Let’s return once more this week to our topic of restoration of urban streams. I know it’s Friday and we may not want a heavy topic to think about over the weekend, but this is an important matter to urbanites.
Many urban waterways suffer from “urban stream syndrome”. According to Meyer, Paul, and Taulbee (2005) attributes of urban stream syndrome include: “elevated nutrients and contaminants, increased hydrological flashiness, and altered biotic assemblages. Ecosystem function probably also varies with the extent of urbanization although there are few stream networks in which this prediction has been studied.”
A more recent study, Violin, et all ( 2010) “compared the physical and biological structure of four urban degraded, four urban restored, and four forested streams in the Piedmont region of North Carolina to quantify the ability of reach-scale stream restoration to restore physical and biological structure to urban streams and to examine the assumption that providing habitat is sufficient for biological recovery.” Their conclusion was:
“that reach-scale restoration is not successfully mitigating for the factors causing physical and biological degradation.”
Other Stream Restoration Goals
Nevertheless, there may be other restoration goals and outcomes, such as improved water quality, reduced storm water flows, and channel stabilization, that can be achieved, and create modest habitat improvements. One such example is Malletts Creek Stream Restoration in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The blogger recently had a chance to visit the restoration project site two Sunday’s ago as part of a field trip sponsored by the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Midwest-Great Lakes SER Chapter May 4 to 6 at the University of Michigan. (For more reporting on the Midwest/Great Lakes 4th Annual Meeting see the May 22, 2012 post at Invasive Plant News).
The field trip brochure described the restoration project: “Malletts Creek and its tributaries flowing through County Farm Park are being restored to improve water quality, reduce flow volumes, and channel stabilization. The Malletts Creek Stream Restoration project is focused on reducing erosion, and annual phosphorus loads entering the Huron River. Malletts Creek is the largest waterway in Ann Arbor and transports the greatest share of pollutants to the Huron River. Treatment features include creek bank stabilization, stone check weirs, and wet meadow storm water mitigation basin.” construction.”
A recent story in Ann Arbor.com provides more details and a slide show of the project.