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Johnson Creek and Tamarack Creek Restoration in Rouge River Area of Concern

Concrete wall channelizing Johnson Creek.
Concrete wall channelizing Johnson Creek.

The Alliance of Rouge Communities’ Johnson Creek and Tamarack Creek restoration projects are creating wetlands and restoring over half a mile of tributary habitat in the Rouge River AOC in Southeast Michigan. These projects address Beneficial Use Impairments related to habitat loss and populations of fish and wildlife at the AOC. The Alliance is continuing to maintain native vegetation while also combatting invasive vegetation at the sites.

Johnson Creek is the only remaining cold-water fishery in the Rouge River and hosts the first registered fish hatchery in the nation. Over the years, its viability as a fishery has been reduced by sedimentation, loss or conversion of riparian vegetation, and streambank armoring. The restoration project naturalizes streambanks, removes accumulated sediment to create deeper fish habitat, modifies habitat to enable fish passage, and installs vegetated swale to filter stormwater from an unimproved parking lot.

Tamarack Creek receives large quantities of uncontrolled stormwater runoff from urbanized areas. High channel velocities led to bank erosion, sedimentation of instream habitat, and destabilization of substrates important for fish and macroinvertebrates. This restoration project addresses these habitat impairments and will increase fish and wildlife diversity and productivity.

These projects have won five state and local awards between them:

Naturalized streambank and floodplain terrace.
Naturalized streambank and floodplain terrace.

  • Johnson Creek Fish Hatchery site:
    • March 2022: Michigan Recreation & Park Association 2021‐2022 Landscape Design Award
    • October 2021: American Public Works Association (APWA) MI Chapter 2021 Environmental Project of the Year Award
    • October 2021: Keep Michigan Beautiful President’s Award
  • Tamarack Creek and Wetland Restoration site:
    • May 2022: APWA MI Chapter 2022 Environmental Project of the Year Award
    • March 2022: APWA Detroit Metro Chapter 2022 Environmental Project of the Year Award

For more information, visit www.allianceofrougecommunities.com/rrac.html