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 have prevented more than 25,000 tons of sediment, 17,600 pounds of phosphorous, and 49,800 pounds of nitrogen 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.
  • Kids Creek Chloride Study: Determining if chloride from road salt runoff is negatively affecting Kids Creek and reducing insect 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 recently completed
  • Green Infrastructure at Meijer – underground infiltration and rain gardens recently completed
  • Green Infrastructure in Northport – underground infiltration and bioretention planned for 2023
  • Kids Creek Chloride Study – in progress, monitoring
  • Kids Creek Riparian Restoration – woody buffer and stormwater wetland planned for 2023
  • Kids Creek Road Crossing Improvements – 5 completed
  • Mitchell Creek Source Tracking – monitoring in progress
Rain Garden 2_1


  • Restored 35 stream bank stabilization sites totaling 4,302 feet
  • Planted 23,151 square feet of riparian filter strips/buffers
  • Installed 37 rain gardens/bioinfiltration basins
  • Established 3 stormwater wetland areas of various sizes
  • Installed more than 6,800 square feet of pervious pavement
  • Installed 8,542 feet of underground infiltration trenches
  • Installed 3 downspout planter boxes
  • Installed 9 oil/grit separators
  • Installed 3 drywells
  • Improved 13 road stream crossings
  • 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.