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Johnson Creek - Fish Hatchery Park Habitat Restoration

The Johnson Creek - Fish Hatchery Park Habitat Restoration Project will restore the stream and pond to provide habitat for valuable fish and wildlife. The project will improve fish passage between the pond and stream and it will improve water quality within the Rouge River watershed.

The only public access point to Johnson Creek is Fish Hatchery Park, which was the first registered fish hatchery in the nation. Fish and wildlife habitat associated with Johnson Creek have been lost and impacted by sedimentation, loss or conversion of riparian vegetation, and streambank armoring, reducing its viability as a cold-water fishery (the only one remaining in the Rouge River). A spring-fed pond, which flows into Johnson Creek, has been degraded by sediment-laden stormwater runoff from the unimproved parking lot at Fish Hatchery Park. The resulting sediment has been deposited into the pond to a point where it is less than 18 inches deep. This sediment escapes from the pond through the outlet structure and is impairing the stream bottom habitat in Johnson Creek. In addition to this, streambanks in the park have been impacted by the removal of native vegetation and historic placement of a concrete wall.

To address this concern and to restore the habitat at Johnson Creek, the project naturalized the streambanks, removed accumulated sediment in the pond, modified the pond outlet to create a fish passage channel between the pond and the creek, and installed a vegetated bioswale to improve water quality of runoff. In addition to these improvements, the project included the planting of over 250 native trees and over 300 native shrubs.

Funding and Parnters

This project was funded by the U. S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office through an approximatly $2.7M Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant received by the Alliance of Rouge Communities for two projects (Tamarack Creek and Johnson Creek) Grant #GL-00E002344-0 & GL-00E02478-0 . Partners in this project include the U.S. EPA, GLRI, ARC, City of Sountfield and the Rouge River Advisory Council (RRAC)

Where and When

Johnson Creek is located in Northville, Michigan and is a tributary of the Middle Branch of the Rouge River. Project design began in 2018 with construction starting in the summer of 2020 and completed in 2022. 

Anticipated Outcomes

Naturalize and stabilize 1,250 ft. of Johnson Creek’s streambank for improved wildlife habitat Remove 2,000 cubic yards of sediment in Fish Hatchery Pond to create deeper water for fish habitat Modify the outlet of the pond to create a fish passage channel between the pond and the creek Install vegetative swale to filter stormwater from the parking lot before entering the pond

Photo History of Project:

Conditions Before Restoration

Conceptual Design

Photo Gallery of Restoration Activities

Project sign

Inspection of brush layering separation blanket

Installation of brush layering

Removal of concrete wall

Concrete wall removed and streambank naturalized

Creation of floodplain bench

Trees and shrubs planted

Vegetation establishing along river

Planting of shrubs and trees

Vegetation establishment

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Phone | 734-768-2180

46036 Michigan Ave., Suite 126 | Canton, Michigan 48188