CCC Research Partners Investigate How Buried Sewer Pipes may be Drying-Out Our Creek
Our research partners at the Environmental Protection Agency have installed a network of water sensors in a section of the Creek (at Bechtold Park) that may be draining into an underlying sanitary sewer infrastructure. This sensor network, monitoring both stream flow and groundwater level below the streambed, indicates that the stream is losing water in the direction of the sewer pipe; however, preliminary analysis of flow data from within the pipe does not suggest that the water is getting into the pipe itself. One possibility is that the creek water is being drained through the "graveled trench" within which the pipe was installed - think "French drain affect". It is not yet clear where the water ultimately ends-up (in the pipe further downstream? groundwater? back in stream further down slope?). Whether the stream is being "drained" by the pipe or by a "French drain affect", is a very important question for restoring a healthy aquatic wildlife community to our creek because sanitary sewer pipes underlie Cooper Creek through it's entire length (from Bechtold Park to the Mill Creek)! Read about EPA's studyhere.
As a follow up to this work, our research partners at the University of Cincinnati have recently received funding from the Ohio Water Resources Center to employ multiple types of "geophysical techniques" to assess where the water may be going. The hope is that this work will result in the development of a "rapid assessment method" to identify if and where the "French drain affect" is impacting other dry sections of Cooper Creek.
The Collaborative is currently investigating potential options for mitigating this impact if the "French drain affect" is shown to be a major driver of "hydrologic alteration" in our creek.
CCC Partners & Deer Park HS Teacher Use New Rain Garden to Teach Science Concepts
Using the school's new rain garden (read more about the rain garden further down in this feed), our partners at Environmental Protection Agency, American Geosciences Institute, and Hamilton County Conservation District worked with a Science Teacher at Deer Park High School to develop a multiday lesson plan to teach students concepts in hydrology and local conservation. Read more about this novel lesson plan here.
You can also view a poster presentation of the project (that was delivered at a regional conference of the Geological Society of America) here.
Deer Park High School Rain Garden Installed : Restoring our creek & educating our students
The Cooper Creek Collaborative (a group of organizations working to restore the Cooper Creek) and Green Umbrella (a regional sustainability alliance for the Greater Cincinnati area) have teamed up to install a rain garden at Deer Park Jr/Sr High School. The rain garden will reduce the impact of the School’s footprint on Cooper Creek and serve as an educational tool to teach students about hydrology, ecology, and how human activities can impact our local environment. The rain garden was funded with a grant Green Umbrella received from the Duke Energy Foundation. It was installed by staff from OKI Regional Council of Governments, Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati, Mill Creek Alliance, and Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).
The rain garden was designed by the SWCD’s Stream Specialist and Coordinator of the Cooper Creek Collaborative. The rain garden is located between the tennis courts and the back-parking lot of the school. It captures stormwater runoff coming from three tennis courts and allows the rainwater to slowly soak into the ground, rather than flowing straight into the storm sewer system which would quickly route the water to Cooper Creek, contributing to highly erosive flashy urban flows in the creek (to learn more about this problem visit www.CooperCreek.org). The native plants in the rain garden were carefully selected to maximize the proportion of the year when flowers and fruit are available to pollinators and other wildlife.
One of the SWCD’s educators will work with Deer Park science teachers to develop lesson plans that utilize the rain garden to make abstract concepts observable and relatable. The rain garden will serve as a reminder of these lessons as students continue to see it from day-to-day and year-to-year. Students can recreate aspects of the design process for applied lessons in hydrology and geometry. The native vegetation in the rain garden will create opportunities for lessons in ecology and how human alteration of the landscape impacts the wildlife who are able to survive in these landscapes (e.g. birds and insects). Additionally, Green Umbrella is working on creating a permanent educational sign to be installed beside the rain garden, so the education component can extend beyond the classroom and into the community.