Soft Shoreline Engineering Case Studies
Elizabeth Park – Phase 2 North River Walk - Site #16
Project Goals and Objectives: To stabilize the Detroit River shoreline, complete the River Walk, and enhance habitat at Wayne County’s Elizabeth Park
Project Description: Elizabeth Park is a 162-acre park located on the lower Detroit River in Trenton, Michigan. It was originally called Slocum’s Island. It was bequeathed to Wayne County Trustees in 1919 by the children of Elizabeth Slocum. Elizabeth Park is currently owned and managed by Wayne County Parks and is the oldest county park in Michigan. The park is an island-like setting along the Detroit River with 3,500 feet of shoreline. In 1910, a concrete breakwall was constructed to stabilize the shoreline and prevent erosion. In a century of use, the concrete breakwall began to deteriorate. Plans were then developed to restore the shoreline to a more natural state that provided fish and wildlife habitat.
Phase 1 of the North River Walk was completed in 2001 and was very well received for its use of soft shoreline engineering techniques. Phase 2 of the North River Walk was undertaken in 2012 and first removed the deteriorated 1910 breakwall remaining along the shoreline. The banks of the Detroit River were then graded back and stabilized with Armor stone and landscape plantings. Both the armor stone and plantings enhanced habitat. The North Shore River Walk was then completed with an on-grade concrete path and an elevated steel and concrete path, with ornamental railings and lighting to match.
Cost: $1 million.
Partners: Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and Wayne County Parks
Ecological Effectiveness: Restoration completed in 2012, no post-project monitoring to date
Restoration Contact: Wayne County Parks