Soft Shoreline Engineering Case Studies
Lake Muskoday - Site #23
Belle Isle, Michigan
Project Goals and Objectives: Using soft engineering practices, control erosion along an eroded section of Lake Muskoday along an island road and enhance shoreline habitat
Project Description: Belle Isle is a 397-hecatre (980-acre) island park located in the Detroit River. Belle Isle has 8 million annual visitors and is the largest island park in the United States. Lake Muskoday is located on the northeastern end of Belle Isle, within 6.1 meters (20 feet) of a road. The closeness of the road combined with the high degree of erosion, present a unique engineering situation.
The purpose of this project was to demonstrate innovative soil erosion and sediment control practices using soft engineering techniques along an eroded section of Lake Muskoday.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service's Soil Bioengineering Team provided the technical support for design of the shoreline, including the selection of soft engineering practices. Design work occurred in fall 2000. Installation occurred in spring 2001. Project benefits included shoreline protection and stabilization, erosion control, demonstration of nonpoint source pollution control practices, habitat enhancement, community involvement; and cost savings.
Cost: This project was funded by a $20,000 Soil Erosion and Sediment Control grant from the Great Lakes Basin Program administered by the Great Lakes Commission. $10,000 of in-kind support was provided by other partners.
Partners: Detroit Recreation Department, Greater Detroit American Heritage River Initiative, Detroit Wayne County Port Authority, Michigan Sea Grant, U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service, Sankore Marine Immersion Academy, and Friends of the Detroit River.
Ecological Effectiveness: A number of different techniques were used to stabilize the shoreline including fascines, brush mattress and a vegetated geogrid. Species used included sandbar willow and redtwig dogwoods. The following summer (2002) was particularly dry and limited the survival of vegetation in the brush mattress. The vegetated geogrid was installed at the steepest section of the shoreline, and it performed well. This was critical to protect a gas line that was located within seven feet of the shore. The following season, additional shrubs, including drummond’s dogwood and elderberry, were planted and continue to grow and mature along the shoreline. Although the site has received no maintenance in the intervening years, there are no longer problems with erosion and the steep bank has been successfully stabilized. No post-project monitoring was performed to evaluate ecological effectiveness.
Restoration Contact: Michigan Natural Features Inventory