Environment

There’s a small spring-fed stream that runs alongside Grinstead Drive between an old brick lined street and Interstate-64 in Crescent Hill. 

It was hard to see until last year when the Metropolitan Sewer District began removing invasive honeysuckle and porcelain berry that had overgrown the area.

Now MSD has completed a $305,000 restoration project along about 500 feet of the stream that runs through a small conservation easement that feeds Louisville’s longest urban waterway Beargrass Creek. 

MSD partnered with the Louisville Jefferson County Environmental Trust to restore the stream and wetland corridor to improve water quality and provide a healthy habitat for bugs, frogs and other native fauna, said Erin Wagoner, environmental partnership liaison. 

Ryan Van Velzer | wfpl.org

The district got involved in the project last year while planning a sewer separation project to help offload stormwater that can overwhelm the city’s combined sewers and force the city to release untreated sewage into Beargrass Creek and the Ohio River. 

Crews recently completed the construction portion of the work and have planted more than 80 native trees and shrubs as well as a native seed-plant mix. It’s one of more than 30 similar projects around the county, Wagoner said. 

“By restoring the stream, removing those invasive species, stabilizing the banks, allowing access of the stream to the floodplain, we are able to improve the habitat,” Wagoner said. 

The land is protected by a conservation easement held by the Louisville Jefferson County Environmental Trust, said Kurt Mason, trust chair. The easement on the property had to be renegotiated because at the time, it was actually too strict to even allow for the removal of invasive species, Mason said. 

Now, Mason expects there will be a healthier mix of native trees and shrubs that create a canopy over the spring-fed creek. As spring arrives, he expects to hear the sounds of “peepers,” small frogs, insects and other animals, emanating from the wetlands. 

Ryan Van Velzer | wfpl.org

Kurt Mason of the Louisville Jefferson County Environmental Trust talks about the watershed restoration project on a conservation easement in Crescent Hill on December 8, 2020.

Though it’s a small tract of land, it does contribute to the overall health of the Beargrass Creek watershed, he said.

“Air quality, water quality, those things are things that man had an input in their demise, and it’s up to us to make those corrections and this is one of those projects that does exactly that,” Mason said. 

Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified Grinstead Drive.  

Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter.