CUYAHOGA RIVER REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN
CUYAHOGA AMERICAN HERITAGE RIVER

MUD BROOK is one of the shallowest and therefore slowest-moving tributaries to the Cuyahoga River. Its own major tributary, Powers Brook, is likewise slow and shallow. The Mud Brook watershed is full of wetlands, some of high quality, and others that have been altered and crowded out by development.

Mud Brook begins its flow in Hudson, Ohio, and travels slowly southwest to its confluence with the Cuyahoga River in Akron. It is treated as a County Ditch, and therefore it has been channelized and reconstructed along its route to serve as a means to move water quickly out of the area. Land use choices have encouraged these alterations, with consequences to the natural functioning of the brook.

The Hudson Land Conservancy has purchased 45 acres of high quality wetlands in Hudson, including portions of Mud Brook and Powers Brook. The site is part of a large (100+ acre) high-quality wetland complex. Much of the land had in the past been tiled and drained for agricultural purposes. Currently about 19 acres of existing wetlands are on the site.

The watershed's proximity to major transportation routes and increasing development in and around Hudson puts development pressure on the natural infrastructure, and on its ability to act as a major water storage and filtering asset.

LOCATION: Northeast Ohio, Summit County, including the communities of
Akron, Boston Heights Village, Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson, Silver Lake and Stow
CHARACTERISTICS  
Drainage: Drains approximately 30.10 square miles
Length: Mud Brook is approximately 11 miles long.
Powers Brook is a low gradient, slow moving tributary stream that stretches approximately 4.9 miles.
Gradient:

Changes in elevation from 1010ft- 735ft, gradually descending over 275ft on its way to the Cuyahoga River. Mud Brook is the flattest stream and therefore one of the slowest moving streams in the Lower Cuyahoga River Basin.

Land Cover:

Land Cover 2001:
Urbanized Generally Impervious- 24.33%
Barren & Misc.- 1.40%
Grass & Agriculture- 38.49%
Shrub & Scrub Cover- 4.80%
Wooded- 34.72%
Streams & Surface Water- 1.01

WATERSHED-SPECIFIC CHALLENGES TO HEALTH AND FUNCTION

Throughout much of Mud Brook’s length, surrounding land uses have altered its natural shape. Ditch dredging has straightened and deepened the stream channel. Typically, dredged sediments were cast along side the stream banks. Also, housing has encroached on the stream, eliminating segments of riparian corridors and floodplains. 

These activities have degraded the stream’s capability for providing stable habitats and assimilating pollutants.

GEOLOGY 

Mud Brook watershed, similar to the rest of the Cuyahoga River basin, rests on top of an ancient river valley, which was filled in with glacial sediment at the end of the last ice age.

Underlying the watershed is 400 feet of permeable glacial deposit that is continuously recharged with precipitation and aids in the areas abundant groundwater resource. 

Much of the glacial depressions in the landscape called “kettle holes”, have since filled in forming peat deposits.  These peat deposits better known as Carlisle muck soil, are hotspots for high quality wetlands that support wildlife habitat, hydrologic and recreational functions. 

Carlisle muck wetlands represent Mud Brook’s key resources and deserve protection. 

AQUATIC LIFE AND HABITAT

Biological data shows that the health and diversity of fish and aquatic insects improves near the mouth of Mud Brook. In this segment of the stream The Cuyahoga Valley National Park provides excellent habitat for aquatic communities to flourish. Also, stream flow and gradient increase, which can help provide more oxygen and beneficial nutrients.

Aquatic communities in Upper Mud Brook were poor and did meet Ohio EPA’s standards. This is due to sluggish stream conditions, dredging, low oxygen and excessive erosion and sedimentation.

WATERSHED HYDROLOGY

Upper Mud Brook basin is a natural low gradient, wetland-induced slow-moving stream. It average slope in this section is 4.2 feet/mile. From Beaver Pond (in Cuyahoga Falls) South to Mud Brook’s confluence with the Cuyahoga River, the stream flow is much faster with an average slope of 68ft/mile.

Land use activities have also influenced Mud Brook’s hydrology. Mud Brook is mapped and managed as County Ditch #1, which requires dredging and channelizing activities. This has caused the stream to hold more water and move it off the landscape quicker.

Suburban development and related wetland losses affect Mud Brook’s hydrology. Urbanization typically removes important ecosystems that trap, filter and slowly release storm water back into streams. Ohio EPA noted heavy stream flows in areas of the watershed that have been experiencing excessive erosion and siltation.

Properly maintaining wetlands helps to control storm water naturally, and could have helped reduce the 2003 flooding experienced in the watershed. Between 1994 and 2000 it was estimated that 13 acres of wetlands were lost.

WATER QUALITY Recent reports indicate that Mud Brook is not in attainment of EPA water quality standards. Low oxygen levels plague the stream, possibly as a result of erosion and sedimentation from construction and channelization.

The Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization (CRCPO)
is host to the Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan (RAP) and
the Cuyahoga American Heritage River Initiative.

We work with partners, stakeholders and communities
in five Northeast Ohio counties to restore and revitalize the
Cuyahoga River Watershed and Areas Of Concern, and
to improve water quality in the watershed and Lake Erie.

www.cuyahogariverrap.org

CRCPO • 1299 Superior Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44114
216/241-2414
contact: goodmanj@cuyahogariverrap.org