Kids Creek Restoration

Kids Creek, a cherished stream on Traverse City’s west side, is on the State of Michigan Impaired Water’s List due to a poor macroinvertebrate community. For decades, Kids Creek has been moved and channeled to accommodate development in the area, essentially cutting the creek off from its floodplain and degrading in-stream habitat. Since 2003, we have worked to restore Kids Creek to a natural, free-flowing creek by decreasing stormwater inputs, reconnecting the creek to its floodplain, restoring in-stream habitat, and removing culverts that restrict the flow of water.

By the Numbers

  • 35 streambanks have been stabilized totaling 4,302 feet
  • 900 feet daylighted
  • 8 road crossings
  • 23,151 square feet of riparian buffers
  • 31 rain gardens planted
  • 3 stormwater wetland areas
  • 6,820 square feet of pervious pavement
  • 9 oil and grit separaters
  • 8,542 feet of underground infiltration trenches
  • 3 drywells
  • 6,500 square feet of green roof
  • 10 Storm Tree boxes
  • 3 Downspout Planter Boxes

Kids Creek Restoration Projects

Munson Medical Center

  • Relocated 900 feet of underground culverts and channelized ditches of Kids Creek Tributary A to a natural meandering channel 1,275 feet in length; eliminated 72,000 square feet of impervious surfaces; established native riparian buffer of 15-30 feet along the entire section including 27,000 square feet of vegetated floodplain.
  • Installed 3,304 square-foot green roof , two sets of underground infiltration trenches that can hold up to 240,000 gallons of water, and a rain garden at the Cowell Family Cancer Center.
  • Installed 4 downspout planter boxes, converted parking lot to pervious pavers, and retrofitted existing detention basin to a rain garden by Munson Healthcare Foundation Offices on Medical Campus Drive.
  • Retrofitted 3,100 square feet roof on Munson’s NW Tower A to a green roof.
  • Installed bioretention basins and pervious pavement around the Munson Medical Center helipad parking lots.
  • Installed 5 tree box planters and 3 large rain gardens along Medical Campus Drive.
  • Excavated and enlarged the stormwater wetland on the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Medical Campus Drive.
  • Installed underground storage and slow-release stormwater chamber at Munson’s parking garage on Sixth Street/Elmwood Avenue.
  • Replaced undersized culverts with an open-bottom structure at Kids Creek Tributary AA road crossing at Munson’s Emergency Room; restored natural stream function and connected creek to floodplain immediately upstream and downstream.

Grand Traverse Commons

  • Converted lined and rock-filled detention areas off Cottageview Drive to functioning rain gardens.
  • Reduced runoff and erosion issues by paving Yellow Drive and installed dry wells to handle stormwater runoff.

Grand Traverse Pavilions

  • Full stream restoration of Kids Creek Tributary AA that runs between the Grand Traverse Commons and Grand Traverse Pavilions that included the creation of a floodplain area along 1,200 feet of stream that was planted 65 new trees and hundreds of flowering plants and shrubs .
  • Installed rain garden at Grand Traverse Pavilion’s entrance.


  • Installed two remote water quality sensing stations to determine potential impacts of road salt. View real-time data from stations at 11th Street and Silver Lake Road.
  • Completed sediment basin reconstruction work at West Front Primary Care to prevent direct sediment input from parking lot runoff into Kids Creek Tributary A.
  • Installed a rain garden to collect and infiltrate water from the parking area of the Traverse City State Office Building.
  • Reduced sediment and stormwater runoff from industrial business near headwaters of Tributary A.
  • Installed 1,065 foot bioswale to receive water from the 14th Street stormdrain outlet.
  • Replacing three undersized culverts with open bottom bridge structures on Tributary A and the main branch of Kids Creek.

Kids Creek Restoration Project Funders

  • City of Traverse City
  • Consumers Energy Foundation
  • Grand Traverse Conservation District
  • Grand Traverse Pavilions
  • Great Lakes Commission
  • Great Lakes Fishery Trust
  • Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
  • Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
  • The Minervini Group
  • Munson Medical Center
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Oleson Foundation
  • Royal Bank of Canada Foundation
  • Walker Foundation
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