Owego Creek Restoration
Owego Creek flows through Tompkins and Tioga Counties within the Southern Tier of New York State. The creek flows from north to south, draining an area of approximately 185 square miles before emptying into the Susquehanna River in the Village of Owego. Owego Creek is part of the Susquehanna River Basin and Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Over the past eighteen years, Owego Creek has experienced three major flooding events: January 1995, June 2008 and most recently, August through September 2011 as a result of Hurricanes Irene and Lee. As a result of these events, the banks of Owego Creek have suffered significant erosion and degradation. Streambed displacement has also occurred, causing the loss of trees and other vegetation. The bulk of the streambed damage on Owego Creek is located just north of the Village of Owego. One such damaged segment is just downstream from the bridge carrying Park Settlement Road over the creek.
In 2009, the Millennium Pipeline project cut a path through the bedrock underlying Owego Creek within this segment just downstream of the Park Settlement Road bridge. While some remediation was undertaken when the pipeline was completed, certain requests and suggestions from municipal entities were not met, including the addition of “J-hook” structures to be placed in the creek above the Millennium right-of-way. As a result, the massive force caused by the flooding in the advent of Hurricane Irene displaced and scattered the heavy stone intended to prevent erosion. The pipeline itself was compromised. Within a few yards of the pipeline, flooding caused significant damage to the steep, eroding bank of exposed soil in an adjacent cornfield; knocked down large trees and scoured the banks of stabilizing vegetation.
This high water event widened Owego Creek far beyond its’ most recent pattern of flow. Silt, stones, trees and other debris were also deposited in this area, further altering and slowing the flow of the creek.
Embrace-A-Stream funding for this project will assist in the restoration of the Park Settlement Road segment of the Owego Creek Restoration Project through the addition of logs, rocks, root wads, J-hooks and plantings. These additions will provide structure, bank stabilization (toe-wood structures) and shade. This will result in the restoration of an exceptional habitat for salmonid species, specifically Eastern brook trout. This area has been an exceptional habitat and can once again provide enjoyable fishing year round.
The work is planned for the spring of 2014. Pictures of the work will be posted on this website once the work has been completed.