Phase one of restoring Kids Creek on Munson Medical Center’s campus is complete.

We replaced 900 feet of underground culverts and channelized ditches with a natural, aboveground channel.  This is called daylighting the creek. The new stream bed eliminates 73,000 square feet of impervious, or paved, area and establishes 27,000 square feet of floodplain.  This is vital for reducing runoff.

Kids Creek is on the state’s list of Impaired Waters due to poor aquatic insect populations, which is caused by heavy sedimentation from runoff. Robust aquatic insect populations are important for fish habitat.

The new meandering stream channel incorporates tree root wads embedded in the banks, which provide fish habitat and reduce erosion. The Grand Traverse Conservation District helped with streambed design.

Now we’re beginning phase two, which focuses mostly on installing green runoff design, otherwise known as Low Impact Development. Features will include rain gardens, green roofs and pervious pavement. Such green infrastructure absorbs more runoff, which will help reduce sedimentation impacts on Kids Creek.

Some of the features will be designed as part of the new Cowell Family Cancer Center, while others will be installed at various locations on the Munson campus.

Engineering work takes place this winter. Construction will begin in summer 2014.

We’re also working with DEQ to determine how much sediment Kids Creek can handle while also meeting water quality standards. The plan is called a Total Maximum Daily Load. The plan will help determine how much runoff we need to reduce to improve the creek.

The ultimate goal is to get Kids Creek off the Impaired Waters list.

Watershed Center funding for this project comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, MDEQ, Munson, the Great Lakes Fishery Trust and the Oleson Foundation. Munson funding partners include Rotary Charities of Traverse City and Consumers Energy Foundation.

Photo courtesy of TC Rotary

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