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Cedar Creek restoration project begins in Auburn

Cedar Creek runs through Elkhart Park in Auburn, Indiana, the DeKalb County seat.

One of northeast Indiana's most scenic waterways is threatened by erosion in DeKalb County, and a project to restore those areas is underway. 

Cedar Creek is the largest tributary of the St. Joseph River in Fort Wayne and one of only three streams in Indiana’s Natural, Scenic and Recreational River System.

The creek primarily runs through DeKalb County before entering Allen and meeting with the river. As parts of the creek bed have begun to erode, the Cedar Creek Stream Stabilization Project aims to correct those problem areas.

Cedar Creek runs right through downtown Auburn and is a popular spot for recreation in the county, according to Auburn Mayor Mike Ley. Many people use the creek for canoeing and kayaking.

“It is a feature that everyone really enjoys - whether you’re in the city or outside the city or somewhere in the county - and lots of people enjoy it in various ways," he said. "So, like most infrastructure there’s maintenance that needs to be done with it.”

In the case of these banks, that maintenance means laying back, or widening, the creek beds and adding natural features - like rocks, trees and vegetation - to slow the energy of the creek and keep the beds from eroding so quickly.

Work on the creek will take place downtown and the other is near the pedestrian bridge in Eckhart Park.

At the beginning of the month, at a public meeting to discuss the restoration project, there was discussion about adding pedestrian-friendly features, like a footpath.

“And, just like ‘hey, that makes sense,’" Ley said. "You know, let’s build a footpath down to here. Because it’s almost gonna take like steps.”

Ley said those steps would be made from something natural as well, like logs or stones. 

The restoration project is a collaboration between the city of Auburn Parks and Recreation Department, DeKalb County Soil and Water Conservation District, the DeKalb County Surveyor's Office, and the DeKalb County Drainage Board.

Ella Abbott is a multimedia reporter for 89.1 WBOI. She is a strong believer in the ways audio storytelling can engage an audience and create a sensory experience.
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