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Creek/stream restoration

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From: Pamela Tullis
Fairfield, IL
I live in town and have a creek in my back yard that runs through most of our town. Due to the possible danger to homes next to our local reservoir it was decided to breach the dam and drain it. Without the regulation of the dam that had been there since the very early 1900's we experience regular spring and winter flooding. Our city ordered brush removal for 3 ft up the bank for the entire coarse of the creek throughout the city limits. Since the breach and brush removal we are experiencing severe erosion and silting. I would like to know how to stablize my bank with native plantings that will grow in the existing measures in place to prevent erosion (a mixture of bricks, rocks, concrete, asphalt, cinders and broken clay culverts) that have been in place and added to as necessary for half a century or more. I would need the expense to be very low. I would like to do this so that other property owners can see a natural solution to our ongoing problems. Our town cannot afford to remedy the problem. I understand each property owners portion of the creek will have different needs. My portion is located next to a street bridge and pedestrian bridge. My entire bank except the last 10 to 15 feet is heavily reinforced with rip rap and a 3 foot tall concrete block wall. It is somewhat graded from the bridge to the wall and has a catalpa tree, walnut tree, hackberry tree, small redbud trees and one or two other understory trees in the riprap section, a catalpa tree in the center of the wall section and an elm at the end of the wall. There are amur honeysuckle and winter creeper vine that would need to be removed from the riprap. I am guessing I will need to add soil over the riprap for planting. Thbank goes from approximately 6ft high at the pedestrian bridge to 1 1/2ft at the property line with my neighbor. I also have a non native flowering grass ranging 4 to 8 feet from the bank in the riprap section and some just behind the block wall that doesn't spread too much. There are already several species of native plants that come and go from seed carried by the creek. I've been afraid to start planting anything on my own because I don't want to spread anything I shouldn't to my neighbors. But I planted yellow water irises and orange day lilies last year to stabilizes the bare soil area since losing over 3 feet of my bank in the last few years. One more factor in my problem is that the city sprays a combination of herbicides and pesticides which includes roundup along the banks of the creek wherever no one like myself requests that they don't. I have some native plants already in mind. A few are paw paw, seedbox, pussy willow and ironweed. Any insight you can give will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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