Protecting our waters through on-the-ground projects

The Watershed Center has led dozens of on-the-ground projects bringing more than $14 million to our region to implement our watershed protection plans. These projects ANNUALLY prevent more than 2,232 tons of sediment, 1,6240 pounds of phosphorous, 5,361 pounds of nitrogen, and 250 million gallons of stormwater from entering Grand Traverse Bay.

We continue to identify sites and seek funding for protection and restoration activities consistent with our watershed plans. Check out some projects that are currently underway.

  • Green Infrastructure in Elk Rapids: Installing rain gardens and underground infiltration to reduce stormwater runoff into Grand Traverse Bay.
  • Green Infrastructure in Northport: Installing underground infiltration chambers at the Northport Public School parking lot and bioretention on Main Street to reduce stormwater runoff into Grand Traverse Bay.
  • Chloride Studies: Determining if chloride from road salt runoff is increasing salinity in streams and impacting aquatic populations.
  • Kids Creek Riparian Restoration: Re-establishing a buffer consisting of native trees and woody shrubs and constructing a 1-acre stormwater wetland on the main branch of Kids Creek to improve water quality and reduce stormwater, sediment, and nutrient inputs to the creek.
  • Mitchell Creek Source Tracking: Conducting source tracking efforts to determine the source of E. coli contamination in Mitchell Creek.
Completed Projects

Project Status:

  • Green Infrastructure in Elk Rapids – underground infiltration and rain gardens completed in 2022
  • Green Infrastructure at Meijer – underground infiltration and rain gardens completed in 2022
  • Green Infrastructure in Northport – underground infiltration completed in 2023, bioretention planned for 2024
  • Kids Creek Chloride Study – monitoring in progress
  • Kids Creek Riparian Restoration – woody buffer and stormwater wetland in progress
  • Kids Creek Road Crossing Improvements – 5 completed in 2022
  • Mitchell Creek Source Tracking – monitoring in progress
Rain Garden 2_1


  • Restored 35 stream bank stabilization sites totaling 4,302 feet
  • Planted 26,000 square feet of riparian filter strips/buffers
  • Installed 47 rain gardens/bioinfiltration basins
  • Established 3 stormwater wetland areas of various sizes
  • Installed more than 6,800 square feet of pervious pavement
  • Installed 7 underground infiltration trenches
  • Installed 3 downspout planter boxes
  • Installed 9 oil/grit separators
  • Installed 3 drywells
  • Improved 13 road stream crossings
  • Installed 10 StormTree boxes
  • Daylighted 900 feet of Kids Creek Tributary A and restored 1,200 feet of Kids Creek Tributary AA
  • Installed 6,500 square feet of green roofs
  • Removed 390,000 tons of sediment, 331,500 pounds of phosphorous, and 663,000 pounds of nitrogen during the removal of Brown Bridge Dam

We manage on-the-ground projects throughout the watershed.