In a Sep. 3 press release, Mount Vernon Mayor Matthew Starr announced the completion of a Kokosing River renovation project. The project focused on river bank rehabilitation on the river corridor through the Ariel Foundation Park, and along Phillips Drive in Mount Vernon.
The Kenyon community will also reap the benefits of the restoration project. “The work completed by the city will help to make our stretch of the Kokosing River healthy, clean and clear,” Noelle Jordan, manager of the Brown Family Environmental Center, wrote in an email to the Collegian. “That means a beautiful river for wading, swimming, tubing, and kayaking.”
Jordan said that the project will help to reduce erosion and sediment buildup in the stream beds, as well as maintain a cool water temperature. All of this will help to support the river’s aquatic life. “Minimizing sediment buildup is important for maintaining healthy fish populations,” Jordan said.
In 2016, the city identified three areas of degraded habitat and began taking steps to address the issue. The restoration project was funded through a combination of grants and local funding. The city received a $300,000 Ohio EPA 319(h) grant — given under the Clean Water Act to address nonpoint source pollution, which was then matched by the Mount Vernon Wastewater Utility. Finally, the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District provided another grant for $200,000.
Starr said that this project was just the beginning of a larger restoration plan.
“We will continue to take action in restoring the natural habitat in and around Mount Vernon, and hope that citizens will also look for ways that they can contribute to restoration and conservation efforts for the nature that surrounds us in Mount Vernon,” Starr said.
The mayor went on to encourage community members to participate in this Saturday’s river cleanup. Volunteers will meet at the CA&C Depot in Ariel Foundation Park on Sept. 18 at 9 a.m.