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Gilkey Creek Relocation and Restoration Project in Flint, Michigan

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The relocation and restoration of over 1/2 mile of Gilkey Creek in Flint, Michigan was completed during the fall in 2007. The project - daylighting a portion of the creek that has been enclosed in a culvert for 25 years - has ended the flooding of the historic C.S. Mott estate, “Applewood”, with improved hydraulics, bank stability and habitat restoration along this restored reach of the creek. The project scope was developed around the mission statement of the Ruth Mott Foundation and focused on the creation of a demonstration project for the Flint and Genesee County areas, with emphasis on habitat restoration and environmental education.

Critical design features include the introduction of habitat structures (boulders, tree roots and logs) harvested on-site, creation of a riparian corridor for terrestrial and aquatic species, construction of a 3/4-acre pond with wetland fringe for stormwater storage and site irrigation, and the extensive use of native plants and seed mixes throughout the site.

Engineering considerations focused on:

The evaluation of alternative alignments to provide the greatest benefit for the lowest cost.

Maintaining the proper channel cross-section and side slopes necessary to significantly reduce the frequent flooding in the lower garden area of the estate.

Achieve the proper channel slope to minimize the effect of channel head cutting within the relocated reach of the Creek.

Sizing rock used in bank stabilization and channel substrate areas.

Minimizing the use of riprap as the preferred solution through the introduction of bio-engineering solutions above base flow and where reduced creek flood velocities allowed the use of these treatments.

Other design features include the use of fascines, vegetated gabions, plunge pools, riffles, eddy rock, and pervious pavement. The project will be used by the Ruth Mott Foundation to expand upon its current land stewardship and environmental educational programming for children in the Flint area.

In addition to the natural system enhancement features, sustainable construction practices required the contractor to recycle all site demolition waste, use bio-diesel fuels for all heavy equipment, and use products that were manufactured within 500 miles of the site and/or were manufactured from recycled products.

Keywords: Applewood; Bidding and Construction; Flooding; Gilkey Creek; Habitat Structures; Integrated Design Approach; Master Plan; Partnerships; Permitting; Riparian Corridor; Ruth Mott Foundation; Stream Chanel Geometry; Sustainable Practices; Urban Watershed

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2010

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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