Soft Shoreline Engineering Case Studies
Elizabeth Park Canal - Site #14
Project Goals and Objectives: Restore a natural shoreline, including the removal of invasive species, the reintroduction of native plants, and the restoration of fish habitat
Project Description: The International Wildlife Refuge Alliance finished planting a stretch of shoreline along Elizabeth Park on June 5, 2008 with the help of volunteers. The project was an effort to improve habitat for native wildlife and improve water quality in the canal. Elizabeth Park is in Wayne County and is Michigan’s oldest county park; it is also within the boundaries of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.
The plantings include native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses. Native plants are plants that grow naturally in Michigan and have not been brought here from another continent, such as Asia. Native plants have many benefits to wildlife because animals have evolved to live with them; they provide food, cover, and shelter for animals from butterflies to mallards.
Native plants also help improve water quality. When planted along the shoreline, native plants clean polluted water before it flows into the canal, intercepting nutrients and dirt. Their deep roots also help to anchor the shoreline and slow surface runoff from roads and parking lots.
Cost: The project is funded through an $18,500 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program to IWRA with in-kind support from DTE Energy, ECT, Inc., Friends of the Detroit River, Michigan Sea Grant, Wayne County and interested citizens.
Partners: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, International Wildlife Refuge Alliance and Wayne County Parks
Ecological Effectiveness: Before restoration shoreline was dominated by four exotic species, including Phragmites, purple loosestrife, and turf grasses, and one native species (sandbar willow). Restoration included planting 73 native species, including swamp rose mallow, tall coreopsis, prairie dock, cupplant, Michigan holly, and cardinal flower. There has been no post project monitoring to date
Restoration Contact: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service