HUDSON: It took 10 years, but the dreams of two Hudson High School teachers came true on Monday.
Science teachers Christine DiCato-Thaxton and Matt Kearns played key roles in an $800,000 project to restore a section of stream near Hudson High School and to turn the 2,000-foot stream into a new hands-on land laboratory for school classes.
A celebration was held on Monday to mark the completion of the project along an unnamed tributary that flows through the high school campus into Tinkers Creek.
Partners involved in the festivities were the Hudson schools, the city of Hudson, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the Summit Soil and Water Conservation District, the Tinkers Creek Watershed Partners and the Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan.
Much of the stream work was done by Biohabitats and Meadville Land Services.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Health in 2009 got a $329,208 federal grant from the Ohio EPA. The city of Hudson provided $250,000. The school board donated the land.
The once-degraded stream drains Hudson neighborhoods and runs under the Ohio Turnpike and south of Aurora Hudson Road west of the high school. It had been ditched in the early 1900s. It was roughly 4 feet deep with steep banks.
Construction began in June and was completed in August, with plantings by students completed earlier this month.
A flood plain was created along the stream with more than 13,000 cubic yards of sediment being removed. Some created an earthen berm next to the turnpike on the high school athletic fields and the rest helped level off parts of the athletic fields.
About a dozen rock weirs were added to the stream to slow the water and create low-lying wetlands to help improve water quality. Improving riparian habitat was also a goal. Sediments and nutrients will drop out of the water and not create problems downstream.
The stream is now capable of storing up to 2 million gallons of stormwater that would otherwise be added to the flow downstream in heavy storm events. That was a key attraction for the city, said Mayor William Currin.
In general, the stream is from 10 to 20 feet wide and up to 2 feet in the pools.
Six different habitats, including wet meadows and forested wetlands, were added along the stream.
More than 2,000 plants including trees, shrubs, willow plugs and other vegetation were planted by students and volunteers.
The trees are covered by plastic tubing to keep white-tailed deer away. Bits of dog hair are attached to the tubes so that the deer avoid the trees.
A trail is planned along with benches, kiosks and six educational stations for biology classes.
Students Annie Scott, 17, and Elizabeth Reichert, 18, both seniors, were happy to get involved in the project and very satisfied with the outcome.
They said they were looking forward to the vegetation growing and more fish and aquatic insects returning to the stream.
The stream may also get a name. That is in the works but no decision on a name has been made yet, Kearns said.
DiCato-Thaxton and Kearns said it took a lot of work to get the project funded and completed. She said four high school principals and three superintendents were involved over the years.
Bob Downing can be reached at email@example.com or 330-996-3745.