Texas: Seymour Park Stream Mitigation Site
Before stream mitigation
The Seymour Park Stream Mitigation Site was developed in 2007 as mitigation for upgrades to US 277 near Seymour, Texas. In this project, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), in consultation with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE), restored a critical link of the Seymour Creek in Seymour Park. The restored link reconnected a divided ecosystem, creating a valuable ecological and educational asset that stimulated new public involvement in an already well-utilized city park.
Several decades ago, city maintenance crews placed a stone check-dam in Seymour Creek for aesthetic purposes. This dam caused sedimentation upstream and erosion downstream. These unanticipated impacts created an ongoing maintenance issue; Seymour Creek was retaining extremely high sediment loads and became overgrown with vegetation, resulting in lost stream visibility. To counteract the overgrowth and preserve visibility, caretakers treated the stream banks with herbicide, removing all vegetation from the shores. This maintenance action led to structural bank failures, poor water quality, and reduced aquatic life. While the stream was stable both upstream and downstream of Seymour Park, the native woody and herbaceous habitat, the effective migratory path, and the contiguousness of the riparian corridor were broken within the park.
After stream mitigation
When TxDOT decided to repair the linkage in Seymour Park as a mitigation project, it set goals to improve river hydrology, restore the native vegetation, and enhance aquatic ecosystem functions. TxDOT, with assistance from PBS&J (environmental consultants), USACE, and Lanco Turf and Seed Company, applied river morphology principals and used HEC-RAS software to develop the restoration plan.
Following the mitigation project, aquatic and upland wildlife have flourished in this newly reestablished corridor. Various species of mammals, turtles, snakes, fish, and birds have returned to Seymour Park to forage, loaf, and nest. In addition, wildlife has resumed migratory travel within the Seymour Creek riparian corridor.
New wildlife viewing opportunities and improved aesthetics increased regular park visitation numbers. Residents now visit the Seymour Park for picnicking, fishing, and plant identification outings by local schools. Due to this renewed level of interest in the park, TxDOT will soon offer outdoor education amenities within the park setting.
For more information, contact Chris C. Henry at email@example.com.