May 25, 2017
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Hawthorn Hollow nets grant to combat stormwater runoff

Fund for Lake Michigan awards $10,000



In the muddy water of the Pike River as it runs through Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum, a broken television sits in the riverbed, just a few yards away from a log jam blocking the stream.

Lori Artiomow, an ecologist at Hawthorn Hollow, said the television likely got washed down the river during a heavy rain before settling on the riverbed. Trash, along with tree branches and sediment are carried downstream during floods, while erosion of the riverbank worsens the problem.

“It gets washed into the river, and then it eventually gets washed into Lake Michigan,” Artiomow said. Meanwhile, the muddy sediment that coats the riverbed makes the waterway inhospitable to the insects, fish and Invertebrates that would live in a healthy river, she said.

Artiomow said the Pike River’s bank erosion and sediment problems are due at least in part to stormwater runoff. Changes in land use — from larger roads to more rooftops to agricultural drainage — mean far more water hits the river during heavy rains than would it adjacent land was in a more natural state, she said, causing more water to move faster through the waterway during rains.

Hawthorn Hollow hopes to combat stormwater runoff and erosion problems in the park through a wetland restoration project. They won a $10,000 grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan that will fund the engineering for the project. Artiomow said estimated the overall cost of the project will be $50,000.

She said the nature center’s plan has two components:

1. They will regrade a gravel road than runs downhill to a small outdoor amphitheater, adding what will dry creek bed that will divert runoff away from the road, slowing the flow and preventing erosion of the path. Now, storm water runs directly down the road and into the river.

2. Restoration of a small wetland area that will hold water, which will help prevent erosion of the river bank.

Artiomow said work on the project will likely begin next year.

“We’re looking at this as a demonstration project,” she said, hoping other land owners along the Pike River will work on projects that will address the bank erosion issue.

The Fund for Lake Michigan supports projects aimed at improving water quality in the lake and its watersheds. The Hawthorn award was among $1.9 million in grants from the fund this year.


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