Riffle and pool sequences and riparian vegetation are necessary components for successful natural channel design implementations. The Town Branch project will restore approximately 7,000 feet of stream, complete with a 100-foot vegetated corridor. If you aren’t familiar with the location of Town Branch, it drains downtown Winchester, flows through the industrial park and eventually runs into Strodes Creek just before the wastewater treatment plant on Van Meter Road.
We were fortunate to get this restoration project at no cost to the city or county governments. This project is fully funded through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) through their stream mitigation program. When KYTC builds a road or highway in Kentucky and causes unavoidable impacts to wetlands and streams, the impacts fall under the Clean Water Act and require authorization from the US Army Corps of Engineers in the form of a Section 404 permit. Since the goal of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act is to replace aquatic habitat lost from the activity, KYTC is obligated to perform compensatory mitigation for lost wetland and stream resources.
The KYTC could have chosen any stream in the Licking River watershed in which to work but they chose Town Branch. We can be proud of that! The Strodes Creek Conservancy will be holding a stream celebration and opportunity to view the completed project in the summer of 2012. We’ll let you know when the date and time are as the event draws nearer. We hope you’ll come see the completed project!