Johnson Creek bank rebuilding nears completion
Posted on 11/25/2020
A view of the pond with the conduit to Johnson Creek on the left. Fish Hatchery Park is looking like an oasis after a tornado now that the pond has been restored to its natural state with a depth of four to six feet and the addition of a newly built stone-lined conduit that allows water to flow freely between Johnson Creek and the pond. The future may hold promise for good fishing in that area since fish can now swim readily between those two bodies of water. The Johnson Creek is one of the few cold water creeks in southeastern Michigan that also supports a trout population.

Along the rebuilt banks of the creek, a work crew has planted thousands of live “stakes” – transplants of trees – many of which will grow into full-sized trees over time. In addition, hundreds of native plants have been added to the banks. Native plants have many benefits – they develop deep roots to anchor the ground and prevent soil erosion, resist disease, and thrive in their natural climate. Visitors should not enter the newly planted areas, designated by orange fencing over matted straw, until the vegetation is established next year.

The transformation of the park was made possible with a $963,090 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, administered by the Alliance of Rouge Communities (ARC). The ARC is a group of local municipalities, counties and other institutions, which work to improve water quality of the Rouge River watershed. The project was designed by Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. with engineering support from Soil Materials and Engineers (SME). Northville Parks and Recreation Director Mark Gasche oversaw the project from grant submission to implementation.

Gasche noted, “All parties involved, ECT, SME, Anglin Civil, Inc., and the ARC, worked extremely well together to make this wonderful project a reality.”

The 1,050 foot creek bed borders the 17-acre park. A bonus of the environmental reconstruction project is a new pathway that parallels the creek from the parking lot to the back ball field. A gravel road was put in to accommodate heavy construction equipment during the five-month project. Instead of removing the gravel road and restoring the grass, it was decided to install a limestone pathway to allow walkers, runners and bicyclists better access to the creek and the entire park. Eventually the Parks and Recreation Department intends to complete the limestone pathway with a full loop around the perimeter of the park. All parking is at the front of the park near the tennis courts/pickleball courts.

By Spring 2021, new growth will start to flourish – giving the park a whole new look and making the pond and creek a cleaner habitat for fish, insects, wildlife and plants.

“The transformation of the park is remarkable, Gasche said.  "The residents of Northville are going to really enjoy being able to clearly see and get next to the pond and Johnson Creek.”

In addition, a newly created sediment retention area between the pond and gravel parking lot will help prevent dirt and debris from entering the pond, and filter rainwater through vegetation.

About the photo: Standing in front of the cleared banks of the Fish Hatchery pond is the team responsible for the transformation. From left, Mark Gasche, Northville Parks and Recreation; Bob Belair, Northville Twp./ARC; Shelby Dix, ECT; Joe Merolla, Anglin Civil; Marty Boote, ECT: Nathan Reilly, Northville Parks and Recreation; John O’Meara, ECT; and Lauren Edson, ECT. (Photos by Liz Cezat)

Team that worked on the project.