Aurora – The City of Aurora has secured funding for the Chagrin River Restoration Project that will restore and protect over a mile of the Aurora Branch of the Chagrin River. According to a news release from the EPA, the city will receive $4.7 million through the Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP). The WRRSP is part of Ohio’s Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF). It provides low-interest loans to cities and sewer districts for wastewater treatment improvements. This allows the recipients of the loan to sponsor environmental protection projects.
The funding the City of Aurora is receiving will allow them to purchase 186 acres from Aurora Golf Club. They will then “remove manmade structures, restore the river’s natural flow and floodplain, and forever protect the property from future development.” This project will protect 33 acres of forested riverbank, 14,000 feet of stream and 13 acres of high-quality wetlands.
These wetlands, in addition to being a habitat for indigenous wildlife, will also help the Aurora Branch meet water quality standards. Further, according to Mike Settles, the Ohio EPA spokesman, restoring the riparian vegetation, the plant habitats along river margins and banks, will help prevent further erosion.
Among the wetlands the City of Aurora will now be taking steps to restore are habitats classified by the EPA as Category 3 wetlands. This particular type of wetland is described as superior function and integrity, however they are difficult to recover and therefore require protection such as this restoration project.
The hope for this area is to eventually expand the State Scenic River segment of the Chagrin River to include the Aurora Branch, perhaps, Settles explained, even expanding it to upstream of State Route 84.