Ann Arbor will study sediment buildup in Millers Creek that causes Geddes flooding
The smallest, steepest tributary to the Huron River that is notorious for flooding during average rainfall events is getting a closer look.
The Ann Arbor City Council approved dedicating $46,026 for a future contract at its meeting Monday night with Environmental Consulting & Technology Inc. to study how sediment has built up in Millers Creek.
The study will be used to create a model from which ECT will make several recommendations for solutions to the city this fall.
Millers Creek has a swift descent to the river until it reaches a point near Huron High School at 2727 Fuller Road where the creek bed plateaus - a geologic feature that causes the creek to deposit most of the sediment it carries by Ruthven Nature Preserve.
Years of sediment buildup near the delta of the creek has choked the waterway when the creek swells as it rains.
“It doesn’t take much rain to spike high,” said Paul Steen, watershed ecologist for the Huron River Watershed Council.
The creek finds its own path at times - running through a small culvert about 10 inches in diameter underneath Geddes Road.
“The creek is trying to reach some kind of equilibrium,” Steen said. “Putting meanders back could solve the problem, but then you have a lot of land use issues.”
The creek’s channel is somewhat restricted, as it runs parallel to Huron Parkway on one side and a residential development on the other.
The research team will also conduct a network-wide field investigation of the streams in the area to complete their data collection, which includes the collection of about 30 soil samples.
At the end of the sampling, ECT will provide three options for the city to choose from to deal with the sediment loading in the creek, and give specific recommendations for culverts under Huron Parkway, Ruthven Nature Preserve and Geddes Road.
Public meetings will be held once ECT scientists have conducted their research.
In the contract approved by city council, ECT estimated the project should be complete by Sept. 11. ECT has its headquarters in Gainesville, Fla. and an office on Commonwealth Boulevard in Ann Arbor.