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Ruth Mott Foundation Gilkey Creek Relocation and Restoration

Landscape Performance Benefits

Environmental

  • Reduced impervious surfaces and stormwater runoff by 22% and uses natural systems to manage all stormwater runoff generated on site.
  • Restored connectivity to 3 miles of upstream riparian corridor for terrestrial and aquatic species.

Social

  • Expanded capacity of RMF’s environmental education outreach through the development of programming at Applewood with a focus on habitat restoration, native landscapes, stormwater management and wetland ecology.

Economic

  • Eliminated flood-related restoration and clean-up costs by over 95%, saving an average of $10,000-$15,000 annually.
  • Reduced long-term site maintenance costs by 50%, an estimated annual savings of $20,000, by converting 6.6 acres of pavement and lawn to native landscapes.
  • Created local employment opportunities by utilizing contractors from the surrounding four-county region for 80% of work.

At a Glance

  • Designer

    SmithGroupJJR

  • Project Type

    Stream restoration

  • Former Land Use

    Greyfield

  • Location

    1406 Kearsley Street
    Flint, Michigan 48503

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  • Climate Zone

    Humid continental

  • Size

    16 acres

  • Budget

    $1.1 million

  • Completion Date

    2008

The relocation and restoration of over 1/2 mile of Gilkey Creek included daylighting a portion that was enclosed in a culvert for 25 years. The improved hydraulics, bank stabilization, and habitat restoration ended flooding on C.S. Mott’s historic Applewood estate. The project scope reflects the Ruth Mott Foundation (RMF) mission and strove to create a demonstration project for Flint and Genesee County emphasizing sustainability and environmental education.

  • A 1/2-acre wetland was created adjacent to 3 acres of asphalt parking lot to provide stormwater pretreatment, wildlife habitat, and educational opportunities.
  • All plants used in the riparian corridor restoration are native to Michigan. Over 200 trees, 300 shrubs, 1,200 aquatic plants, and 7 acres of native seed mix were used.
  • The 2,500-sf maintenance drive was built with pervious pavement in lieu of asphalt or concrete.
  • By requring biodiesel for all heavy equipment, prohibiting idling for more than10 minutes, and specifying regionally manufactured materials, carbon emissions associated with constrution were reduced.
  • The turf reinforcement matting, used extensively on the slopes thorughout the floodplain, was made of 100% recycled materials.
  • Nearly 100% of materials from demolition were recycled (earthwork, concrete, asphalt, metals, parking lot lights, footbridge) and reused (trees, roots, gravel base).
  • Aside from some of the PVC pipe and geotextile fabrics, all new products used on the project were manufactured within 500 miles of Flint.

Challenge

Recurring flooding of Gilkey Creek was preventing the Ruth Mott Foundation from expanding programming and site enhancements. The frequency and extent of flooding was attributed to the creek’s enclosure in a 10-ft diameter culvert pipe, several thousand feet in length. This restricted the natural flow of the creek during flood stages, resulting in a significant increase in flooding at the Applewood estate.

Solution

The landscape architect led the design of 4 alternatives to address the flooding problem and managed the project from design through construction. The preferred alternative focused on daylighting the creek through newly acquired property just south and east of the estate and re-establishing the riparian corridor, which was lost as a result of the creek enclosure.

  • Reusing materials from site demolition saved $38,000.
  • Transforming unearthed trees into wood chips for gardening purposes saved $18,000.
  • Maintenance costs during the multi-year establishment period for the native seed mixes were 20% higher than traditional lawn maintenance costs.
  • Sediment migration from upstream sources should be quantified to anticipate impacts on habitat structures.
  • Stringent maintenance is necessary during native seed establishment to keep invasive weeds from taking over.
  • Bird and mammal predation can have significant impacts on seeded and planted wetland species.

Project Team

Concept Design, Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering, Horticulture, Environmental Science, Aquatic Biology: SmithGroupJJR
Engineering Assistance: Rowe, Incorporated
Contractors: Posen Construction 

Role of the Landscape Architect

Managed the project during all phases (design through construction) and led the design of four alternatives to address flooding.

Topics

Stormwater management, Flood protection, Recreational & social value, Operations & maintenance savings, Other economic, Local materials, Native Plants, Permeable paving, Reused/recycled materials, Trees, Wetland, Restoration

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