With the first phase of the Northend Greenway complete, stream restoration work along Mount Clinton Pike is well underway.
Construction began in August and is expected to be completed in January or February, according to Kip Mumaw from Ecosystem Services, the principal engineer on the project.
Momentum Earthworks and Ecosystem Services have been leading the efforts to improve Blacks Run, which runs along the new Northend Greenway.
The first phase of the trail, which is 0.6 miles, opened between Mount Clinton Pike and Suter Street on Sept. 4.
The stream restoration project will reduce phosphorous, nitrogen and sediment runoff.
Mumaw said the project covers about 3,137 linear feet.
The project has been a long time coming. Mumaw said his company first walked the stream and looked into potential changes in 2012.
The design part of the project occurred in 2017-18 and construction began in August.
“What we look into is instability in areas due to channel erosions and streambank erosions,” he said. “So the stream restoration efforts are, in large, working to halt the streambank erosion.”
Streambank erosion is the process of soil being detached from the banks along waterways.
The point of the stream restoration work is to improve the function of degraded ecosystems impacted from urban development or agriculture.
“We saw the opportunity to work on Blacks Run while accomplishing more recreational and transportation benefits to the city,” Mumaw said in reference to the Northend Greenway.
To fix the streambank erosion, the companies will use plants and natural materials to control and stabilize the streambanks.
Fencing out cattle and getting them away from the stream is another part of the project.
All of the angles to the project result in creating a new stream channel that will move water upstream without eroding vertically or laterally, Mumaw said.
“It reconnects the stream with the floodplain, which reduces energy and ecological benefits on water quality improvements,” he said.
The restoration will enable Blacks Run to handle floodwaters better, enable infiltration of contaminated stormwater and not allow pollutants from construction, agricultural or urban land to get in the stream.
The project will cost $1.4 million and will be fully paid by local funds, according to Michael Parks, Harrisonburg’s director of communications. It is anticipated to be completed in the spring.
The city is also working on a stream restoration project along Mountain View Drive to improve a waterway due to exposed utilities and loss of soil.
Around 1,730 linear feet of stream between Eastover Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Way will be restored.
The total cost for the project is around $1.4 million, according to Parks. Of that, $833,668 is local funds.
The city received $583,669 from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s Stormwater Local Assistance Fund and was required to match the amount for the project.
The design and right-of-way acquisition is underway, Parks said. Construction is expected to start in September 2020 and end in the spring of 2021.