Erosion washes away about a foot of soil each year on the banks of the St. Marys River near Headwaters Park. This is bad for the land and also for the rivers, which is why the city plans to stabilize the riverbank in this area to prevent future erosion.
When the project is complete, landscape architect Alec Johnson says the riverfront will be much more appealing. The city is using limestone boulders and vegetation to create a natural-looking buffer to prevent erosion.
“We wanted to make sure this really was a little bit more of a park-like atmosphere,” Johnson said.
Johnson says the city also plans to stabilize the riverbanks near Guldlin and Bloomingdale parks. He says they started at the area near the Old Fort because it’s one of the worst for erosion, and it’s also more visible.
It’s called a riparian buffer, which Johnson says is essentially another word for riverbank buffer. It keeps soil out of the rivers, which also prevents nitrogen, phosphorus and pesticides from polluting the water.
The project is scheduled to end in April, but currently construction is stalled. High water levels are preventing crews from working on it, but Johnson is optimistic they will get back to work soon and finish on time.
The cost of the project is $647,000, funded by the Indiana DNR, the Great Lakes Commission and Fort Wayne’s legacy fund. The Great Lakes Commission gave the city $80,000 and a program at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources gave the city $132,000 for the project.