Completed Malletts Creek project restores habitat, fights erosion, officials say
Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com
The goal was to improve water quality and habitat while maintaining safe, stable drainage through the creek basin.
Embankments that were once steep — causing a narrow, fast flow in the drain that swept sediment straight into the Huron River — are now more gradual.
Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com
Sections of the drain have been bolstered with rock, and diversions have been created to prevent further erosion of embankments.
A native seed mix has been spread across the restored area at the County Park adjacent to Washtenaw Avenue to create a wetland.
"We stabilized 9,000 feet of stream channel using natural approaches that will be sustainable in an urban environment," Drain Commissioner Janis Bobrin told about three dozen people who gathered at the park's administrative building Saturday afternoon for the grand opening.
Malletts Creek is located both in the City of Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township. The watershed is 11-square miles in area and flows into the Huron River. Malletts Creek drain is the main outlet for storm water runoff from the city of Ann Arbor.
Bobrin completed the restoration's master plan in the spring of 2000.
"Its many elements included changes in development standards and other regulations, public education, and the physical restoration of the stream itself," Bobrin said.
Bobrin also said the project created the best possible habitat, and reduced stream bank erosion from 913 to 72 tons per year, which will result in an annual reduction of 715 pounds of phosphorus that was being discharged to the Huron River from the Malletts Creekshed.
"It feels good to start seeing the differences made like phosphorus reduction, more storm water control and less erratic flow," said Harry Sheehan, Bobrin's environmental manager.
The $2.7 million dollar environmental project, which was funded by a grant from the Department of Environmental Quality and a revolving loan from the state, was fraught with problems along the way including an accident that left an employee of Mead Bros. Excavating dead.
Saturday, Bobrin along with Bob Tetens, Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation director, paid tribute to Wayne Mead, who was pinned by an excavator while working on the restoration. Alarge rock with a plaque at the park's northern entrance off Washtenaw Avenue reads: "This beautifully restored stream and native prairie are testaments to Mr. Wayne Mead's daily standard of excellence and are dedicated to those who labor to protect our natural resources."
The project came to fruition thanks to the combined effort of the City of Ann Arbor, Pittsfield Township, the Huron River Watershed Council, the Malletts Creek Association, the residents of the Malletts Creek basin, and the Michigan DEQ.
Lisa Carolin is a freelance reporter for AnnArbor.com. To reach the news desk email email@example.com or call 734-623-2530.