MyNorth News Service

(Press Release provided by The Watershed Center)

TRAVERSE CITY: The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay will receive more than $725,000 to continue its work on Kids Creek, an impaired stream in the Grand Traverse Bay watershed.

The grant award from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) includes green infrastructure and streambank stabilization projects to improve water quality and reduce stormwater and sediment inputs to Kids Creek. The Watershed Center was one of only 14 organizations awarded a GLRI project grant within the Great Lakes region during this funding cycle.

Currently, a 2-mile portion of Kids Creek is on the State Impaired Waters List due to human-caused activities, all of which are related to stormwater runoff.

“Excessive stormwater can erode streambanks and increase sediment in a stream, covering fish and aquatic wildlife habitat,” explained Sarah U’Ren, program director at The Watershed Center. “Stormwater also carries pollutants like E.Coli, fertilizers and pesticides, and oils and grease from cars.”

The newly funded project continues The Watershed Center’s large-scale restoration project on Kids Creek, extending their recent work on the Munson Medical Center campus to the Grand Traverse Commons and Grand Traverse Pavilions.

The $728,840 grant, which runs through 2017, will include construction of Low Impact Development and green infrastructure (rain gardens, pervious pavement, bioretention swales) to further reduce stormwater impacts to the creek.

“We have some initial sites in the Commons and Pavilions in mind, however we’ll be conducting a thorough stormwater analysis of the site to determine priority areas where we can reduce stormwater,” U’Ren said.

Additionally, The Watershed Center will work to stabilize 30 severe to moderately eroding streambank sites throughout the watershed and install sediment management practices at two locations along the creek.

The Watershed Center has been working on Kids Creek-related projects since July 2003, and more than $3.4 million in public and private funding has been invested. Much of the project over the last few years has coincided with the preparation for and construction of the new Cowell Family Cancer Center on the northern part of Munson Medical Center’s campus.

Recent activities include:

  • Installation of two sets of underground infiltration trenches at the Cowell Family Cancer Center construction site. When completed, the infiltration trenches will filter stormwater runoff from the cancer center roof and parking lot, preventing its diversion into storm drains. The infiltration trenches consist of an underground pipe with holes set in a bed of gravel and can hold up to 240,000 gallons of water. Water flows into the pipes then slowly infiltrates the ground.
  • Daylighting and naturalizing a 900 foot section of Kids Creek running through the Munson Campus.
  • Creation of almost 1/4 mile of natural meandering stream.
  • Elimination of 72,000 square-feet (1.25 football fields) of impervious surface.
  • Creation of a 15-30 foot wide buffer planted with native flowers and shrubs.
  • Establishment of a 27,000 square-foot (.62 acre) floodplain.

“We are very grateful for the continued funding from the EPA for this project,” said U’Ren. “Our long term goal is to improve water quality in the watershed and eventually see the removal of Kids Creek from the Impaired Waters List.”

Would you like to see The Watershed Center work on more projects like the restoration of Kids Creek? Donations from our individual donors allow us to keep a watchful eye on our watershed to spot areas prime for improvement.

Help support and further clean water in Grand Traverse Bay with a small, monthly contribution to The Watershed Center. Become a Bay Guardian today.