As water quality in the Rouge River continues to improve, this project will build on past efforts to restore some of the damage done during the last century. Tributaries of the Rouge River have suffered from loss and impairment of aquatic habitat and increased frequency and magnitude of flood flows, primarily due to increasing urbanization within the watershed. The flat river slope and the meandering channel can not pass the large flows associated with rain events. Upstream urbanization continues to exacerbate this problem as runoff from increased amounts of impervious surfaces culminates in flooding within the river system, bank erosion, and continued habitat degradation.
Colonial Park is adjacent to the Lower Rouge River in the City of Inkster. Much of the park area is routinely mowed and used for active recreation. However, the park is low and often floods. This project is creating wetlands in maintained lawn areas by establishing wet meadow habitat and depression wetlands to provide habitat and manage floodwater. Additionally, invasive species is being managed in the proposed wetland enhancement areas. Maintained lawn areas are bing converted to wetlands through excavation of shallow depressions and planting of a diverse native wet-meadow seed mix. The wet meadow community will contain diverse flowering forbs that provide food for pollinators. Small mammals and birds will benefit by the increased habitat diversity and cover. Wetland diversity in the maintained lawn areas will also increase through the excavation of shallow depressions in low lying areas that store floodwater. The more diverse topography will increase plant diversity by creating varying hydrological conditions.
Funding and ParntersThis project was funded by the U. S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office as part of an approximately $1,834,000 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant to the Alliance of Rouge Communities for design and implementation at Colonial Park and Venoy Park in 2020 (Grant # GL-00E02830-0). Partners in this project include the U.S. EPA, GLRI, ARC, and Wayne County Parks
Where and WhenColonial Park is located in the city of Inkster, Michigan and is a tributary of the Lower Branch of the Rouge River. Project design began in 2020 with implementation beginning in 2022.
Anticipated OutcomesIncreased wetland habitat Improved floodwater storage Improved water quality Increased plant diversity
Conditions Before Restoration
flooded areas to be converted to wetlands/wet meadows
maintained lawns to be converted to prairie/wet meadows
Photo Gallery of Restoration Activities
stone filter before native wetlands
area graded and seeded
initial grading for wetlands