Kidís Creek Buffalo Pasture Restoration Project
Grand Traverse County, MI

Grantee: The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay
Basin Program Funds: $55,420
Non-federal Funds: $73,562
Project Duration: 07/2003 - 11/2005
Status: complete

Problem Statement
Excess sedimentation (150 tons/yr of sediment delivered to Kid's Creek for nearly the last half century) has resulted from severe bank erosion and upland runoff due to a buffalo herd in the area.

Background
There have been large sediment and nutrient inputs into Kid's Creek caused by a domesticated buffalo herd that was allowed to roam freely through the creek from 1956 until recently, when the herd was moved. The area was used as agricultural land for pasture for the Oleson family buffalo herd, the largest herd east of the Mississippi River. These buffalo were allowed unlimited access to the creek, causing increased erosion and sedimentation to the stream along steep banks, lacking vegetation.

The property is now part of a planned unit development (PUD), executed by Garfield Township, and comprises 74.9 acres of land. Kid's creek and its associated wetlands and ponds occupy a 17.9-acre area (3,000 linear feet of stream.) As a part of the PUD approval process, these 17.9 acres have been included in a conservation easement held by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, and the underlying ownership of the property has been transferred to Garfield Township. Additionally, as part of the PUD, the business owners on either side of Kid's Creek have pledged funds to assist in the restoration of Kid's Creek. The proposed work in this project will enhance and bolster restoration efforts in the area when combined with these pledged funds, thereby significantly reducing sedimentation to Kid's Creek while providing an opportunity for public education.

Activities
There are three major goals for this project: to restore a 3,000-foot section of Kid's Creek and reduce sediment inputs from 150 tons/yr to 5 tons/yr (the estimated natural level); make the project site a viable and useful demonstration site by installing a woodchip pathway, three foot bridges, cedar fencing, an informational kiosk, and at least two Wayside exhibits; and thirdly, to increase awareness of local governments, business owners, and the general public on how stream restoration can work in their community and how Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) may fund such activities. Step three will be don by holding half-day workshops, publishing and distribution of a four-color tri-fold project brochure, hosting open houses for the public, producing informational articles to be distributed to various publications and by setting up and host project website with quarterly updates on progress of project.

Results
Streambank restoration work was completed at 31 sites totaling 843 feet of Kid's Creek, averaging 6.5 feet in height. (Installation of the cold water outlet to create a fishing site was not completed.) Native plants used include: Tamarack, White Cedar, Dogwood, Red Osier, Norway Spruce, Hawthorne, River Birch, Red Maple, Red Oak, Highbush Cranberry, and Big Bluestem grass. An agreement to maintain best management practices (BMP's) and trails at the site were made with Garfield Township and Grand Traverse Conservation District. Ten organizations and more than 100 people have volunteered their time to help assist with restoration efforts as this site (totaling over 400 hours).

Trail and bridge construction did not start at the site until streambank restoration work was completed, and this portion of work was not completed by the end of project (9/30/05). Trail work will continue using matching funds and will be completed within 2 months (by 11/30/05). Final trail work includes: 1800 linear feet of ADA accessible stone path, 450 linear feet of elevated walkway, 5 foot bridges, and 300 linear feet of cedar fencing.

A three panel kiosk was completed to educate visitors about the restoration site. The panels explain the history and past land uses at the site, the harmful effects of excess sedimentation in the watershed, and the restoration project activities. The kiosk will be placed at one of the main trailhead entrances. Two half-day workshops were held (10/16/03 and 10/1/04). The final workshop will be held in spring 2006 after planted vegetation and stream bank restoration features have had time to take hold. Only one Open House was held at the site (10/2/04), which was sparsely attended by the public. The Watershed Center plans on holding another Open House Spring 2006 (in conjunction with the final Workshop) when the vegetation has grown in. The project was added to our website: www.gtbay.org/kidscreek which includes a project overview, restoration work, project updates, and a photo gallery of restoration work in progress.

Contact: Ms. Anne Hansen, (231) 935-1514

 

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