Funds to help improve water quality at Governor Bebb park

Conceptual designing for the project will begin next month.

MetroParks of Butler County has been given $488,938 from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to improve the water quality at Governor Bebb MetroPark in Okeana.

The grant, awarded through the H2Ohio program, will help with streambank stabilization efforts.

The streambank surrounding Dry Fork Creek in Governor Bebb MetroPark is eroding, which infiltrates the water quality, degrades the Creek’s streambank and destroys natural habitats.

Dry Fork Creek is also near a primary road that leads to a park campground. If the streambank continues to erode, it will eventually begin to degrade the infrastructure and inconvenience campers.

“This project speaks to both environmental sustainability as well as financial sustainability and the sustainability of infrastructure,” said Katie Ely-Wood, supervisor of community and public relations with MetroParks of Butler County. “If we can get ahead on the erosion issues before it starts impacting the road and any other kind of park infrastructure we have in the back half of the park, that’s going to make great financial sense for us as a park district. We want to be able to prevent the issues before they become really expensive fixes.”

The goal of the grant is to improve park sustainability which will stop erosion, support park infrastructure, lower stream sedimentation and purify water quality.

In 2022, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cited stream siltation/sedimentation as one of the main causes for poor water quality in the state.

“We are excited to put this funding from Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio program to work at Governor Bebb MetroPark to improve water quality and preserve our infrastructure for the long term,” Matt Latham, park planner for the MetroParks of Butler County, said.

To combat streambank erosion, invasive plant species will be removed from the area, the streambank will be restored, wetland areas will be created to collect storm water and in-stream structures will be installed to redirect water away from the banks.

“I think it’s really cool that we’re able to get in front of an issue that could really significantly impact the waterway of Dry Fork Creek,” Ely-Wood said. “The grant funding is really going to allow this project to get started, and I think the more we can do to be good environmental stewards, especially as a park district that is focused on maintaining and preserving green spaces, is really critical.”

Conceptual designing for the project will begin next month with continued planning throughout the fall. Construction is tentatively set to begin in the summer of 2023.

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