Table of Contents
Table of Figures
Table of Tables
Land development overtime has caused a change to the watershed of Bishop Creek in Oklahoma, with the banks, at several locations, showing signs of significant erosion. Bank stabilization and waterflow improvement methods are proposed to repair the degrading conditions of Bishop Creek. Additionally, maintenance and community involvement projects are also presented to keep the restored area from deteriorating and maintain awareness. The following sections will give a description of the site area, general information on restoration techniques, details on the proposed improvement design, and additional supporting material such as maintenance and educational plans.
This project was developed as a response to the Bishop Creek Restoration Project (BCRP) introduced by the Friends of Bishop Creek and Blue Thumb organizations. The main goals of the BCRP include the reduction of bank erosion and improvement of water quality while meeting the community’s needs. Additionally, improvements should support and improve the wildlife habitat, and present educational opportunities. The project will feature a pollinator garden, nature trails, and areas of native vegetation, including native grasslands and riparian buffer zones. Restoration methods are constrained by the area of the adjacent park, resources from the City of Norman and potential investors, as well as the overall aesthetics.
Bishop Creek Neighborhood is located in the central portion of the City of Norman, Oklahoma (35.215˚ N and -97.429˚ W). It encompasses an area of 1 square mile (mi2) and its political boundaries are defined by Alameda Street, Boyd Street, 12th Avenue SE and Oklahoma Avenue. (north, south, east and west, respectively). According to the City of Norman Bishop Creek Neighborhood Plan, the land use inside this neighborhood has been designated as low density residential (approximately 80%), high density residential (approximately 5%), commercial (approximately 3%) floodplain (approximately 7%) and parks (approximately 5%). This means that the landscape of the area is heavily predominated by impervious surfaces (driveways, sidewalks, and roads).
This area is also home to Bishop Creek (Figure 1), and the adjacent recreational area, Eastwood Park (Figure 2). The headwaters begin north of Robinson St. and flow through the city several miles to the Canadian River, critical in storm water direction and flow. The quality of the water, however, as described by the Blue Thumb Report (2015), is in a generally poor condition. The physical habitat score as of June 29, 2012 was 72.4 compared to 77.6 for the Central Great Plains. The high quality in-stream cover provided by fallen tree limbs and other debris provides excellent cover for aquatic organisms (Smith et al., 2015). The canopy cover provided by the overhead tree establishment is also considered to be of good quality; however, many other factors within the stream still classify this area to be in a less than desirable condition.
Physically, the creek is subject to erosion and the bank stability and bank vegetation stability are major areas of concern. The stream is also rather channelized and lacks sinuosity only furthering the concerns of erosion. Biologically and chemically, Bishop Creek is not in an ideal condition. A lack of species richness and diversity adds to the overall inadequate quality of the stream. The water quality is also in rather poor condition with major concerns on dissolved oxygen (DO), phosphorus (P), and nitrogen (N) levels. Over the years, anthropogenic development and alteration of the riparian ecosystem has caused serious detriment to this stream.
Bishop Creek’s Watershed has a contributing drainage area of 1.85 mi2 (StreamStats, 2017) and is roughly bound between Robinson Street to Boyd Street vertically and Classen Boulevard to Alameda Park horizontally (Figure 3). The average elevation inside the watershed is 1180 feet (ft.) with an approximate elevation change of 37.6 feet. per mile (ft./mi) (StreamStats, 2017). Furthermore, 89% of the land in this area is classified as developed (NLCD, 2001).
Monthly flow duration data gathered from StreamStats (2017) is shown in Table 1 and Figure 4. Average daily streamflow is 1.27 cubic feet per second (cfs) with 2 and 5-year peak flood flow velocities of 302 and 634 cfs, respectively (StreamStats, 2017). From Figure 4 it can be observed that the month of April is the wettest month of the year (maximum flow of 1.18 cfs), while July and August can be considered the driest moths of the year (maximum of 0.1 cfs).
Figure 5 presents the soil composition and distribution performed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) 10.5 acres around Bishop Creek. Additionally, Table 2 presents a summary of the soil distribution and its respective area of coverage.
|Name||Map Unit Symbol||Acres in AOI||% of AOI|
From Figure 5, it can be observed that inside the Area of Interested (AOI), the USDA – NRCS has identified three soil units, (1) Norge-Ashport (unit symbol 33), (2) Kirkland Urban-Pawhuska (unit symbol 49) and (3) Norge-Urban land (unit symbol 86). These soil units consist of one or more major or miscellaneous soil series (USDA, 2017).
The Bishop Creek main channel and surrounding area is composed by Norge and Ashport series (33) (Figure 6) (62.4% of the AOI). The Norge series “consists of very deep, well drained, moderately slowly permeable upland soils that formed in loamy alluvium of Pleistocene age. Slopes range from 0 to 8 percent. Mean annual temperature is 61°F, and mean annual precipitation is 34 inches” (USDA, 2016a). Table 3 presents typical soil profiles for the Norge series.
Table 3. Norge Series Soil Profile
|Horizon||Increment (cm)||Soil Type|
|BA||30-46||Silty clay loam|
|Bt1||46-91||Silty clay loam|
|Bt2||91-122||Silty clay loam|
|Bt3||122-167||Silty clay loam|
The Ashport series “consists of very deep, well drained soils that formed in loamy alluvium of Holocene age. These soils are on flood plains along small streams. Slopes range from 0 to 3 percent. Mean annual precipitation is about 33.0 inches, and the mean annual air temperature is about 61°F” (USDA, 2016b). Typical soil profiles for the Ashport series are shown in Table 4.
|Horizon||Increment (cm)||Soil Type|
|Ap||0-13||Silty clay loam|
|A||13-41||Silty clay loam|
|Bw||41-91||Silty clay loam|
The remaining 37.6% of the AOI in composed of Kirkland Urban-Pawhuska (49) and Norge-Urban land (86), 14.7% and 22.9% respectively (Figure 7). The Kirkland Urban series is composed of various soil textures, covered by streets, parking lots buildings and other structures. Slopes range from one to 5 percent with high runoff rates (USDA, 2017). The Pawhuska series is composed of moderately well drained, very slowly permeable soils that formed predominantly in clayey material (USDA, 2016c).
The Norge series is composed of deep, well-drained, moderately slowly permeable upland soils that formed in loamy alluvium of Pleistocene age (USDA, 2016a). The Urban land series is composed of various soil textures, covered by streets, parking lots buildings and other structures (USDA, 2017).
Bishop Creek receives an average of 38.8 inches of rainfall per year (in./yr), with the wettest months being May to June (US Climate Data, 2017). The winter months, November through February, receive the least amount of precipitation on average. Furthermore, over 50% of the annual rainfall comes from thunderstorms that are most likely to occur in the months of May-June (Weather Spark, 2017). The annual average temperature for the Bishop Creek area is 60.0°F with an annual average high of 71.1°F and an annual average low of 49.0°F (US Climate Data, 2017). Wind speeds over this area rarely exceed 27 miles per hour (mph.) and normally range from 0 to 21 mph (Weather Spark, 2017). September has the lowest average daily wind speeds while highest average daily wind speeds occur within March and April (Weather Spark, 2017). The winds most often occur from the South or North direction (Weather Spark, 2017).
Bishop Creek’s vegetation is reflective of a more urban/suburban park setting in Oklahoma (Figure 8), rather than the native vegetation of the landscape type and region. The ecoregion which Norman, Oklahoma falls in is known as the Central Oklahoma/Texas Plains, ecoregion 29. It is characterized as the transition zone between large eastern forests and grasslands to the west, also known as the Cross Timbers (OFS, 2010). Bishop Creek is noticeably absent of almost all the dominant native species for the region and instead showcases larger, mature, trees which shade the banks, and smaller riparian trees and shrubs in more open areas. The Eastwood Park section of the creek is dominated by non-native grasses and park friendly trees, which have been allowed to grow to a mature status. Post Oak (Quercus stellata) and Blackjack Oak (Q. marilandica) are generally smaller trees which do not meet the aesthetic appeal of park managers and visitors. For this reason, many of the trees which exist within Eastwood Park would not be naturally present in such numbers.
The area on both sides of Bishop Creek, within Eastwood Park, has been designated a no-mow zone. Because of this, vegetation has been allowed to grow to higher levels than in other portions of the park, leading to an increase of usage of the vegetation by birds and wildlife species. However, the dominant vegetation, which has grown in this area since the time of implementation of the no-mow zone, has been Johnson Grass (Sorghum halepense). This is an invasive species from the Mediterranean region which spreads rapidly and will out-compete most other grasses, it is also listed as a noxious weed in many states (USDA, 2017).
Ecological restoration is “the process of assisting in the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed” (SER, 2002). This process involves the manipulation of physical conditions: climate, habitat, soil chemistry, temperature, and sunlight, as well as biological conditions: plants, animals, or microorganisms, in order to eliminate or reduce threats of an ecosystem and accelerate its recovery (Alexander et al., 2011). Ecological restoration activities should be “ecologically efficient, methodologically and economically efficient and socio-culturally engaging” (CPC, 2008). Effective ecological restoration creates a self-sustaining ecosystem that is capable of enduring normal as well as stress events and conditions to the same extent as its reference ecosystem (SER, 2002).
Ecological restoration planning requires a series of steps to evaluate alternatives, define end states, report progress, and perform environmental analysis and evaluation (Nestler et al., 2010).
The Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) provides a set of parameters that should be considered to produce a successful restoration project. These parameters include:
- Description of why the restoration is needed
- Ecological description of the area for restoration
- Goals and objectives of the restoration project
- Designation of the reference ecosystem
- Plans and schedules for the tasks
- Monitoring procedures by which the project can be evaluated
A stream channel is a route of flowing water that carries sediments, energy, and vegetation within a stream bank (Figure 9) (Mitsch and Jorgensen, 2004). Over time, stream channels are constantly adjusting in shape and size in response to streamflow, quantity of sediment load, slope of the areas they cross, land use and cover of the surrounding watershed, and stream bank erosion (DeFries et al., 2004; Alexander et al., 2007; Jason et al., 2015). Channel size and water velocity are determined by the size and topography of the respective watershed (Mitsch and Jorgensen, 2004). Natural stream channel shape can be determined by factors such as the streamflow and sediment load (Jason et al., 2015). Most natural channels however, are “asymmetrical at bends and trapezoidal in straight stretches” (Allan and Castillo, 2007). Furthermore, stream channels can be described by their sinuosity, meandering or braided pattern (Wang and Li, 2011).
Soil erosion within a streambed is defined as the detachment of soil particles from the streambed or stream banks by the movement of water (USDA, 1992). Erosion can occur from increased water velocity, rainfall, runoff, and high bank slopes. Soils that have greater infiltration rates and higher organic content are less likely to be eroded, while clays and sands are more likely to be moved by the water (Ritter, 2015). Stream bank erosion can have many negative effects and can cause bank failure, impair the water quality of the stream, and compromise infrastructure such as bridges and roads (Wynn et al., 2006). As a response, stream bank stabilization traditionally involves the use of riprap lining the streambed and bank to serve as a reinforcing barrier and prevent the erosion of the bank soil (City of Portland, 2017).
Natural bank stabilization practices involve the introduction of plant species that root easily and will thus hold the soil in place over a reasonable time frame (City of Portland, 2017). Natural erosion control often involves the use of soil bioengineering erosion best management practices. Soil bioengineering utilizes living and nonliving plant materials to prevent erosion and bank failure. Such methods include the use of live stakes, live fascines, bush layers, and brush mattresses (City of Portland, 2017).
Live stakes are branch cuttings that are often taken from dogwood or willow tree species (City of Portland, 2017). These branches have all their smaller twigs removed and are pushed into the ground (Figure 11). The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recommends that a cutting of three feet is taken, and then inserted into the ground up to a depth of 2 feet (USDA, n.d.). As the branches grow, the roots that help hold the soil in place also grow. Live stakes provide a natural bank stabilization, are relatively inexpensive, can be installed quickly, and provide habitat for riparian species.
Live fascines are long bundles of plant cuttings and roots braided together (City of Portland, 2017). Like live stakes, live fascines also use dogwood and willow species that grow easily in riparian areas. The long, braid-like bundle is placed and secured parallel to the stream (Figure 11) (USDA, 1992). As the plants grow, the roots help to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion. These fascines can also be placed parallel to each other along the stream bank to further enhance the bank stability. Live fascines are inexpensive, provide bank protection and stabilization, while also preventing slope erosion by slowing down runoff from the floodplain.
The method of brush layers utilizes live branch cuttings to stabilize the stream bank and slope. This process is different from live fascines as the live cuttings are placed into the soil horizontally. This design is especially effective in steep slopes where the bank has been cut away (IDNR, 2006).
Brush mattresses are layers of branches and roots that are secured to the bank. They blanket the bank slope and the plant roots secure the soil as they grow, preventing erosion (Figure 12). This design is effective in streams with high water velocity as it helps to trap sediment while providing immediate bank cover (City of Portland, 2017).
To prevent sediment transport within streams, structures can be installed to prevent sediment loss. These structures, if installed properly, have the potential to decrease near bank velocities, maintain channel capacity, provide passage across the stream, and improve fish habitat (Rosgen, 2004). Cross vanes and J-Hook vanes are all flow structures that prevent streambed and bank erosion, while enhancing stream stability (Rosgen, 2004).
Cross vanes are a series of rocks or boulders that are formed across the stream in an upside down “U” shape. This shape deflects flow from the banks and moves the water towards the center of channel, preventing bank erosion (Rosgen, 2004). The rocks may form a small waterfall at the center of the stream. This design is also used for grade control and to prevent streambed erosion, since sediment builds up behind the frame (Rosgen, 2004). Figure 13 presents a diagram of a typical cross vane structure with the direction of water flow.
- J-Hook Vanes
A J-hook vane is another formation of rocks configured in the shape of an upside down “J” (Rosgen, 2004). The bottom part of the “J” runs along the side of the channel while the curve of the letter is located in the middle of the stream. The curved portion serves to direct flow to the middle of the channel and dissipate the streams energy. Like cross vanes, the J-hook is designed to collect sediment from upstream durring high flow events. The “hole” created in the middle of the “J” can also provide benificial habitat for fish (Rosgen, 2004). Figure 14 presents a diagram of a J-hook vane with the direction of water flow.
These designs can also act as bridges for people and animals to cross the stream, allowing unique access which can be beneficial in parks and recreational areas. The vane can be constructed with flat rocks or large boulders to allow for a more stable footpath-crossing for people while still maintaining its engineering function. Figure 15 shows a footpath that could double as a cross vane or J-hook to allow easy acess to the water.
A local stream restoration in the City of Norman, OK was performed at Brookhaven Creek (Figure 16-a). The project “is designed to reduce flooding and create a wetland” (OK Conservation, 2010) stretching over a half mile focus area. Large rocks have been installed to prevent erosion and improve grade stabilization, while several thousand trees, shrubs, and other small plants will be placed to form a wetland. This wetland is intended to help detain storm water runoff and filter fertilizers, oils, and other pollutants.
Other projects in the state of Oklahoma include Cow Creek in Stillwater, OK (Figure 17-b) and twelve separate sites on the Illinois River watershed in Tahlequah, OK. These sites face problems of erosion along the stream banks and by extension, increased sedimentation. Methods used to address these issues are re-sloping of vertical bands and planting of native vegetation to stabilize the banks. As discussed by Fleming & Vogel (n.d) and addressed in previous sections, “Installation of various types of rock vanes and root wads within the stream channel is another way to help reduce erosion and improve water quality.”
Figure 17 presents the energy/emergy diagram for the interactions happening inside Bishop Creek. The boundary of this diagram has been defined as Bishop Creek. From Figure 17 it can be observed that most of the interactions that happens inside the creek is driven by the various water types (rain, runoff and creek water). For example, if the water quality in the creek is low, the number of producers that are present in it is reduced, meaning that the number of consumers also decreases and this affects nutrient and biomass retentions as well as species diversity inside and outside the creek. Therefore, it is imperative to establish a healthy environment in the creek to make the system more productive.
After completing a series of visits to Bishop Creek, it has been identified that the major problems in the creek are:
- Erosion/bank stability (Figure 18, Figure 19, and Figure 20)
- Elevated nutrients in water
- In-channel stream habitat (Figure 21 and Figure 22),
- Main channel drainage (Figure 23 and Figure 24).
In order to address these problems, the following design is composed by four phases (Figure 25 and Figure 26): bank stabilization, stream erosion prevention, in-stream wetland creation, and creation of a retention pond that will solve the problems in the creek. At the same time, and as requested by some of the entities involved in this project, this design also proposes the creation of an official walking trail. Please note that Figure 26 is rotated from Figure 25 to effectively show various features.
Rosgen stream classification morphological description (level II) was used to classify Bishop Creek. Longitudinal profiles, channel cross-sections, and elevations, were determined using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data (provided by the City of Norman).
Bankfull stage (Figure 27) was identified approximately 100 feet south of the footbridge (Figure 28). This point stage was identified by observation of changes in topographic features, such as: (1) changes in vegetation (29-A), (2) drastic change in slope (Figure 29-B), (3) erosion or scour features, and (4) flat depositional benches. Stream channel dimensions (width and depths), flood-prone elevation, flood plain distance, and terrace distance were also determined at this site (Table 5).
Table 5. Stream parameters measured on site
|Channel width (ft. )||14|
|Average channel depth (ft.)||1.08|
|Flood plain distance (ft.)||20.8|
|Terrace distance (ft.)||15.6|
Figure 30 and Figure 31 present the ground elevation and channel slopes of the Area of Interest (AOI). This information was calculated from tile “32-T9N-R2W” from the LiDAR data provided by the city of Norman. The coordinate system for this data is NAD_1983_HARN_StatePlane_Oklahoma_South_FIPS_3502_Feet and the corresponding elevation coordinates are in NAVD88 – Geoid12A (Feet). According to the City of Norman, the LiDAR data was gathered in 2015, therefore, it is assumed that the ground elevations and channel slopes have not changed since the data was collected.
From the above-mentioned material and the calculated values from Table 6, it was determined that under the Rosgen stream level II classification, Bishop Creek is a Type C stream.
|Slope||0.00 – 0.02|
The Bishop Creek bank stabilization plan encompasses five different methods to prevent stream bank erosion and collapse. Brush mattresses, live fascines, live stakes, bank seeding, and tree toe revetments will be used to stabilize the banks. The brush mattress stabilization method will be located right after the North Bridge where the stream has the greatest velocity due to the upstream channelization and straightening. The brush mattresses woody materials will protect the bank soils while the vegetation establishes itself. Live fascines and bank seeding will be implemented at distances 70-230 feet from the North Bridge. The live fascines will be used where established woody vegetation does not already exist, and bank seeding will occur in the areas around the already growing trees. During the construction of this area, it is recommended that the already established woody vegetation not be cut, to maintain the stream bank strength. At distances 230-292 feet from the North Bridge, a tree toe revetment will be implemented where the bank has been cut by the water. This design will prevent the water from cutting the bank further, causing bank collapse, and erosion. It is also resistant to erosion as the woody material is anchored into the streambed. Eastwood Park currently has multiple trees that are falling/dead and should be cut down before they fall into the creek (Figure 32). When these trees are cut down, they can be used for the tree toe revetment instead of being removed from site. Above the tree toe revetment, the bank will be stabilized using live fascines and live stakes.
After the revetment, a combination of live fascines, live stakes, and bank seeding will be used to further stabilize the bank. The banks stabilized with vegetation will have coconut fiber rolls laid out to assist the establishment of vegetation and to prevent further erosion while the vegetation is growing. For each of these methods, the banks will need to be cut to the proper slope seen in Table 7 to ensure proper establishment.
|Method||Distance From North Bridge||Recommended Bank Slope|
|Brush Mattress||0-70 feet||2:1|
|Live Fascines & Stakes||70-230 feet||3:1|
|Bank Seeding||70-230 feet||6:1|
|Tree Toe Revetment||230-292 feet||3:1|
Each of the bank stabilization methods are shown below in Figure 33 along with their corresponding locations. Please note that the diagram is not to scale. Each of these soft engineering methods will help the Bishop Creek committee assess the effectiveness of each stabilization method to make the best management decisions for possible future bank stabilization of the south portions of Bishop Creek.
For the prevention of further streambed erosion, cross vanes will be implemented at locations 30 feet, 90 feet, and 140 feet from the North Bridge (Table 8). The first cross vane will be located 30 feet from the North Bridge to slow down the water that is flowing in from the straightened channel just north of the bridge. It will also prevent bank and streambed erosion from the high velocity incoming waters. The second cross vane will be located 90 feet from the bridge, to continue to reduce the velocity of the water and to prevent bank erosion by moving the water energy to the middle of the stream. The final cross vane will function as a stepping stone cross vane and will have adequate spaces between it to act as both a cross vane and a stepping stone bridge for the children’s access and that of other community members. An example of this design can be seen in Figure 34, in the bottom left corner image.
|Cross Vane Number||Distance From North Bridge|
|Cross Vane 1||30 feet|
|Cross Vane 2||90 feet|
|Cross Vane 3||140 feet|
Large rocks lining the stream bank will also be used to prevent bank erosion and to allow for kids and community members to access the water. Figure 34 illustrates the locations selected for the cross vanes, stepping stone bridge, and bank lining rocks.
In order to properly protect the bank toe from erosion, large rocks will be placed along the bank and act as more stepping stones for kids to play on in the streambed. These rocks will be placed in between the cross vanes in the first 140 feet of the stream where the water velocities are elevated. Each rock will have a diameter of one foot or greater to prevent the water from moving the stone and to act as a stable base for kids to step on. Natural fiber or coir rolls (Figure 35) will be placed at the toe of the stream along the length of the creek except for the locations where the lining rocks (first 140 feet) and rock toe revetment (230-292 feet on left side of stream) methods are, for additional stream toe erosion prevention. These rolls reduce the amount of bank erosion by acting as a barrier between the soil and water surfaces within the stream bank.
The target area for an in-stream wetland is the naturally occurring bench which currently exists within the stream. The bench starts 180 feet downstream of the bridge, on the East side of the creek, and extends 230 feet downstream of the bridge. The wetland will be created by excavating the bench, while the existing stream channel will remain in place. The wetland will function by utilizing a wider stream bed area with increased sinuosity, along with the planting of wetland vegetation to provide water quality improvement (Figure 36). An inflow section to the wetland will be created just upstream of a low flow damn, which will be installed across the existing stream bed. The elevation of the low-flow dam will be just above the water elevation at average flow. The wetland is sized to handle the average flow rate from Bishop Creek, 0.809 cfs (StreamStats, 2017). By sizing it accordingly, at average flow or lower, the stream should be almost completely diverted through the wetland area. Finally, the outlet of the wetland will be where the stream bends to the east and the natural bench ends, at a riffle area. Elevation on the exit end must be the same elevation as the average flow water level downstream, to allow the water to flow out.
The installation of the low-flow dam, which will be created by a series of rocks or a log, will serve a dual purpose. The first, is to implement the in-stream wetland, and the second purpose is to help dissipate some of the energy of the stream during high flows. Water flowing over the dam will create a natural scour pool which will provide an excellent habitat for aquatic species. At low and average flows, the stream channel below the dam will act as a backwater pool, as water is diverted away from the primary channel into the wetland. However, as it stands, the existing channel should handle any flows above average, and storm flows, with no problem. Especially considering the stream bank improvements listed earlier for this location. In order to prevent the above average flows from completely rerouting the stream into the newly established wetland, a J-hook weir will be installed just upstream of the inlet, along the east side of the creek (Figure 37), to channel energy away from the inlet of the wetland and send it over the dam.
The wetland will be designed to slow down the flow of the water and provide filtration. This will be accomplished by making the wetland a circuitous maze for the water to go through. By integrating wetland plant species with irregularities in the excavated bottom, including mounds and boulders, the water will not be able to quickly flow through the wetland system. The size of the wetland footprint is around 4100 ft2; however, the calculations were based on 90% of this area, or 3700 ft2, to allow for barrier structures. Excavating the bottom of the wetland to a max depth of 8 inches below the inlet elevation, and providing for the irregularities in the bottom and the circuitous path an average depth of 7 inches was assumed for the entire wetland area. Hydraulic Retention Time (HRT) was calculated using (Equation 1). As the barrier is designed to be overtopped once flow goes above the average value (0.809 ft3/s) retention time can only be successfully calculated for this flow or below.This resulted in an overall retention time in the wetland of 45 minutes, at average flow. While this is not a long retention time, it will hopefully slow the water down enough to promote particle settling, which the plants can then uptake, thus improving the water quality downstream.
HRT=VwQavg =Volume In-Stream WetlandAverage streamflow Bishop Creek (Equation 1)
Water quality in Bishop Creek has been recognized by the Oklahoma Blue Thumb organization as a major concern in the creek. They have identified that “runoff from residential areas where lawns are typically fertilized throughout the year, trash, oil and grease from roadways and driveways make their way to the edge of the creek” (Blue Thumb, 2015). For that reason, and to address a portion of the water quality problems in Bishop Creek, one of the design components proposed in this document is the construction of a retention pond, capable of capturing and passively treating runoff water from the residential area inside Bishop Creek watershed. The idea behind the construction of this retention pond, is based on the fact that these type of man-made structures (if well design) are capable of not only retaining a portion of the runoff, but also increasing water quality and decreasing peak flows.
It was identified by this group that due to the land constrains in the area, it is almost impossible to capture and passively treat all the runoff water produce inside the Bishop’s Creek watershed. For that reason, the main purpose of this retention pond is to capture, retain and passively treat the first flush produced by precipitation events. First flush is defined as the “initial period of storm water runoff during which the concentration of pollutants is substantially higher than during later stages” (Lee et al., 2002).
To calculate the runoff discharge inside the Bishop’s Creek watershed, the rational method (Equation 2) was used. This method calculates the discharge (Q) using the drainage area of the watershed (A), times the runoff coefficient (C), times the intensity (I). To calculate I, intensity duration curves for the City of Norman (Figure 38) were calculated using data from the USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report 99–4232 for the 2-yr, 5-yr, 10-yr, 25-yr, 50-yr and 100-yr storms.
Time of concentration (tc) was calculated using the Kirpich equation (Equation 3). The length (L) of the watershed was obtain from the USGS Water Resources StreamStats. While the slope (S) was obtained from the LiDAR data provided by the City of Norman.
Q=CIA Equation 2
tc=0.0078L0.77S0.385 Equation 3
Table 9 presents a summary of the calculated intensities, using tc. Based on the land cover/land use, the runoff coefficient (C) was calculated as 0.4 since the watershed is highly dominated by residential areas. Table 10 presents the obtained discharges (Q) for various design storms.
|Storm (yr.)||Intensity (in/hr.)|
|Storm (yr.)||Intensity (in/hr.)||C||Q (cfs)|
As stated above and due to land constrains, the main purpose of this retention is to capture, retain, and passively treat the first flush events. For that reason, the target storm selected for the design of this pond was the 2-year storm which corresponds to a Q of 172.4 cfs.
Four major assumptions were made to design this pond:
- The runoff water that makes it way to Bishop Creek is discharge by a culvert pipe located to west of Eastwood park.
- From the culvert pipe to the creek, the runoff water travels via ephemeral channel (Figure 39).
- Only half of the calculated runoff flow is discharge by the culvert pipe.
- Approximately 20% of runoff water corresponds to the first flush.
Figure 40 shows the proposed location of the retention pond (considering the elevation of its surrounding area). This design proposes that the runoff water that is being discharge by the culvert pipe gets captured 100 feet downstream by a 6 inch. 5 ft. long buried pipe that discharges to the upstream portion of the pond (Qin), then in approximately 1 hr., the water makes its way down to the outflow (Qout) that is also connected to a 6 inch 5 ft. long buried pipe that discharges into the ephemeral channel. Table 11 presents a summary of the sizing details of the retention pond. From this table, it is important to point out that the purpose of this pond is not to “take away” land from Eastwood park. For this reason, the design proposes that the depth of the pond not exceeds 2 ft. Additionally, from this limit, the pond will only hold water during rain events, (during dry periods this pond will not hold any water). Based on this and being aware that Eastwood Park is primarily a recreational place for the community, we would like to maintain this area open to any recreational activities instead of creating a hole in the ground that could pose a threat to community members.
|QIn (cfs)||Qout (cfs)||Volume (ft3)||Area (ft2)||Depth (ft.)||Slope||HRT (hr.)|
From the data provided by the City of Norman, site visits, and aerial images of the terrain, it has been identified that the area inside the pond (Figure 41) lacks well established vegetation. Therefore, to warranty nutrient uptake by plants, it is also proposed that some eastern redbud is planted inside this area.
To aid in the streambed stabilization of the area adjacent to the stream, vegetation should be placed along the length of the stream. The placement of this vegetation should aid in the removal of nutrients within the immediate water runoff into the stream
For this site, five individual tree species were selected that can successfully grow and establish in this area. The individual tree species selected, upon establishment, should require little to no maintenance, provide shade and habitat for wildlife, and be aesthetically pleasing, especially in combinations due to the diversity of tree types and their individual growing patterns. The species selected include the Eastern Redbud, Loblolly Pine, Red Maple, Western Soapberry, and the Pecan Tree. Apart from the Pecan Tree, each of the selected species is native to the area. Even though the Pecan Tree is not native to this area, this species was selected due to its potential services to the community. Table 12 outlines the growing specifications of each of the selected species including the expected height and spread of the mature tree, the average growth rate, sun and shade preferences of the species, information on the individual tree’s water needs, and overall notes and information describing additional attributes of specific species. Additionally, Table 13 outlines the characteristics of the trees, including tree type, seasonality, flower, seed and fruit characterization, and wildlife accommodations. It is recommended that trees of at least three to five years of age, or approximately 5 to 10 feet tall, be planted to increase the probability of successful rooting and establishment of each individual tree.
|Tree Name||Mature Height & Spread (ft.)||Growth Rate
|Sun-Shade Needs||Water Needs||Notes and Information|
& Partial Shade
|Prefers medium moisture but is drought tolerant|
|Slightly more drought tolerant than Eastern variety|
|< 24||Full Sun*||Prefers normal moisture but can tolerate some flooding and moderate drought||Very fast growing pine
Loses lower branches with age making it an excellent shade tree
|13- 24||Full Sun*||Prefers wet soil but has drought tolerance||Has a large range of adaptability|
|13-24||Direct Sun**||Prefers regular watering when young but drought tolerant once established|
|13-24||Full Sun*||Should be planted in multiples to ensure pollination and nut production
Has a lifespan of up to 300 years
* At least 6 hours of direct sun each day ** Minimum of 4 hrs. direct sun each day
|Tree Name||Tree Type||Seasonality||Flower, Seed, and Fruit Characterization||Wildlife Accommodations|
|Ornamental & Flowering||Spring: blooms pink to purple flowers followed by dark red leaflets
Summer: dark green heart-shaped leaves
Fall: yellow in color before shedding for winter
|Flowers: bright pink to purple flowers
– Begins flowering at young age of 4- 5 years
Fruit: flat pointed pods
Seeds: round seeds approximately ¼ inches in diameter
|Blossoms attract nectar- seeking insects like butterflies
Seeds provide food for small birds
Provides nesting site & shelter for birds
|Flowers: magenta to dark purple flowers|
|Evergreen||keeps foliage all year||Seeds: dry, oval, brown cones approximately 3-6 inches in length||Provides shelter for birds
Seeds provide food for small animals and rodents like squirrels
|Ornamental||Spring: red/yellow clusters of small flowers
Summer: dark green leaves
Fall: red to yellow in color before shedding for winter
|Fruit provide food for small rodents like squirrels|
|Ornamental and Shade||Late Spring & Early Summer:
Summer: green leaves
Fall: deep yellow-gold & fruit drop
|Flowers: panicles of yellow-white flowers
Fruit: yellow/orange fruit that resembles a cherry
|Favorite of butterflies in early summer|
The tree placement is designed to add a slight barrier between the pathway and the creek. The exact placement of each tree is not crucial; however trees should be planted no closer than 5 feet from the edge of the creek and approximately 10 feet apart in order to supply sufficient room for growth, root establishment, and to reduce the competition amongst young trees for nutrients and water. The highlighted region on figure 41 shows the most suitable area for tree placement.
Currently, the riparian zone is inhabited by a mixture of herbaceous plants. One of which is Johnson Grass, a non-native invasive species. Removal of this grass is recommended in order to replace the species with native species. A full list of drought tolerant species has been described in “Drought-Tolerant Plant Selections for Oklahoma” created by Oklahoma State University. A list of “Native Plants for Native Pollinators” created by the Kerr Center is also an incredibly useful resource to identify native, flowering plants that can be placed in the riparian zone.
The current, natural, no-mow, riparian zone is in excellent demonstration of utilizing herbaceous plants as a buffer between the immediate watershed and the Placement of wildflower gardens adjacent to kid path in between each tree along the path.
Constructing a formalized official trail in the area, where the formed usage trail exists will help to prevent further erosion and compaction of the soil. Things to consider when constructing a trail are; the intended usage, the slope of the terrain, runoff within the area, and the materials to be utilized. The slope of the terrain is the most important as it influences all the other considerations. If the slope is too steep, community members, especially those with disabilities or handicaps, may not be able to access the park. In this case, Eastwood Park has a very slight cross-slope and the slope (grade) of the trail itself is acceptable for any user.
The proposed trail is being primarily designed as a replacement for the path previously formed by children cutting through the park to get to school (Figure 42). Proper construction of this trail will mitigate any erosion caused by the now existing footpath and will prevent future erosion. It will also provide an opportunity to install some informational signage within the park that will encourage learning to members outside and inside the community.
The physical characteristics of a trail site (slope, native material, and runoff) play a part in what the actual working trail will look like when it is constructed (NPS, 1996). To save costs, the trail will be narrow (no more than 3 feet) and will not be paved. It will be built using a geosynthetic material as a base layer, which will hold a layer of small rock which will then be covered with the natural material (topsoil). The rock and geosynthetic will provide drainage to keep the trail drier, while the natural material on top will make the trail look less constructed and at the same time will help to keep the gravel in place to cut down on maintenance.
The section of the trail which will pass through the constructed wetland will need to be elevated. The simplest way to elevate a trail is to create a boardwalk. To accomplish this, posts will be installed along the route within the wetland area. Boards will be attached to the posts parallel to the path route, to act as rails. Finally, wooden decking will be placed on the top of the rails, perpendicular to the route (Figure 43). Unlike the boardwalk in the picture, hand railing will be installed to keep people from falling into the wetland. Because it may be necessary for people to pass along the boardwalk, it will be wider than the trail (4 feet). For ease of construction, dimensional lumber should be used.
The foot trail will extend diagonally the length of the park, from the Northwest corner on Ponca Ave., to the Southeast corner of the park on Macy St. By building the trail the entire length, erosion caused by alternate use paths will be minimized and will encourage visitors to the wetland area. Near the entrance to the trail, near Macy St., an interpretive sign will be placed. This structure will act as an informational guide about the entire project, as well as serve as a place for community announcements.
The interpretive sign will include a three-panel sign with a roof and will be placed right along the trail. It will also include a trellis which will make an archway over the trail terminating into a flower garden on the opposite side of the trail. The three-panel sign will include locking glass cases in which informational signs can be displayed about the park and stream restoration. This sign area could also possibly be a point of interaction with the local elementary school, as children could have the opportunity to create class displays for the park.
The opportunity for education is incredibly important for the residents of the Bishop Creek neighborhood, as well as for the Friends of Bishop Creek organization. Many children use the stream’s riparian zone as a walking path to Lincoln Elementary School and are exposed to this area each day. Adding educational placards and signs would greatly impact the community in a very positive way. The addition of these placards will also make this area much more recreationally friendly and will be inviting for visitors to learn about the surrounding area, the creek, the selected species, and the overall restoration effort. Placards also provide an opportunity to educate the public on the importance of fertilization and runoff awareness and can lead the way to a more sustainable, ecologically friendly, mechanism for lawn care. The educational aspect also has the potential to have incredible impacts on the overall biology and water quality of Bishop Creek. Moreover, this is an opportunity to aid and education on the overall health and understanding of various watersheds and water runoff processes, in hopes of creating a more sustainable mindset.
The vegetation selected has unique individual aspects that can be chosen and showcased through the implementation of educational signs or placards, and tree tags. The implementation of educational signs provides an opportunity to inform the public of various things such as the restoration project taking place at Bishop Creek. Tree tags are small placards that can be nailed into mature trees to identify the tree species and provide information about the tree. Figure 44 is an example, using the Redbud tree, displaying the type of information that could be displayed on the tree tags.
As expressed by the Friends of Bishop Creek and the Blue Thumb Volunteer groups, trash is of major concern. To address this issue, while also involving the elementary school children and community members, it is suggested that a monthly “trash pick-up day” be implemented during the school year. Getting children involved in the process of finding and picking up trash will provide an opportunity to teach on the importance of properly disposing of trash and the effects littering imposes on the environment. More specifically, elementary school teachers may educate their students about the ecological and wildlife impacts that littering can have within the Bishop Creek ecosystem. Another suggestion is to have a trash “showcase” that can be placed within the park to raise awareness about the quantity of trash that ends up in the creek and along the riparian zone and present more of a treasure hunt activity for the children. This can be done by placing a Plexiglas container that can be filled with the trash each month during the “trash pick-up day”. Implementing a permanent fixture that displays the magnitude of trash collected within a given time frame is a shocking way to increase awareness within the community. Additionally, the implementation and proper maintenance of trashcans along the riparian zone will reduce the probability that individual will litter as they walk through the Eastwood Park area. Lastly, very simple “Please Do Not Litter” signs, as shown in Figure 45, can be placed along the length of the creek as a small reminder that the creek and surrounding area is not a trash can.
While the Bishop Creek stream restoration is underway, it is important to educate the Bishop Creek community members on how even actions within their property can affect the stream water quality. The runoff from each yard can transport excess nutrients into the stream, but the use of rain barrels and awareness on fertilizer effects to runoff can greatly decrease these impacts. This section highlights several ways the community can become involved and educated in reducing the impacts that they have on Bishop Creek.
Rain barrels collect and store rain gathered from the roof of a house during storm events to be used later to water gardens or yards. By collecting this water, runoff pollution effects on the stream are reduced as the water will not travel across lawns and roads into the stream. Infographics or community info sessions can be effective ways in engaging the public in learning about this technology. An example of an infographic by the Nature Conservancy and the State of Washington that could be distributed by email, door to door, or posted on an information board can be seen below in Figure 46.
Infographics sharing details on when to fertilize, how to buy the right fertilizer, why over fertilizing affects the creek, and how to test your home soil for nutrients can also be an effective guide for the community members. Promoting the use of soil testing kits like the one seen in Figure 47, could also help reduce the amounts of excess fertilizer entering Bishop Creek. Members of the community (possibly high school students looking for community service projects) could help, host, and teach community members how to test their soil using one of these kits.
It is important to keep the community members up to date and informed on what is going on in their community park. The community may consider distributing a seasonal brochure or pamphlet to community members via email or mail that outlines activities and events going on in their community along with helpful reminders. Such brochures can also have updates on the restoration progress and the purpose of the restoration in general. Aside from informing the community about what is going on with the creek, the community may take such an opportunity to interconnect and share recipes, photos, and articles.
The main components of this design were chosen because they have little to no maintenance. However, to expand the features longevity and ensure their success, the City of Norman, must add a series of maintenance steps that will guaranty the success of this project to their Parks and Recreational Master Plan document.
The live fascines and stakes should be planted in the early spring and watered once a week during the first growing season. They must also be inspected after the first growing season. Dead stakes should be removed and areas that struggled to grow should be re-seeded or planted. The grasses and other vegetation planted on the stream bank should also be watered once a week within the first growing season. The logs that make up the tree log revetment should be inspected annually for stability. A visual inspection of the stream bank and bed should be done at least twice a year to prevent or catch erosion issues. After large flooding events the stream should also have a visual inspection done to assess any damages or to identify areas that need to be repaired.
The rocks that line the stream and make up the J-hooks and cross vanes should be inspected once a year in the early summer to make sure the rocks haven’t moved. Holes in the cross vanes need to be filled in with more rocks.
After initial tree planting, scheduled watering or placement of tree bags is suggested for the first few growing seasons of the trees to increase chances of successful rooting and establishment. This initial watering is of significance if very young trees are selected or if trees are planted during a dry or drought period. It is also suggested that trees be pruned on a biannual basis to reduce the potential for lower limb overgrowth into the pathway.
The maintenance required for the In-stream wetland will be minimal. The system will be allowed to self-regulate once it is installed. Periodic checks should be performed about every 6 months, or after a big rain event. These checks will make sure the wetland inflow area is clear, as well as making sure debris is removed which may accumulate at the weir structure. Additionally, removal of any trash which becomes trapped in the wetland will help to improve its function.
The maintenance required by the retention pond is minimal, given that the area inside the pond will be mowed by the City of Norman on a regular basis. It is recommended that every time the mowing activity takes place in the park, the personal in-charge clean the outside of the inflow and outflow pipes, to prevent debris accumulations and clear any possible pipe clogging.
The best reference project to compare this undertaking at Bishop Creek is the Cow Creek stream restoration project in Stillwater, OK. As mentioned previously Cow Creek restoration had a focus on bank stabilization, is located in a relatable environment, and has a similar urbanized surrounding as far as impervious surface impacts. Restoration information from Lovern et al. (2012) demonstrate the similarly steep slopes along the stream and the following initial reviews of the area after stabilization. Furthermore, the adaptive management of Cow Creek reveals “mowing boundaries” (Lovern et al. 2012), like the “no-mow zones” at Bishop Creek. Moreover, monitoring of the woody and non-woody plants provides an opportunity to compare plant growth and help determine success. Also, the provided timeline (Lovern et al. 2012) sheds light on completion goals and demonstrates a real timetable for a creek bank stabilization project in central Oklahoma.
The overall project location of the Cow Creek restoration and the Bishop Creek location in Oklahoma share similar environments. Bishop Creek’s Cleveland county and Cow Creek’s Payne county ecoregions both share the Central Great Planes and the Crosstimbers (TravelOK, 2005). Additionally, meteorological data from Stillwater and Norman, reveals that less than an inch difference in annual average rainfall and average temperature difference of less than 2°F. Overall, the regions of both projects have similar ecosystems and are determined to be compatible for comparison.
Success of the bank stabilization remedies employed will be based off lessons from similar projects. First, the use of structural components such as riprap and live cribwalls should only be used where necessary (MacGregor, 2007), and thus these areas will need to be reassessed overtime. For such cases, revegetating shore lines are the preference for bank stabilization as opposed to hard-armoring, such as seawalls and bulkheads, that may not always be necessary (MacGregor, 2007). However, severe erosion may require heavy forms of effective stabilization, at least initially. The development of vegetation post stabilization is a major factor as a measure of success (McBride & Strahan, 1983)(MacGregor, 2007), so areas that required hard armoring should be revisited as vegetative growth is given the opportunity to establish and re-stabilize the bank.
Third, future site visits should be made to monitor for any continued erosion or meander migration, such as those performed at the North Canadian River Luther Road Section in eastern Oklahoma County (Nolen, 2013). Similarly, sediment control material must be inspected for integration with the soil and monitored for shifts in the placement due to streamflow (Lovern et al. 2012). Finally, herbaceous growth must be monitored, over wide periods, to ensure environment conditions remain favorable and the species are able to fully develop (Lovern et al. 2012).
A quick-view checklist of success criteria is shown below:
- Monitor the necessity of any hard-armoring stabilization.
- Is there continued erosion?
- Are meanders migrating from their pre-stabilized area?
- Is vegetation integrating with the soil?
- How have planted species faired over time? (Monitored over several years)
A fluid analysis of the Bishop Creek project area with proposed features was conducted using SolidWorks. Several assumptions were made to ease computations including a frictionless environment and pure water flow. Due to the nature of SolidWorks Fluid Simulation, the stream was “covered” by a flat plate to allow SolidWorks to simulate flow through a sealed “pipe”. Furthermore, the contribution of the pond outflow was neglected.
The flowrate at the inlet of the Bishop Creek project area was set at 76.2 ft3/min to simulate an average flowrate of the creek. Conditions of the outlet were left at atmospheric pressure to approximate an open pipe with unrestricted flow. Figure 48 shows the inlet condition and water velocity results at low flow with the restrictive dam in action, while Figure 49 shows velocity results at high flow above the dam.
Comparing Figure 48 and Figure 49, the effect of the low flow dam and j-hook as a means of directing water towards the wetland at a suitable velocity is apparent, along with the backwater pool condition on the opposite side of the dam. Furthermore, Figure 50 shows the scouring action imposed on the main channel once the flow exceeds the dam height. However, most the stated features were added later. Our initial design of the wetland inlet (Figure 51) formed a y-shape and lacked the j-hook and dam which resulted in a low velocity whirlpool inside our wetland. Additionally, our initial design drew concern with further bank stabilization needs at the wetland inlet. Please note the velocity profile shown in the redesigned wetland (Figure 50) should be more uniform with our actual proposed design due to jagged edges and the presence of vegetation that will serve to disrupt uniform flow.
On flow disruption, the cross vanes and bank lined rocks near the inlet proved effective in reducing flow rates. Figure 52 shows flow results with “floating” rocks, to serve as a division of the streamflow with and without the rocks, top and low stream profiles respectively. Figure 53 is a redesign with a total of 3 cross vanes to further disrupts the flow, as shown by the weaving flow element profiles.
This design encompasses multiple parameters and technologies that, when combined, will increase the habitat, accessibility, and condition of the park and stream while decreasing stream velocities, nutrients, and erosion. The use of multiple stream bank erosion prevention methods allows for improved bank stability along the stream and creates a fun and accessible part of the creek where children can explore and play. The in-stream wetland will increase habitat for aquatic and terrestrial animals, while also providing possible pathway to facilitate nutrient uptake. The retention pond will prevent the first flush of contaminants from smaller storm events from immediately entering Bishop Creek, but will not take up park space in the dryer months. Along with the incorporation of the stream restoration technologies, an official walking path will be installed so the public can easily access the park area. New aesthetically pleasing trees will be planted along the path and will aid to beautify the park in all seasons. In order to keep the community members and elementary school students engaged with the development, soon to occur at Eastwood Park, both an education plan and community involvement plan was developed to engage both the students and neighbors in learning how they can become stewards of the park and creek. Each of the selected design elements work together to ensure the condition of Bishop Creek is enriched while also enhancing the experience of the local community for many generations to come.
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