Soft Engineering and Natural Methods Control Streambank Erosion, Sediment
Lake County, MI

Grantee: Osceola-Lake Conservation District
Basin Program Funds: $17,662
Non-federal Funds: $5,588
Project Duration: 07/2001 - 06/2003
Status: Complete

Problem Statement
The sandy streambanks of the Pere Marquette River, coupled with the river’s high stream flow, causes sand to be deposited into the river, covering spawning beds and filling in fishing holes. Streambank erosion and sedimentation have been documented on the Middle Branch of the Pere Marquette, but inadequate funding exists to address the problem. The river is important for fishing, including trout and salmon, wildlife viewing and other forms of recreation. The overall goal of the project is to prevent streambank erosion and the resultant sedimentation of the Pere Marquette River by applying soft engineering practices and native seed and shrub plantings at 44 sites identified as having streambank erosion problems.

The Middle Branch of the Pere Marquette River begins in Chase Township, Lake County, Michigan. The river is joined by the Baldwin River about two miles southwest of Baldwin, then continues through Mason City where the Pere Marquette River outlets into Lake Michigan, just south of Ludington. In March 2000, Trout Unlimited identified the Pere Marquette as the “longest free-flowing trout stream in Michigan.” Streambank erosion has been documented on the Middle Branch of the Pere Marquette in sections 9 and 10 of Yates Township in Lake County. A private citizen identified 44 streambank erosion sites and those sites were verified by natural resource professionals from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR).

This project’s primary activities were:

  • Secure the support, cooperation and commitment of all riparian landowners who have one or more of the 44 identified sites on their properties
  • Obtain permits from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality so that protective measures may be implemented
  • Complete engineering design showing engineering practices and native plants to be used to address streambank erosion at the 44 identified sites
  • Meet with implementation crew to discuss the work to be performed and the final completion date
  • Install soft engineering and native plants to control streambank erosion and sedimentation at the 44 identified sites

Summary of tasks completed this reporting period.

  • NRCS district conservationist (DC) met with landowners and contractor at eroded sites to discuss conservation treatments and effects on adjacent areas, including trees to remove for use in streambank protection
  • Contractor completed work as per bid agreement
  • NRCSDC and engineer checked completed sites to ensure quality
  • NRCSDC met with local news writer in order to enlighten the general public about what is being accomplished on the Pere Marquette River Project
  • NRCSDC documented completed work by taking black and white pictures and color slides
  • OLCD executive director met with commissioners from Osceola & Lake Counties to inform them of progress on the Pere Marquette Project

Summary of accomplishments during this reporting period.

  • Contractor completed streambank protection work on 1,399 lineal feet (11,052 squarefeet) on river bank. Quality assurance reviews by NRCS revealed high quality of work, meeting NRCS standards and specifications
  • Large number of individuals were reached through newspaper and magazine articles
  • One-hundred percent satisfaction on the part of riparian landowners who had work performed on their property

Contact: Pam Wayne, 231-832-5438 x 3


Great Lakes Commission des Grands Lacs.  2805 S. Industrial Highway, Suite 100.  Ann Arbor, MI  48104-6791.  phone: 734/971.9135.  fax: 734/971-9150. Join the Friends of the Great Lakes GLIN Partner