Deerfield Nature Park Erosion Control Project
Isabella County, MI

Grantee: County of Isabella Parks and Recreation
Basin Program Funds: $3,925
Non-federal Funds: $1,325
Project Duration: 06/1996 - 06/1997
Status: complete

Problem Statement
The Deerfield Nature Park experienced soil erosion and sedimentation damage along a 200-foot long section of Chippewa River bank and downstream pond. The park is a popular recreation site and an important resource to Isabella County and mid-Michigan.

Deerfield Nature Park is located in Isabella County, Michigan in the headwaters of the Saginaw Bay watershed. Saginaw Bay is a nationally renowned recreational resource located within a day's drive of millions of Americans. In recent years, significant attention had been given to water quality problems affecting Saginaw Bay, the Saginaw River and its tributaries. Much has been done to build public support for improved water quality in these waters, and improvements are being realized. Controlling soil erosion and sedimentation in Deerfield Nature Park is another meaningful step forward in confronting water quality problems.

The goal of this project was to restore and provide protection to approximately 200 feet of significantly eroded Chippewa River bank found within the park. Part of this goal was to demonstrate and promote the development of an earnest stewardship ethic for the care of mid-Michigan natural resources, especially surface water resources.

This project partially eliminated erosion and sedimentation damage being experienced in the park. Restoration goals included: 1) reducing the impact of the flow of water on a steep north facing bank in a highly energized section of river; 2) controlling surface water runoff in a manner that minimizes the creation of gullies; 3) preventing the movement of highly erodible sandy soils by protecting existing ground cover and establishing new plantings of various trees, shrubs and grass; and 4) managing the movement of park visitors through and within this beautiful portion of the park.

To control erosion at the site, structures such as a runoff diversion bar, timber and cable/half-log steps, and cedar tree trunk barriers were installed. Vegetation was planted along the rehabilitated slopes and fencing was installed to keep people off the slope. A project identification and information sign, consisting of a plaque mounted on a large boulder, was erected.

Project efforts have effectively controlled erosion at the site caused by the vertical movement of runoff. Erosion caused by the flowing of the Chippewa River has also been significantly reduced. Placement of the cedar tree trunks along the bottom of the slope have kept river ice from gouging the shoreline.

The benefits of the project include: 1) increased public awareness about soil erosion problems as well as the steps taken to eliminate soil erosion and protect the environment of the Chippewa River; 2) elimination of an unattractive and scarred section of river bank -- replacing it with a managed, attractive setting; 3) improved habitat for aquatic life found in the Chippewa River downstream from the site resulting from a significant reduction in sedimentation from the site; and 4) elimination of a safety hazard represented by a high volume of foot traffic in an area previously containing deep gullies caused by water erosion.

Contact: Jerry Jaloszynski, Parks & Recreation Coordinator, (517) 772-0911


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