Deerfield Nature Park Erosion Control Project
County of Isabella Parks and Recreation
Basin Program Funds:
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
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