Made Possible by Grants, Partnerships and the Stormwater Utility
MOUNT VERNON – In 2016, the City of Mount Vernon started taking steps to address the Kokosing River corridor along Ariel-Foundation Park and Phillips Drive. With the aid of the ODNR Scenic Rivers Program, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. EPA, Ohio EPA, Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, Shade Tree and Beautification Commission, Ariel Foundation, Foundation Park Conservancy and the Mount Vernon Stormwater Utility, the City identified three areas of degraded habitat and active erosion along the scenic Kokosing River. In March of this year the City started construction along three areas of the Kokosing River for both habitat improvement and river bank stability, which were completed by Environmental Remediation Contractor, and Tucson Inc. in June.
Three main phases of work were completed within the Armstrong Run watershed: West Lake, Norton Street and Phillips Drive. To take on these projects, the City acquired two grants and matched funds locally. The City’s Stormwater Utility contributed to the local match for an Ohio EPA 319(h) grant for $300,000, along with a $200,000 grant from the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District.
All three phases have been a great success. The phase one area at West Lake now has a reinforced raised bank built of limestone rock material that will help allow the waters between the lake and river to intermingle, which will help minimize the risk of a future breach or washout of the entire structure. Phase two along Norton Street and the East Lake has shown successful re-establishment of protective, native vegetation along the rebuilt, tiered riverbank. Phase three’s cross-vane features that were installed along the Phillips Drive riparian corridor have helped direct the river flow away from the bank to the center of the river to keep erosion to a minimum and protective vegetation growing along the newly restored bank. Below you can see the changes that have occurred for each project:
West Lake prior to construction:
West Lake approximately 3 months post construction:
Norton Street at the beginning of construction:
Norton Street approximately 2 months post construction:
Phillips Drive before construction:
Phillips Drive approximately 3 months post construction:
“The great thing about all of these projects is that they will ensure that the scenic Kokosing River and the lakes at Ariel-Foundation Park will be structurally intact for many years so that generations of residents and visitors can continue to enjoy the areas for the beautiful scenery they will establish, the recreation that will continue to be available and the aquatic habitats that they will help to sustain,” Mount Vernon Mayor Matt Starr said. “We will continue to take action in restoring the natural habitat in and around Mount Vernon, and hope that citizens will also look for ways that they can contribute to restoration and conservation efforts for the nature that surrounds us in Mount Vernon, such as participating in the river clean-up.”
Each year, Knox County Recycling and Litter Prevention organizes a river clean-up along the Kokosing and Mohican rivers and associated creeks that flow through Knox County, and this year’s clean-up is just a few weeks away on Saturday, September 18. Citizens can participate in the clean-up by joining the volunteers at the CA&C Depot on September 18 at 9:00 a.m. This event will make a huge impact not only along our local stretch of waterways but downstream as well to ensure that all connected waterways are kept clean and maintained. For more information about the river restoration project and other updates, visit mountvernonohio.org. For questions about the river clean-up event, contact Recycling Coordinator Matt Baugher at 740-393-6704.
This product or publication was financed in part or totally through a grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, under the provisions of Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act.
The contents and views, including any opinions, findings, or conclusions or recommendation, contained in this publication are those of the authors and have not been subject to any Ohio Environmental Protection Agency or United States Environmental Protection Agency peer or administrative review and may not necessarily reflect the views of either Agency, and no official endorsement should be inferred.