In 2016 ERC completed the design/build restoration of a 0.8-mile section of the Swan River. The 2016 project was a success story that illustrated the ability to mitigate 100 years of mining impacts on a valley that had been severely degraded including the loss of the river and devastation of the riparian corridor. Given the great success of the project, ERC was retained by Summit County to restore the adjacent upstream section of the Swan River known as Reach B.
Similar to the 2016 project (Reach A), water through Reach B ran subsurface for a majority of the year resulting in the absence of aquatic and terrestrial habitat. The design for Reach B lowered the valley to intercept the river which was running below ground. Using fluvial geomorphologic principles, a meandering river that is well connected to its floodplain was designed. The restored river included riffle/pool and plane bed bedforms and incorporated diversity of instream habitat throughout. Twenty-one acres of wetland, riparian and upland habitat was created to complement the 0.8 miles of aquatic habitat.
The project design and construction were able to be completed in a manner that did not require the import of any material for stabilization. This was accomplished by screening and sorting materials that were excavated as part of the channel and riparian zone earthworks. Finer materials were used to help ensure water remained at the surface, larger cobbles were used to create natural riffle features and stabilize banks and a variety of mid-size materials were used to create natural instream substrate including spawning beds. The ability to utilize site materials resulting in significant economic savings to the project.