Dam to be removed, stream restored at Brightwood Lake in Concord Township

Jun. 10—Construction will begin in July to remove a 55-year-old dam in Concord Township and restore a segment of Kellogg Creek.

"The goal of this project is to restore the stream channel to more of a natural configuration, plant native species so that we can enhance the environment, restore the stream to...a nice gradient that will allow for fish passage, and not only fish passage but some of those other macroinvertebrates that will migrate up the channel as well," said Tim Miller, director of the Lake County Stormwater Management Department.

At a public meeting on June 7, Ivan Valentic from GPD Group noted that the workers completed a temporary breach in the dam in March. Temporary seeding has been placed to stabilize the soil.

Bob Parker, a principal at Civil and Environmental Consultants, Inc., said that the lake is drained, though until the dam is removed the site will collect water from heavy rain.

The team noted at the meeting that the dam removal is expected to last from July through November, after permitting and design from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Workers will seed the site this year and return in spring 2023 to complete the work, including planting and landscaping. From 2023 until 2027, teams will continue to monitor for invasive species.

Workers will generally come on Mondays through Thursdays, and occasionally Fridays, between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Team members added that there will be brief road closures with flaggers. The equipment and stone movement will cause noise, and excavation may disturb dust on dry days. Crews will sweep the roads to keep them clean.

Concerns were raised at the meeting regarding the 2- to 3-foot drop at parts of the old shoreline.

"We may not be able to access those because...of the material that's there, how thick, how heavy it is," Parker said.

Due to an environmental covenant, it is uncertain whether residents can add slopes themselves.

Miller explained that the covenant is an easement that limits what property owners can do on that site, though they will be able to do activities like fish and add paths. The covenant is binding in perpetuity and was necessary to receive funding from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

"The environmental covenant is protecting the county, the township and the state of Ohio EPA's investment in this project," he said.

Miller added that a floodplain at the site of the former lake will collect water during heavy rain to avoid overwhelming areas downstream.

Brightwood Lake bordered houses off of Prouty Road, Brightwood Drive, Sandpiper Court, Teal Cove and South Meadow Drive. According to Miller and Parker, the lake was built for recreational, aesthetic and stormwater management purposes.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources concluded in 2004 that the dam does not meet current standards, and homes downstream are at risk if the dam fails. Miller said that work required to bring the dam into compliance would cost $5 million. Because the dam is privately owned, funding for repairs is not available.

Around 2010, the Ohio EPA reported that the dam negatively impacted the creek's fish habitat and water quality. Miller noted that this report made it possible to receive funding to remove the dam.

The $1.6 million dam removal is being funded through the Ohio EPA's Water Resources Restoration Sponsor Program. Groups working on the project include the Lake County Stormwater Management Department, Concord Township, CEC, GPD Group, EnviroScience and RiverReach Construction.

The meeting slideshow will be available later this week at concordtwp.com/government/concord-facts/ under "Kellogg Creek Restoration Project."