In the John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH) Stormwater Management Master Plan (SWMMP) developed for the Columbus Regional Airport Authority (CRAA) years earlier, Gresham Smith addressed the challenging combination of widespread redevelopment—including parking lot expansions and the Runway 10R-28L relocation—and limited land availability at CMH by recommending a single regional detention basin serving both the Turkey Run and Mason Run watersheds.
The CRAA identified undeveloped property on the south side of the airport surrounding Turkey Run, a low-quality stream in a highly urbanized area. The organization purchased the parcels, which total 23 acres, and called on Gresham Smith to study the area and develop options for maximizing the value of the site for meeting stormwater, habitat and safety requirements.
Upon extensive alternatives evaluation, which considered environmental impacts, water quality benefits, capital and operating costs, and wildlife attraction, and coordination with all regulatory agencies, our team chose to pursue a detention facility with a self-forming stream channel and an extended floodplain.
The 115 acre-foot Turkey Run Stormwater Management Facility was designed and constructed, resulting in improved stormwater quality and flood control for the Turkey Run watershed as well as a portion of the adjacent Mason Run watershed.
The integrated self-forming stream channel design element allowed the CRAA to meet onsite mitigation criteria, but due to the adjacent runway, wildlife deterrence was also a fundamental requirement. The specialized vegetation selection and wildlife deterrent features such as steeper side slopes, monoculture of vegetation and minimized open water, provided the wildlife hazard mitigation needed for the airport.
The Turkey Run Stormwater Management Facility resulted in several social, economic and sustainable benefits: it avoided the need for a pump station, saving the owner capital and maintenance costs; it achieved onsite mitigation, providing the ecological benefits to the same location and watershed; it restored ecological functions to the degraded headwaters stream; and it reduced the potential for downstream flooding, preserving infrastructure and safety for neighbors.