A public-private-academic partnership is ecologically restoring a creek in Michigan

On August 28, 2018—on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers partnered with Oakland University, Consumers Energy and Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. to restore and protect the vitality of Galloway Creek.

The project will partially reroute and reconstruct the channel, and is intended to improve water quality, channel stability, spawning habitat and aquatic diversity. Part of the work, funded by Consumers Energy, has involved repositioning a 36-inch gas line.

Heather Dziedzic, a senior environmental planner with Consumers Energy, points to tributaries of Galloway Creek on the Katke-Cousins Golf Course as (from left) Golf and Managing Director Bill Rogers of the OU Golf and Learning Center, U.S. Congressman Mike Bishop and Project Manager Rob Myllyoja of Stantec Consulting Services look on.

U.S. Congressman Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, recently visited a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) worksite on the Katke-Cousins Golf Course to learn of progress being made on a $4 million project to restore 3,900 feet of Galloway Creek to a stable meandering wet meadow channel. “I am so pleased to see an area where I grew up be kept in pristine condition. This is a beautiful campus and I think you are doing great work here,” Bishop told project partners accompanying his tour of the site. “What you are doing here is important and it is a story that I plan to tell a lot.”

Rob Myllyoja, project manager for Stantec Consulting Services, echoed the congressman’s thoughts. “The comprehensive plan to re-meander the creek and restore adjacent wetlands will help the fishery by reducing temperatures and excessive erosion,” he said. “The efforts of a lot of local and regional stakeholders are coming together to demonstrate the state of stream restoration science.

The creek is part of the Clinton River Watershed, which was declared an Area of Concern under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement of 1987. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality considered the watershed to be environmentally degraded due to the presence of pollutants, sediment contamination, high turbidity, low-quality aquatic habitat and negatively impacted animal and plant life.

Invasive plant species will be largely removed, and measures will be put in place to ensure that native trees and plants beneficial to the creek ecosystem take hold throughout the restoration site. The OU Golf & Learning Center has long employed a number of measures to ensure that course maintenance does not degrade the environmental quality of the creek and surrounding natural areas. In fact, Head Golf Course Superintendent Tom Schall notes that water flowing downstream from Katke-Cousins is cleaner than the water flowing into it.

Most of the GLRI project work will take place through the fall months, with some vegetation plantings scheduled to take place in the spring of 2019.

All photos courtesy of Oakland University.

See Oakland University website.

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