Richards Park is a public park owned and operated by the City of Muskegon. The park is located on the northeast end of Muskegon Lake, adjacent to the south branch of the Muskegon River. The habitat along the river corridor was degraded over time by the encroachment of woody invasive species such as honeysuckle and autumn olive. Additionally, concrete and miscellaneous debris was placed along the shoreline.
The site was restored by removing the concrete debris and installing a bioengineered shoreline of native shrubs. Invasive species were removed throughout the corridor, and 30 3” caliper native trees were installed. Native seed was planted along the riverbank that created a buffer to create habitat while filtering stormwater from adjacent areas.
Year restored: 2010
Total Area Restored (by habitat type):
Shoreline softening=395 linear feet
Riparian buffer restoration=8.59 acres
$23,608 construction cost
30 native trees installed
280 linear feet of native shrub wattles installed
2019 Site Monitoring Summary
Site Summary Statistics
2019 Native Mean Coefficient of Conservatism: 3.4
2019 Floristic Quality Index (FQI): 13.6
2019 Total Native Species: 25
2019 Percent Invasive Species Cover: 7%
Invasive species currently present:
Reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea)
For more information on invasive plants and their management, CLICK HERE
Dominant native species:
Sandbar willow (Salix exigua)
Green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)
Red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea)
Duckweed (Lemna minor)
For more information on native plants around Muskegon Lake, CLICK HERE
The native plant community at Richards Park has become well established. The planted shrubs and trees have flourished, and there are very few invasive plants present. High water levels, however, may impact the long term survival of some of the planted trees if they continue to flood the park in the future.
No soil erosion was noted at the site.
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)
Invasive species are minimally present at the site. The only invasive plant species documented was reed canary grass, which can be removed by 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.