The Murder Creek slope mitigation project is being expanded with the aid of a state grant.
Newstead received a $212,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, some of which is expected to be used for additional anti-erosion work along more of the embankment that slopes down from Akron's Main Street to the creek that runs behind homes on Brooklyn Street. Adding the local share, the total available is about $282,000.
Some of the Water Quality Improvement Project Program competitive grant, which is for work that addresses water pollution and habitat degradation, also will offset the 25 percent local contribution to the $800,000 Murder Creek mitigation grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. That reduces the contribution from Akron and Newstead taxpayers to the larger project that has just been completed.
Newstead was among seven Erie County applicants that shared in the $61.5 million in water quality grants approved statewide last November.
Carl Klingenschmitt, chairman of the Newstead Conservation Advisory Council, said engineering for the smaller project would start this winter, with work beginning possibly in the spring.
The plan is to address any further sources of erosion along the embankment between the bridges on Brooklyn and Buell streets that will keep sediment from entering Murder Creek.
"There could be some small rip-rap installed along with more plantings in smaller sections," said Klingenschmitt.
Work began in July on the FEMA-funded project to shore up about 750 feet of the creek embankment, which sustained erosion problems in the October 2006 snowstorm. The project was blessed by a dry summer that helped contractors meet an October completion date.
The project included installing a 12-foot-high wall -- three feet is underground -- at the base of the embankment comprising about 1,200 stacked stone blocks that were pinned to the creek bed.
About 1.3 acres of the creek slope have been replanted with trees and shrubs with an expanding root base to help stabilize it. Hydroseeding also was just completed. Klingenschmitt said a product called Flexterra "was added to the normal seeding process to add stability while the seed is growing and establishing itself."
The creek, which was coffer-dammed and sent through a narrow diversion channel during the project, is again flowing freely.
Owners of Main Street property that abuts the embankment's top have been asked to refrain from plowing snow down the slope this winter and next so that new plantings have a chance to take root and thrive. The Village of Akron has said it will assist in removing snow piles from behind businesses and residences that run out of space for plowed snow.
Apex Consulting of Lockport did the engineering for the upper bank and were project managers during construction. Erie County Soil & Water Conservation District did the engineering and monitoring for the wall and south bank of the creek portions of the project. The contractors were Eastwood Industries of Colden and Concrete Applied Technologies Corp., or CATCO, of Alden.
Village and town crews also assisted with some work.