LAKE ST. CLAIR COASTAL WETLAND RESTORATION
Macomb County, Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority, Clinton River Watershed Council, and Wayne State University applied for and received a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant to restore nearly 500 acres of coastal Great Lakes Marsh along Lake St. Clair at Lake St. Clair (Metro Beach) Metropark in Harrison Township, MI. This imperiled ecosystem has been severely degraded over time by hydrological manipulation, sediment accumulation, and invasive species infestation, which have lead to monocultures of invasive Phragmites and narrow-leaved cattail and decreased sightings of rare flora and fauna.
ASTI Environmental was retained to manage the restoration project, act as fiduciary for the grant, and lead the consulting design team (Applied Science and Hamilton Anderson Associates) on restoration planning, site master planning, permitting, and construction.
The design team focused on hydrological improvements, habitat restoration, and public education and outreach, mostly within the Point Rosa marsh complex south of Metropolitan Parkway. The restoration plan included the following:
- Installation of three water control structures to regulated water levels within the marsh
- Creation of loafing structures, snake hibernacula, nesting areas, and basking areas for herpetofauna
- Construction of a boardwalk to augment the existing trail system
- Creation of a viewing area with educational displays, highlighting the Lake St. Clair/coastal wetland interface
- Removal of invasive species
- Creation of open water habitat for waterfowl
- Removal of the build-up of algal mats along the natural wetland beachfront
- Construction of tern nesting platforms
Construction began in the fall of 2012 and will be completed by the fall of 2013. Once construction is complete, diversity and abundance of flora and fauna found on site will be monitored and documented in order to evaluate the success of the restoration.