Stream Daylighting: The Uncovering of Lost Resources

The preservation and safeguarding of small streams is the best approach to ensure environmental and community benefits such as clean water and flood reduction.  In many of our cities, however, where small streams are often covered by buildings and forgotten, protecting these streams is not possible.  Stream daylighting is an approach that looks to bring these buried waterways back to surface by physically uncovering and restoring them.

The city of Cincinnati is using this approach of stream daylighting along the Lick Run watershed, to reduce and eliminate combined sewer overflows into local creeks and rivers. Cincinnati, like the city of Pittsburgh, is under a federal consent decree to reduce its CSO’s. The Metropolitan Sewer District of Cincinnati hopes that the Lick Run project will not only reduce its CSO’s but also reduce flood damage, cost to tax payers, and revitalize the area economically. They aim to emulate the success seen in other cities like Seattle where the uncovering of Thorton Run, which cost a total of $14 million to complete, was a catalyst for $200 million in private development  (American Rivers Report:  Daylighting Streams, December 2013).

The  EPA is highlighting the Lick Run Project as a model communities could mimic, as they search for ways to address water pollution issues and promote economic growth.  Although more information needs to be gathered on the potential challenges of stream daylighting, the success of projects across the U.S indicates that it may be a valuable tool in addressing economic and environmental issues.

More information on the Lick Run stream daylighting project can be found at: