstream rivers."

Researchers will study the creek over the next year to see if volunteers' hard work placing the logs was effective at creating aquatic habitat.

Listen to the WVXU story.

Featured image at top: Volunteers help place heavy timber in Cooper Creek in places where the logs will not easily get washed downstream during storms. UC biologists will monitor the creek to see if the timber has the desired effect of creating wildlife habitat for fish and other aquatic life. Photo/Michael Booth