kids creek
riparian restoration

Woody riparian buffer and stormwater wetland.

This project will continue work on The Watershed Center’s Kids Creek Restoration Project by implementing streamside conservation practices to improve water quality and reduce stormwater, sediment, and nutrient inputs to Kids Creek, an impaired stream in the Grand Traverse Bay watershed.    

Restoration activities include over 216,000-square feet (5 acres) of riparian buffer installation as well as an acre of constructed stormwater wetland in a highly degraded area of the Kids Creek watershed. Work will take place on a 3,000-foot section of the main branch of Kids Creek between Silver Lake Road and US-31/M-37 owned by the City of Traverse City. The project site is located at the very beginning of the section of the creek designated impaired and receives a large amount of runoff from big-box stores, hotels, and car dealerships upstream (to the south). Additionally, a large amount of stormwater is conveyed to the main branch of the creek from 2 small, 2-foot-wide tributaries totaling around 1,800-feet in length. The first tributary originates at Franke Road and receives stormwater from a commercial travel drive and medical complex to the west. The second tributary receives nearly 3 acres of direct impervious surface runoff from a nearby parking lot, including excess amounts of sediment and debris.

Specific riparian restoration plans include re-establishing a buffer consisting of native trees and woody shrubs along the main branch of Kids Creek and 2 tributaries experiencing large amounts of impervious surface runoff. The riparian buffers will help slow floodwaters and increase infiltration during storm events as the stream and small tributaries overtop their banks. The deep roots of the vegetation will also help stabilize the banks and reduce potential erosion that contributes sediment (and nutrients attached to sediment) to the stream. Additionally, riparian restoration work on the two tributaries will allow for added floodplain connection to provide further stormwater infiltration and flow capacity from the stormwater runoff from upstream impervious parking lots and roads. This is important considering the increase in the number and intensity of storm events this area is experiencing due to climate change; the added floodplain area will help protect the creek and downstream areas from flooding and allow for increased infiltration capacity.

Additionally, a one-acre constructed stormwater wetland will be installed in the riparian area near the main branch of Kids Creek and one of its small tributaries to intercept stormwater runoff from the north end of the Meijer parking lot that is directly discharging significant amounts of sediment and debris to the creek. The proposed stormwater wetland will utilize a sediment forebay to provide pre-treatment prior to entering the constructed wetland. This allows the stormwater to pass through several treatment areas to ensure a high degree of filtration prior to entering the creek’s tributary. Plantings will include native flowers, grasses, and shrubs.

Project Status: IN PROGRESS


  • Woody vegetated buffer
  • Stormwater wetland

Project partners:

  • City of Traverse City
  • Meijer
  • Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network
  • Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy
  • Department of Natural Resources

Funding sources:

  • EPA-Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
  • DNR Fisheries Habitat Grant Program

Total project cost:

  • $749,200

Project Highlight

Invasive Species Removal

The project area is in a degraded wetland almost entirely comprised of invasive species and devoid of a natural riparian buffer following historic farming activities and development. In 2022, the project area underwent treatments to remove invasive species before project construction to ensure invasive species do not become established in the buffer area after construction is complete.

We restore the waterways that lead to Grand Traverse Bay.