Silver Creek Bank Stabilization and Habitat Rehabilitation Project
Kalamazoo County, MI

Grantee: Kalamazoo Valley Chapter Trout Unlimited
Basin Program Funds: $5,500
Non-federal Funds: $7,600
Project Duration: 04/1995 - 03/1996
Status: complete

Problem Statement
Previous cattle access along a one quarter mile section of Silver Creek has resulted in weakened streambanks. Although an electric fence has been installed to prevent further cattle access to the stream, many large pieces of the bank continue to break off with each rain event, adding many tons of sedimentation to the creek each time. The Natural Resource Conservation District estimated that approximately 141 tons per year of soil are lost at this location. As a result, water quality, aquatic habitat and stream flow have been impaired.

The Silver Creek Stream Bank Stabilization and Habitat Rehabilitation project is a cooperative effort between Trout Unlimited, the Fly Fishing Federation, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and a major landowner along Silver Creek. The goal of the project is to stabilize eroding banks and provide fish habitat on a one quarter mile section of Silver Creek located about three quarter miles upstream from the confluence of the Kalamazoo River. Kalamazoo River is a designated Area of Concern under Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's Remedial Action Program.

Silver Creek is a small second order tributary to the Kalamazoo River. The river is estimated to be 5.4 miles in length and perhaps southern Michigan's finest trout resource. Numerous springs erupt along the entire course of the stream and contribute to the good water quality of the stream environment.

The Great Lakes Basin Program is spending $5,500 over a 12 month period to: 1) demonstrate various bank stabilization techniques on 16 sites along the one quarter mile section of Silver Creek; and, 2) establish over 500 square feet of new fish habitat.

As a result of the coordinated effort between the landowners, the KVCTU, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality-Fisheries Division, and other supporting groups the following items were accomplished during the 1995 project year:

  • All sixteen project areas along the one quarter mile section were completed. Follow-up work and evaluation during 1996, indicated that all sections were fully repaired and function as designed.

  • Bank stabilization has resulted in an 85% reduction of soil sedimentation (119 tons). Banks have re-vegetated themselves, and show little or no signs of previous damage.

  • Over fifty participants worked to complete the project. For many of the supporting organizations this was their first hands-on experience with a stream improvement project. Groups learned how to stabilize the banks and provide added fish habitat by installing half-logs and lunker structures.

  • Early fish population studies of the 1/4 mile section indicate an increase in the number and size of fish. This is encouraging since there has been increased fishing pressure, and both control sections indicate decreased fish populations.

Contact: Ed Hoover, (616) 456-1521


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