Corps, MSD partner to restore Beargrass Creek ecosystem

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District and local project sponsor, Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District hosted a news conference, Aug. 15, 2019, to announce their partnership to complete the Three Forks of Beargrass Creek Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study. The two entities are taking a big step in improving the Beargrass Creek Watershed in Louisville, Kentucky. Together - along with key stakeholders - they will investigate innovative restoration techniques and engineering solutions that will be in harmony with the watershed's urban environment.

Beargrass Creek is comprised of three main branches: the South, Middle and Muddy forks, which reach throughout the city of Louisville. Due to the watershed’s urban environment, about one-third of all precipitation will land on impervious surfaces such as blacktop, where it collects toxins, pollutants and sediments as it drains into the creek. 

“This is a monumental day and a monumental moment for Beargrass Creek,” said Louisville MSD Director Tony Parrott during the news conference.
The commitment from both organizations is $1.5 million each for a total value of $3 million to complete the study over the course of the next three years.

“We are proud to partner with Louisville MSD to create a comprehensive plan which will identify methods for improving this beautiful natural resource of the Three Forks of Beargrass Creek for generations to come,” said Louisville District Commander Col. Antoinette Gant. “This study has been the result of years of coordination, and one we are fortunate to have been selected for as it is one of only six new start projects across the Corps of Engineers and the only ecosystem restoration project selected nationwide.”

A multidisciplinary team of biologists, archaeologists, engineers, plan formulators, and economists along with technical experts from MSD has been assembled according to Andrew Reed, Louisville District Project manager. 

“The team will focus on identifying creative solutions to restore the ecosystem of the Beargrass Creek Watershed,” Reed said.

Next, the Corps will begin initial scoping meetings and public and stakeholder scoping opportunities to gain valuable feedback from the community. 

“We want to come up with a plan that Louisville can be proud of and that we, as an organization, can showcase to the nation; highlighting the importance of ecosystem restoration and how it is equally valued among the Corps’ diverse missions,” Reed said.