CITIZENS FOR YELLOW CREEK
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A WATERSHED IS A PLACE
It is an area of land in which all the water or snowmelt drains to a single stream, river, or lake.
A WATERSHED IS ALSO A SYSTEM
It is a complex system of interactions between the land, water, plants, animals, and man-made elements that exist within its boundaries. Those interactions clean the water and support the habitat that, in turn, supports life.
The Watershed Book A citizen's guide to healthy streams and clean water, written by the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization
DOWNLOAD PDF HERE
THE YELLOW CREEK WATERSHED IS LOCATED NORTHWEST OF AKRON AND SOUTH OF CLEVELAND, OHIO.
Yellow Creek and its North Fork are about 17 miles long. The watershed covers 31 square miles. Yellow Creek drains east into the Cuyahoga River and is one of 26 watersheds in the Cuyahoga basin.
The southern edge of the Yellow Creek Watershed designates the continental divide. The water in the adjacent Wolf Creek Watershed flows south to the Ohio River and eventually to the Gulf of Mexico.
The boundaries of municipalities are often straight and follow roadways. Watersheds follow the contours of the land and drain from higher to lower areas. Much of the head waters of Yellow Creek are located in Richfield, Granger, Sharon, Copley, and Fairlawn. Land usage in one municipality can have a great effect on the adjacent township, city, or village. This makes the control of the health of the watershed difficult.
WATERSHED HEALTH IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE:
Watersheds are delicate environments which can be damaged easily by careless development. However, use of our land is inevitable. Poorly designed land use is expensive! It can lead to:
Increased risk of erosion to and flooding in downstream communities as well as up-stream areas;
Increased public health risks from poor water quality;
Increased costs for dredging and sediment disposal in the navigation channel;
Poor water quality impacting aquatic life.
IMPERVIOUS SURFACES: Impervious surfaces are inevitable given development. Roof tops, paved drives, roadways and parking lots cannot be avoided. How we handle the runoff from these impervious surfaces becomes the problem. Large expanses of lawns are also considered impervious. The root system in these lawns is so shallow that most rain water runs off instead of soaking deeply into the ground.
NON-POINT SOURCE POLLUTION: Non-point Source Pollution happens when rain runs off farmland, city streets, construction sites, and suburban lawns, roofs and driveways and enters waterways. Runoff during a storm collects pollutants such as lawn chemicals, pet waste, automotive fluids, household solvents, dirt and debris. If not filtered through treatment plants or naturally through the ground, these pollutants end up in our local streams and lakes. Polluted runoff is the nation's greatest threat to clean water as was experienced in recent years with the algae bloom in western Lake Erie.
RAIN EVENTS: Heavy rain events such as the ones experienced locally in 2011 and 2014 are becoming more common,demonstrates the need for all watershed residents to help slow storm water by keeping as much as possible on their properties to filter through the ground not funnel off quickly. [ IF NOT, CHANGE THIS SECTION TO READ: The flooding and damage from such rain events necessitates the need for all watershed residents to help slow storm water by keeping as much of it as possible on their properties, allowing it to filter through the ground not funnel off quickly.
FAILING SEPTIC SYSTEMS: Many areas in the Yellow Creek Watershed are not sewered, so homes and businesses in those communities depend on septic systems; however, failing septic systems may cause serious pollution and health problems not to mention, great expense to the home owner. The solution can be as simple as regular maintenance of those systems.
LOSS OF WOODED AREAS AND NATURAL UNDERGROWTH: Development often results in the conversion of wooded areas to impervious surfaces, buildings, and lawns, all of which are poor at detaining storm water. Where practical, preservation or restoration of wooded areas will help control runoff.