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Wilcox Lake Restoration

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 cannot 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.

Wilcox Lake is used for fishing, picnicking, and passive recreation. The project goal is to enhance the in-lake and riparian habitat at the site through: removal of sediment and re-shaping of the lake to create open water area, shallow and deep over-wintering habitats for fish spawning, nursery, and cover habitat; restoration of aquatic benthic substrates submerged/emergent aquatic vegetation and riparian habitat; new substrates to include sandy gravel, cobbles, and boulders to provide spawning areas, attachment points, and cover for fishes, insects and fauna; placement of woody debris along the shoreline to increase habitat diversity; boulder clusters will be added offshore to add cover and feeding areas; and conducting invasive species management and planting of native shrubs and trees. Improvements to reduce direct non-point source pollution with bioswales/native plants.

Funding and Parnters

This project was funded by the U. S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office as part of an approximately $785,100 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant to the Alliance of Rouge Communities for design at Wilcox Lake, Phoenix Lake and Inkster Park in 2021 (Grant # GL-00E02997-1) and approximately $5,008,595 in GLRI grant funding for implementation in 2022 at Wilcox Lake and Phoenix Lakes  (GL-00E03267). Partners in this project include the U.S. EPA, GLRI, ARC, and Wayne County Parks

Where and When

Wilcox Lake is located in the City of Plymouth, Michigan and is a tributary of the Middle Branch of the Rouge River. Project design began in 2021 with construction anticipated starting in 2023.

Anticipated Outcomes

Increased aquatic habitat Increased plant diversity More diverse riparian habitat

Photo History of Project:

Conditions Before Restoration

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Phone | 734-768-2180

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