Fort Wayne riverbank stabilization project marks next step in riverfront development

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Mayor Tom Henry, the Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department, and representatives from the Old Fort, the Great Lakes Commission, and the Indiana DNR announced the St. Marys Small Scale Streambank Stabilization project on Tuesday. This project seeks to reduce the erosion made along the banks of the St. Marys River downtown, especially near Headwaters Park and the Old Fort. Erosion near these areas is estimated to be around 1 foot per year over the past 10 years. That eroded soil has been deposited into the river.

The project calls for the construction of a riparian, or riverbank, buffer. This buffer would be comprised of native grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees that will ultimately help improve water quality, provide a habitat for wildlife, and protect downstream property by slowing floodwaters that cause most of the riverbank erosion.

This project is possible thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Indiana DNR. According to Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, the project represents an ecological solution to a natural problem.

For the past several years, we’ve recognized how important our rivers are to us and how we’re now in the position to turn them from a detriment in our community to an asset – to really make our rivers a point of destination. -Mayor Tom Henry

Construction has been slow over the past few months due to the relatively high level of the St. Marys. Workers are hoping water levels recede so that work can continue. The project is expected to be complete by April 2017.