shiawassee conservation district
facebook twitterscdflickr flickr
Home | Programs | Staff/Board | Events/News | Equipment Rental | Resources
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Farm Bill Conservation Programs
Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP)
MAEAP verified farms in Shiawassee County PDF
Shiawassee River Watershed Sediment Reduction Project
Mid-Shiawassee River Watershed Management
 
 
 
 

Shiawassee Conservation District
1900 S. Morrice Rd.
Owosso, MI 48867
(989) 723-8263 ext. 3
Email

 

Shiawassee River Watershed Sediment Reduction Project

The Shiawassee Conservation District is working to create a cleaner, healthier Shiawassee River by addressing soil loss and sedimentation through implementation of practices that stabilize erosion and reduce soil runoff. This three year project began in 2010 and targets known sites that contribute significant amounts of sediment to the Shiawassee River. In total, this project includes stabilization of significant erosion on four sites and an investigational incentive program involving gypsum applications to clay agricultural soils to reduce soil loss through infiltration. Each project is considered a priority and listed in the Mid-Shiawassee River Watershed Management Plan.

This project has been made possible through a grant awarded to the Shiawassee CD from the Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil and Sediment Control. The Basin Program is coordinated by the Great Lakes Commission in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

farn bill logo    

Sediment Impacts on the Shiawassee River
The Shiawassee River is approximately 110 miles in length and flows in a northerly direction, discharging into the Saginaw River and eventually the Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron. Land use activities, from urban to agricultural, in the Shiawassee River Watershed are major contributors of sediment to Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron. Sediment is harmful to water quality because it can deliver damaging chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, oils, pathogens and other toxins to downstream environments. Additionally, when water flows, sediment can settle out onto streambeds, smothering benthic organisms and destroying food sources consumed by fish and wildlife species. Ultimately, water laden with sediment impacts fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, and creates health and environmental hazards for our Great Lakes.

Goal of the Shiawassee River Sediment Reduction Project
The goal of the Shiawassee River Watershed Sediment Reduction Project is to address soil loss at the source through the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs), to stabilize erosion in urban and residential areas, as well as reduce loss of soil from agricultural fields. Through this project, a cleaner, healthier Shiawassee River will flow downstream to Lake Huron improving communities all along the way.

This project includes four large scale projects and an investigational gypsum incentive program. The adoption of these practices will save an estimated 1,000 to 3,000 tons of sediment per year from entering the Shiawassee River.

The Projects
Stormwater Pond Stabilization Project
Project Site: Baker College is the largest independent college in Michigan. The Owosso campus, opened in 1984, encompasses 33 acres within the Shiawassee River Watershed and is currently expanding to include additional educational facilities and parking areas. A stormwater retention pond was installed over a decade ago in the center of the main campus. This stormwater pond was designed to capture and retain runoff from the more than 21 acres of impervious parking lots and buildings. At the start of this project, the pond was suffering from gully erosion due to the sheer force of stormwater entering the pond at designated areas. Additionally, the area around the retention pond was manicured turf grass which offered little infiltration potential and an excessive amount of sediment and debris had deposited in the pond and collected at the pond’s overflow catch basin, which drains to the Shiawassee River.

Best Management Practices: Gully stabilization was first priority for this project. To start, inlets to the pond were analyzed, resized and/or removed if determined unnecessary. To stabilize the gullies at the remaining inlets, the ground was smoothed and 10 inch pipes were cut in half and laid in sloped ground on the pond banks. A plunge pool composed of rock riprap laid on geotextile fabric was placed at the base of the half pipes (toe of the pond). Since this project was installed in the Fall of 2011, a temporary winter seeding was planted with a permanent native planting scheduled for the Spring of 2012.

To reduce sediment from contributing impervious surfaces, a sediment reduction plan is being developed for the entire catchment area that includes pavement sweeping, healthy lawn and garden procedures, native plant maintenance, and retention pond protection activities.

These activities will prevent approximately 7 tons of soil per year from being delivered to the Shiawassee River while serving as an educational tool, teaching community members and students about sediment reduction in the Shiawassee River.

Project Partners: The Shiawassee Conservation District, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Baker College of Owosso, City of Owosso

Baker College stormwater detention pondd
A stormwater retention pond on the main campus of Baker College in Owosso captures stormwater from over 21 acres. The pond was installed over a decade ago and suffered from gully erosion and sedimentation.
Baker College stormwater detention pond
Sheer force from the stormwater caused gullies to form on the banks of the stormwater detention pond at Baker College.

Sediment from stormwater
Sediment from stormwater coming off the parking lot accumulated at pond inlets and in the pond.
Baker College stormwater detention pond
Gullies were stabilized on the banks of the Baker College stormwater retention pond and water was diverted into 10 pipes cut lengthwise spilling out onto a plunge pool made of rock on top of fabric.

View of the stabilized stormwater detention pond at Baker College.  This project was made possible by a grant from the Great Lakes Commission awarded to the Shiawassee Conservation District with contributions from NRCS, Baker College and the City of Owosso.

View of the stabilized stormwater detention pond at Baker College. This project was made possible by a grant from the Great Lakes Commission awarded to the Shiawassee Conservation District with contributions from NRCS, Baker College and the City of Owosso.

 

Stream Rehabilitation Project
Project Site: The State Road Drain, from its outlet into the Shiawassee River to its upper terminus at the Miner Drain, is 4.3 miles long. Perennial flow exists in this previously modified channel, which was initially constructed in 1886. In 1914, 1943 and 1998, the channel was cleaned out, widened, and deepened. The lower reach of the State Road Drain has a long history of severe erosion. Intermittent streambank erosion appears from the point at which the drain begins to meander away from a straightened channel to Chipman Road and the outlet at the Shiawassee River. From Chipman Road to the drain outlet in the Shiawassee River, which is approximately 2,140 feet, the elevation drops 23 feet and streambank erosion becomes extensive. Bare streambanks tower 40 feet over the channel bottom throughout the stream stretch. Down-cutting is also occurring and sediment deposits are distributed throughout the stretch with a visible plume entering the Shiawassee River at the outlet.

Best Management Practices: This project will involve practices aimed at stabilizing the existing channel using a variety of techniques including rock riffles, riprap, native plantings, floodplain benches, streambank tapering, and selective log jam and dead tree removal. The implementation of these practices will prevent approximately 414.5 tons of sediment per year from entering the Shiawassee River.

Project Partners: The Shiawassee Conservation District, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Shiawassee County Drain Commission, Fishbeck, Thompson, Huber and Carr, Inc. (FTC&H)

Technicians
Technicians from the Shiawassee CD and NRCS, Andrea Wendt, Jay Korson and Greg Lienau (not pictured), surveyed the State Road Drain in October, 2011.
Baker College stormwater detention pond
Severe streambank erosion occurs at the banks of the State Road Drain directly southwest of the “Buzz Bridge” at Chipman Rd.

Sediment from stormwater
Severe streambank erosion occurs at the banks of the State Road Drain directly southwest of the “Buzz Bridge” at Chipman Rd.
Erosion is prevalent throughout the lower 1,800ft of the State Road Drain, from Chipman Rd to the Shiawassee River.
Erosion is prevalent throughout the lower 2,140 feet of the State Road Drain, from Chipman Road to the Shiawassee River. This stream has suffered erosion for over 60 years.

A visible plume of sediment can be seen at the outlet of the State Road Drain into the Shiawassee River.
A visible plume of sediment can be seen at the outlet of the State Road Drain where it empties into the Shiawassee River. This project, funded by the Great Lakes Commission through a grant awarded to the SCD, will reduce significant amounts of sediment from entering the Shiawassee River by installing innovative BMPs.
Sediment deposits and organic debris are visible throughout the lower 1,800ft of the State Road Drain.
Sediment deposits and organic debris are visible throughout the lower 2,140 feet of the State Road Drain.

For 4,000ft west of Chipman Road, the State Road Drain is highly incised and drains 9,400 acres.
For 4,000 feet west of Chipman Road, the State Road Drain is highly incised and drains 9,400 acres.
 

Streambank Stabilization Project
Project Site:The streambank stabilization project is located in Rush Township and includes the downstream reach of the Townson Drain, from M-52 west to the Shiawassee River. Significant erosion and sedimentation is occurring on this lower 160 feet reach of the drain. Although the riparian areas are well vegetated, erosion has been occurring at this site for approximately 5 years, causing substantial widespread lateral recession and extensive soil loss. During high flows in the Shiawassee River (above 1,200cfs), the drain floods inward and water is retained up to the point where the streambank erosion begins. There is a considerable amount of sediment collected at the outlet and extensive vegetative overhang on the 14 foot tall banks indicating severe and continuous soil loss.

Best Management Practices: Proposed stabilization practices include structures to re-direct flow and reduce water velocity, as well as floodplain benches, streambank tapering and native vegetation to slow water flow and stabilize erosion. Stabilization of erosion at this site will reduce approximately 176.2 tons of soil per year from directly entering the Shiawassee River.

Project Partners: The Shiawassee Conservation District, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Shiawassee County Drain Commission, Fishbeck, Thompson, Huber and Carr, Inc. (FTC&H), local landowner.

Facing the Shiawassee River at the outlet of the Townson Drain
Facing the Shiawassee River at the outlet of the Townson Drain, stabilization of streambank erosion will be accomplished through a grant awarded to the Shiawassee Conservation District from the Great Lakes Commission.
SCD Technician, Andrea Wendt, stands next to 14ft of streambank erosion at the Townson Drain
SCD Technician, Andrea Wendt, stands next to 14 feet of streambank erosion at the Townson Drain. This project, funded by the Great Lakes Commission through a grant awarded to the SCD, will reduce significant amounts of sediment from entering the Shiawassee River through the installation of innovative BMPs.

conservation

Streambank erosion can be seen in the lower 160ft of the Townson DraiStreambank erosion can be seen in the lower 160ft of the Townson Drai
Streambank erosion can be seen in the lower 160 feet of the Townson Drain and sediment accumulates at the outlet to the Shiawassee River.

conservation

Drain Stabilization Project
Project Site: The Avery Drain flows through a city park and a residential area in the City of Owosso. This drain is considered a priority to the City of Owosso, providing drainage of a large residential section of the city to the Shiawassee River. The upper portion of this drain was established in the 1920s and consists of large cobblestones, cement blocks and weirs. These conditions accelerate streamflow and sediment delivery to downstream reaches and have resulted in streambank erosion and sedimentation in the downstream portion of this drain. These eroding streambanks are adjacent to a widely utilized public recreational area, which includes soccer fields regularly used by children and adults.

Best Management Practices: The Avery Drains eroding streambanks will be stabilized using rock riprap and native vegetation, with installation of rock/check dams in the upper reaches as a mechanism to slow accelerated stream flow. Implementation of these practices will reduce approximately 2 tons of soil per year from being delivered to the Shiawassee River while providing safety to individuals who utilize the recreational area.

Project Partners: The Shiawassee Conservation District, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the City of Owosso.

The upper reaches of the Avery Drain flow through an urban wooded area of the City of Owosso
The upper reaches of the Avery Drain flow through an urban wooded area of the City of Owosso. This drain was established in the 1920s and consists of materials that speed water flow. This has resulted in an accumulation of sediment downstream. Accelerated waterflow in the upper reaches has also caused streambank erosion in the lower reaches.
The lower reaches of the Avery Drain suffer from streambank erosion and sedimentation
The lower reaches of the Avery Drain suffer from streambank erosion and sedimentation. In addition, this urban drain is adjacent to a residential road and recreational area, creating safety hazards. Through this GLC grant, the SCD will work with the City of Owosso to address these resource concerns.

conservation

Gypsum Incentive Project
In the late 1700s, Benjamin Franklin first demonstrated the use of a natural geological substance called gypsum as a soil amendment in agriculture. Franklin applied gypsum in a word pattern that read, “This land has been plastered” on a hillside, which resulted in increased grass growth, demonstrating gypsum as an effective fertilizer. Today, gypsum is widely recognized for its ability to promote water infiltration in soils and aid in plant growth.

Gypsum is a mineral composed of calcium and sulfate found naturally around the world in sedimentary rock formations. Gypsum is used in many industries, including agriculture, wallboard production and as filler in some foods and even toothpaste. On many occasions, a synthetic form of gypsum identical in chemical structure is used in place of natural gypsum due to its availability and high degree of purity. Synthetic gypsum is produced from forced oxidation scrubbers that are attached to power plants to limit emissions of the sulfur when coal is burned. This material is processed and refined and the end product is a consistent, finely divided powder virtually identical to natural gypsum.

For years, research conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Research Service has shown the benefits of using natural and synthetic gypsum in agriculture.  In general, gypsum is used for three purposes in agriculture:

  1. To improve soil physical and chemical properties,
  2. To reduce the transport of contaminants to surface water, and
  3. To serve as a nutrient source. 

Immediate benefits are improved infiltration potential and reduced soil loss from erosion. The financial gains from enhanced crop yields and fewer fertilizer inputs are an additional and valuable benefit. “The overall use of gypsum in agriculture is a win-win situation as a means to control soil erosion, enhance soil and plant health, while recycling a valuable byproduct of the energy industry,” says Scott Luchenbill, Maximum Farming Certified Specialist from Ag Spectrum.

An incentive program is currently available through the Shiawassee River Watershed Sediment Reduction Project to producers who fall within the Mid-Shiawassee River Watershed to receive cost-share for the application of gypsum to cropland. 

For more information, contact the Shiawassee Conservation District at (989) 723-8362, ext 3. The application of gypsum as a means to improve water quality has a positive lasting impact on our most precious natural resources.

Rainfall Simulator Demonstration - During the 2011 Shiawassee County Agricultural Tour, participants stopped at a local farm to observe a Norton-Type Rainfall from the USDA Simulator demonstration and hear presentations from representatives from the USDA National Agricultural Research Service and Ag Spectrum about the chemistry behind gypsum and Polyacrylamide (PAM), how they work as a soil amendment, and the differences between these soil amendments.

Facing the Shiawassee River at the outlet of the Townson Drain
Streambank erosion can be seen in the lower 160ft of the Townson Drai

conservation

Streambank erosion can be seen in the lower 160ft of the Townson Drai
Streambank erosion can be seen in the lower 160ft of the Townson Drai

Click here to return to programs page.

 

Site Design byTrio Graphic Design
© 2015 Shiawassee Conservation District. All rights reserved.

facebook