Heritage Landing Circle & Fish Bay

Muskegon Lake | Heritage Landing

Heritage Landing is a public park owned and operated by Muskegon County. The park is located along the south shore of Muskegon Lake and is frequently used by the public for recreation, fishing, and cultural and musical festivals that are held throughout the year. The park is located near downtown Muskegon and was constructed on historic fill that had been placed in the lake.

Many of the natural areas, including shorelines and wetlands, have been disturbed at the park from historic development. Disturbances included the place of rock and miscellaneous debris such as concrete, tires, and scrap metal. To restore the natural areas, this debris was removed and replaced with bioengineered shorelines and native plants. Additionally, submerged habitat structures in the form of whole trees and logs were placed throughout the site.

Heritage Landing Restoration Map
Year restored: 2011-2013

Total Area Restored (by habitat type):
Shoreline softening=1,800 linear feet
Open Water Wetland=0.81 acres
Emergent Wetland=0.65 acres
Upland Buffer=0.95 acres

Construction Facts:
Circle Shoreline Restoration=$146,223
Scrap Bay/Fish Bay Debris Removal and Shoreline Restoration=$225,156
Rotary Park Shoreline Restoration=$212,613

18,000+ native plants installed
12 trees installed
8 submerged woody habitat structures installed



2019 Site Monitoring Summary

Site Summary Statistics

Heritage Landing Fish Bay
2019 Native Mean Coefficient of Conservatism: 3.0

2019 Floristic Quality Index (FQI): 15.4
2019 Total Native Species: 37
2019 Percent Invasive Species Cover: 13.3%

Invasive species currently present:
White sweet clover (Melilotus alba)

Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum)
Reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea)
Non-native cattail (Typha x glauca and Typha angustifolia)

Dominant native species:
Brown fox sedge (Carex vulpinoidea)

Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)
Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans)
Switch grass (Panicum virgatum)

Heritage Landing Circle
2019 Native Mean Coefficient of Conservatism: 4.1

2019 Floristic Quality Index (FQI): 22.4
2019 Total Native Species: 41
2019 Percent Invasive Species Cover: <5%%

Invasive species currently present:
Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum)

Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)

For more information on invasive plants and their management, CLICK HERE

Dominant native species:
Little bluestem (Schizachryium scoparium)

Wild celery (Vallisneria americana)
Tall goldenrod (Solidago altissima)
Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

For more information on native plants around Muskegon Lake, CLICK HERE

Site Summary:

Like many sites around Muskegon Lake, high water levels have impacted the native plant community and caused erosion in some locations at the park. To repair, additional bioengineering, stone, and native plants were placed in late 2019.

The site has been managed by volunteer groups, who have successfully limited the establishment of invasive species and some undesirable native species. Although a native species, tall goldenrod has spread throughout the site and impacted the overall diversity of native species.

In the shorelines adjacent to Fish Bay, willows and native grasses have become well established and are functionally stabilizing much of the shoreline. There is a submergent plant community in the bay as well, although the overall diversity is somewhat limited.

Native Mean C=average coefficient of conservatism (C). Each plant is assigned a “C” value, which represents the probability that a plant will occur in an undisturbed area. C values range from 0-10. Wetlands with a native mean C greater than 3.5 are considered “high quality aquatic resources” (USFWS)
FQI=Floristic Quality Inventory, which is an indication of quality of the vegetation at a given site. In general, wetlands with an FQI above 20 are considered “high quality aquatic resources” (USFWS)

Management Recommendations

Invasive species are minimally present at the site. Sweet clover and spotted knapweed should continue to be hand pulled when encountered.  Although a native species, the tall goldenrod has reduced the overall diversity of the site and should be hand pulled or treated with a broadleaf-specific herbicide. Additionally, cottonwoods and willows in the circle should be removed by hand cutting or pulling as possible to maintain the grass and wildflower habitat of that portion of the site. For more information on invasive plant management, CLICK HERE.

The site should be monitored 2-3 times per year to look for erosion and any invasive plants.