Lakeshore Trail

The Lakeshore Trail site consists of wetlands and uplands between the city bike path and Muskegon Lake, along the southern shore of the lake. The property is owned by the City of Muskegon and is approximately 2,500’ long.

Restoration of this area included invasive species management and the installation of native grasses, wildflowers, trees and shrubs.

Lakeshore Trail | Map
Year restored: 2011-2013

Total Area Restored (by habitat type):
Emergent Wetland=5.5 acres
Upland Buffer=1.5 acres

Construction Facts:
$98,203 construction cost



2019 Site Monitoring Summary

Site Summary Statistics

2019 Native Mean Coefficient of Conservatism: 2.7
2019 Floristic Quality Index (FQI): 11.8
2019 Total Native Species: 33
2019 Percent Invasive Species Cover: <5%

Invasive species currently present:
Spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe)

Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)
Phragmites (Phragmites australis)
Hybrid cattail (Typha x glauca)
Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

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

Dominant native species:
Sandbar willow (Salix exigua)

Tall goldenrod (Solidago altissima)
Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

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

Site Summary:

High water levels have caused a reduction in many of the emergent wetland communities along the trail. Much of the vegetation along the trail now consists of either submergent vegetation, or shrubs.  Where present, the shrubs along the trail are acting to stabilize the shoreline.

In one location, an approximately 40’ long stretch of the bike path has eroded from high water, and has been stabilized with stone.

There are many invasive species present along the trail in both upland and wetland areas. The natural communities are generally disturbed and have a relatively low quality overall. However, the shrub wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus) was also found along the trail, which is listed as a “species of special concern” by the Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI).  More information about this plant can be found here at

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

There are many different invasive species present at this site, although populations of most species are relatively low, with the exception of hybrid cattail. The first priority should include management of any invasive species in the vicinity of the wahoo, to help protect the plant and encourage its spread. Next, the Japanese knotweed and Phragmites should be treated, both of which have a very high potential to have a significant impact on the natural areas along the lakeshore.

For more information on invasive plant management, CLICK HERE.

The site should be assessed for erosion monthly during high water periods. Additional stone may need to be placed if significant erosion occurs. To place stone, a permit will be required by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE). Permits can be found HERE.

Any shrubs along the lakeshore should be protected to help minimize erosion. If possible, shrub cuttings could be selectively taken from on site and re-planted to aid in erosion control along the trail.

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