Soft Shoreline Engineering Case Studies
Rouge River at Fairway Park - Site #35
Project Goals and Objectives: Stabilize shoreline using soft engineering techniques, manage woody debris, create a native buffer zone, and remove invasive species
Project Description: Fairway Park is a small neighborhood park in the City of Birmingham along the west bank of the Main Rouge River. The streambank was eroding in several locations and lacked a buffer zone. A local volunteer brought the site to Friends of the Rouge’s (FOTR) attention and FOTR worked closely with the City of Birmingham to secure a $10,402 grant from the Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control to address the problems at the site. The grant was matched with local volunteers and in-kind services from the City of Birmingham.
The project had four components: woody debris management, soft soil bioengineering, a native buffer zone, and invasive species management. Two separate 15 meter (50 foot) lengths of stream were stabilized. In the northern section, an Asian elm that fell at the site was cut into moveable pieces and cabled into the bank to stabilize the toe. In both sections, the bank was graded back and bundles of dormant shrubs (live fascines) were buried in the bank and secured with dead stakes and live cuttings of dormant shrubs. A buffer zone of native plants, approximately eight meters (25 feet) wide, was planted above the bank at both sites. Invasive species removal was done along the central wooded area between the two plantings.
Cost: Friends of the Rouge was awarded a $15,175 demonstration grant from the Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control. As match, Birmingham provided $3,174 in heavy equipment, and labor for the project; volunteers supplied an additional $1600 in match. Total cash expenditures for the project were $10,402.
Partners: Friends of the Rouge and City of Birmingham
Ecological Effectiveness: Prior to restoration, the streambank was eroded with turf grass mowed to the edge. The streambank now has a more natural slope and contains 16 native forbs and grasses and six native woody shrubs. Monarchs and other native butterflies have been documented using the site. Benthic macro-invertebrates in the river at the site were more diverse and numerous in the fall following installation of the project.
Restoration Contact: Sally Patrella, Friends of the Rouge Public Involvement Coordinator email@example.com.