Mill Debris

Mill Debris | Muskegon Lake

Muskegon’s legacy as a lumber town has left behind slabwood and miscellaneous lumber mill debris in several locations throughout Muskegon Lake. In places, this wood covers the lake bottom, which impacts bottom-dwelling wildlife while also being an eyesore during low water periods.

To restore the lake bottom and improve the in-lake habitat, this debris was removed some several locations along the south shore of the lake. The target areas for removal were near the mouth of Ruddiman Creek and in the bay near the Grand Trunk boat launch and the Lake Express dock.

Michigan Steel | Map
Year restored: 2012-2018

Total Area Restored (by habitat type):
Shoreline softening=2,377 linear feet
Emergent Wetland=1.9 acres
Upland Buffer=2.2 acres

Construction Facts:
$923,400 construction cost

9,217 cubic yards of foundry fill removed
1,318 tons of slag and metal debris removed
3,880 native shrubs installed
1,800 native plants installed
1,880 linear feet of bioengineering installed
71 native species installed



2019 Site Monitoring Summary

Site Summary Statistics

Invasive species currently present:
Spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe)

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

Dominant native species:
Sandbar willow (Salix exigua)

Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
Tall goldenrod (Solidago altissima)
Yellow coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)
Horsemint (Monarda punctata)

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

Site Summary:

As water levels have risen at the site, plant diversity has been reduced over previous years. The existing shrubs, primarily sandbar willow, have stabilized the shoreline where they are intermixed with the rock toe. The high water levels have reduced the size of the overall peninsula.

Erosion has occurred on the east and west sides of the peninsula as a result of high water levels and waves. If sustained high water continues, the site may need to be stabilized through the addition of stone. To place stone, a permit will be required by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).

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. The only invasive plant species documented was spotted knapweed, which can be removed by hand pulling or selective herbicide applications.

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.