Stabilized streambanks are important factors for both a healthy habitat for organisms and good water quality. Streambanks are naturally stabilized by structures such as rocks and tree roots. However, if the streambank is not protected, high flows of water can cause severe erosion of the bank. This causes sediment to wash into the stream and coat the stream bottom, harming sensitive macroinvertebrates. Additionally, a healthy riparian zone-- the land on either side of a stream-- will mitigate the effects of flooding.
While there are several sites throughout the watershed with unstable streambanks, FODC is currently focusing on one problem area within Marilla Park. This area has seen a great deal of erosion and flooding in the past, and currently has portions of the streambank unprotected by trees. Thanks to the help of the Morgantown Board of Parks and Recreation (BOPARC), WV Land Trust, the Division of Forestry's Mountaineer Treeway Program, and many volunteers, FODC has planted over 100 tree saplings along Deckers Creek at Marilla Park.
In addition to tree plantings, FODC was awarded a 2018 grant from the Department of Environmental Protection to take further steps to restore the streambank in Marilla Park. In order to restore this area as a public asset and create an ecologically habitable area, FODC will work with engineers to stabilize Marilla Park’s stream banks. Because Marilla Park is heavily trafficked, FODC also plans to use this project as an opportunity engage the public in water quality issues by incorporating educational components into the rebuilding of the stream bank.