Urban Erosion Control Project for Loop Park
Shiawassee County, MI

Grantee: Shiawassee County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD)
Basin Program Funds: $25,000
Non-federal Funds: $38,650
Project Duration: 04/2001 - 07/2003
Status: Complete

Problem Statement
Loop Park erosion problems, similar to those at many residential sites, include two gullies caused by overland flow and streambank erosion due to a lack of vegetation. Destruction of vegetation --caused by the unnatural concentration of hundreds of wild and domestic waterfowl, and excessive foot traffic from hundreds of park visitors -- is adding to the degradation by prohibiting reestablishment of vegetation.

Many concerns have emerged from the Shiawassee River watershed that are linked to urban erosion problems. These concerns, as indicated by the stateís Total Maximum Daily Load list, include excessive levels of phosphorus and pathogens, and poor fish and macroinvertebrate communities. In 1995, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality conducted a biological survey of the watershed, of which the resulting preliminary report indicated degraded habitat from sedimentation, large flow fluctuations and removal of riparian vegetation. Urban problems such as these exist throughout the watershed.

Stabilize 2,200 feet of streambank with native woody vegetation, grasses and wildflowers. Return the concentration of waterfowl to natural levels by restoring the native vegetation. Provide a demonstration area for the entire community, especially riparian residents, on the aesthetic and environmental benefits of native plant restoration along the riverbank and flood plain. Train and utilize volunteers in the restoration effort. Decrease erosion by providing designated walkways and fishing access points. Install signs along the river for information and educational purposes. Promote the project through a website.

Work on the Urban Erosion Control Project at Loop Park was started in April 2001 and completed in June 2003. During this time, the following tasks were undertaken:

  • Stabilizing the streambank with native woody vegetation, grasses and wildflowers
  • Returning the concentration of waterfowl to a natural level by restoring the native vegetation
  • Providing a demonstration area for the entire community, especially riparian residents, on the aesthetic and environmental benefits of native plant restoration
  • Providing hands-on training to the community by training and utilizing volunteers in the restoration efforts
  • Increasing recreational benefits of the park
  • Improving community quality of life by enhancing park aesthetics

To address the erosion problem at Loop Park, nearly 2,100 feet of streambank has been stabilized using native woody vegetation, grasses, and wildflowers. To accomplish this goal, 900 shrubs and trees were planted, along with 380 wildflower plugs. Native grasses and wildflowers were planted using the Shiawassee Conservation Districtís no-till grass drill and a gully area was corrected with a fabric chute. Approximately 450 feet of fascines were also used to accomplish the streambank stabilization goals.

Roughly 40 volunteers participated in the various workdays. Their presence and participation is an example of one way the project has provided an educational opportunity for the community. Many of these volunteers are now equipped with the knowledge to go and implement these restoration techniques on their own riparian areas.

In October 2002 a walking and biking path was installed at the park, 1,568 feet long, six feet wide and accompanied by a two-foot-wide jogging path. Two fishing access points were installed along the streambank and two more were planned for the fall of 2003. The addition of these paths and structures has increased the recreational capabilities of this park by providing direct access to the river and a safer surface for enjoying the improved aesthetics of this area. An additional improvement to this area was the placement of 800 feet of split rail fence next to the paths. This fence has added to the beauty of the area and is also protecting some of the newly re-established streambank from excessive foot traffic.

Signs have been purchased to continue to educate visitors and will be placed at the park. These signs will provide the reader with the names of all of the organizations involved in the restoration process, identification of some of the native plant species used in the restoration work, illustrations and explainations of the purpose and benefits of the restoration project, and before and after photos of Loop Park.

The fabric chute installation correcting a gully has saved one ton/year of soil, eight lbs/year of phosphorus, and two lbs/year nitrogen, according to the gully erosion equation provided. The completed streambank stabilization work has saved 71 tons/year of soil, 708 lbs/year of phosphorus, and 142 lbs/year of nitrogen, according to the channel erosion equation provided.

Contact: Carla J. Wysko, 517-723-8263 ex 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.  projects.glc.org. Join the Friends of the Great Lakes GLIN Partner