Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
March 22, 1996

College Creek Restoration begins

by Anne Dolan
Work began earlier this month to halt erosion and restore the banks of the segment of College Creek that winds though campus.

Phase I of the four-phase project will improve approximately 500 feet of creek bank on the east side of campus, between the west edge of Wallace Road and the east side of the large parking lot southwest of the Physical Education Building. The cost of $139,000 will be covered by end-of-year funds earmarked for the project last summer by President Martin Jischke.

The work is necessary to stop erosion of the creek bank to assure the long-term safety of facilities built near the creek. The Oak Dining Hall and eight tennis courts are close to the creek section.

Additional phases of the restoration will begin as funds become available.

"During the last 50 to 60 years, steady erosion of the bank has occurred, with floods in the last five years exacerbating the problem," said Rick Fox, an ISU landscape architect and manager of the creek restoration project.

The work will involve building up the bank using soil and a biodegradable fabric, reinforced with native plantings. The fabric will decompose in about a year, giving the plantings time to grow and mature. Various sizes of stones will be placed into the bank at existing erosion points and in the creek bed to create combinations of mini-rapids and slow pools that will disperse the energy of the moving water.

The project will require removing an estimated 40 percent of the trees that currently are growing out of the creek bank. Many of those slated for removal already have exposed roots due to erosion of the bank. Fox said the "tree canopy" along the creek should appear undisturbed.

The restoration plan was selected after an extensive study of the creek by engineers and a review of several solutions. Preserving the natural environment of College Creek, as well as its longevity as a campus asset, is the goal of the plan selected.

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