Charlottesville Celebrates Completion of Meadow Creek Restoration
Charlottesville is celebrating the completion of the largest environmental restoration initiative in the city's history. The Nature Conservancy and the city have finished restoring nearly two miles of Meadow Creek.
The restoration stretches from Hydraulic Road through Greenbrier Park. The project has been seven years in the making. Construction officially began in May 2012 and wrapped up in March 2013.
Dan Frisbee, Charlottesville's environmental and stormwater program coordinator said, "This restoration project is one of the most significant environmental improvement projects this community has seen or will see for many years to come."
The initiative focused on revamping a degraded stream system that had been worn away by the surrounding environment.
"[The Meadow Creek] sits in a watershed that's very developed," said Frisbee. "There's lots of hard surfaces in the watershed - parking lots, rooftops - and when it rains, all that water runs off those surfaces because it can't infiltrate into those hard surfaces. It comes into Meadow Creek and ends up having some really significant erosion issues."
The restoration project improves wildlife habitats and creek stability.
Frisbee said, "What we tried to do is come in and restore this system to a healthy system where we reinstated some meanders or some curves into the stream to try and slow down that water and prevent it from causing such erosion, grade back the steep banks so that they were nice and gentle and that the water could come out of the stream and access its flood."
Project leaders say the improvements have ultimately created a better environment for the public to enjoy.
"One of the aspects of this project that we're really excited about is providing the community with a place, a real natural treasure in the community that they can come to, kind of get away while still being in the city," said Frisbee
About 75 acres of land makes up the entire restoration area. The city of Charlottesville also added 40 new acres of parkland as a result of this project.
The Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund paid for the almost $3.95 million effort. This includes all the design work, the construction, and 10 years of post-construction monitoring done by the Nature Conservancy.
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