Mercer County Soil and Water Conservation District recently installed a cascading waterway in the Wabash River watershed. Read the press release:

Mercer Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) was awarded an Ohio EPA Gulf Hypoxia Assistance grant to install a cascading waterway in the Wabash River watershed.  A cascading waterway consists of a series of shallow basins located in a properly designed and constructed grassed waterway.  The cascading system can be used in agricultural or other landscapes to store and treat surface water runoff.  The storage provided by the basins can improve wildlife habitat, reduce peak flows of smaller storms and reduce nutrients and sediment in surface water runoff.  Basins are constructed within the footprint of the grassed waterway at subsequently lower elevations.  Each basin fills consecutively with surface water runoff cascading down-gradient through the system.


Installed and seeded in September 2023, this cascading waterway receives approximately 25 acres of surface water runoff.  The basins can store 115,000 gallons of surface water from the watershed.  The flat areas of the waterway are seeded to a cool-season grass mix and the wetlands are seeded to a wetland grass mix.  All areas have been protected with erosion control blanket which aids in holding the seed in place as well as a blanket for moisture.

This cascading waterway practice will be monitored for the next two years to determine the ability of the practice to retain sediment, absorb nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen and to monitor the flow through the practice.  Wright State University Lake Campus also received an Ohio EPA Gulf Hypoxia Assistance grant to monitor the efficacy of the practice.  This monitoring began before the cascading waterway was installed and will help inform our understanding of this new and exciting practice.

If you have interest in this practice, please contact Mercer SWCD at 419-586-3289 ext. 3 for more information.