Ruddiman Lagoon

Ruddiman Creek Lagoon | Muskegon Lake

The Ruddiman Creek Lagoon is located in McGraft Park along the south shore of Muskegon Lake, and is a public property owned and operated by the City of Muskegon. The park exists at the downstream end of Ruddiman Creek, near its entrance into Muskegon Lake. A lagoon/pond has formed where the creek is backed up by a culvert beneath Lakeshore Drive.

Historically, this lagoon had filled with contaminated sediments. Much of the area around the lagoon was mowed turf grass, which provided very little habitat value. Additionally, a blockage was historically constructed of broken concrete just downstream of Lakeshore Drive, which created a barrier to fish passage during low water periods. Many of the existing natural areas surrounding the pond were dominated by invasive plant species such as honeysuckle and autumn olive.

Restoration of this site began in 2005-6 with the cleanup of contaminated sediments in the lagoon.  More information on the contaminated sediment cleanup can be found at:—muskegon-lake-aoc.html

In 2011, additional restoration efforts began with the removal of invasive species throughout the park. Following invasive species removal, a portion of the shoreline was converted from turf grass into a native plant buffer to create habitat while filtering runoff from the turf portions of the park. Finally, the blockage in the creek was removed to allow for fish passage during low water periods.

Year restored: 2005-2012

Total Area Restored (by habitat type):
Shoreline Softening=540 linear feet
Open Water Wetland=1.81 acres
Emergent Wetland=0.28 acres
Upland Buffer/Invasive Species Control=72 acres

Construction Facts:
Contaminated Sediment Cleanup Cost=$14.2 million
Shoreline Restoration and Invasive Species Removal Cost=$131,732
89,900 cubic yards of contaminated sediment removed
72 acres of invasive species removal
6 3” caliper trees installed
7,287 native plants installed



2019 Site Monitoring Summary

Site Summary Statistics

2019 Native Mean Coefficient of Conservatism: 3.4
2019 Floristic Quality Index (FQI): 18.3
2019 Total Native Species: 34
2019 Percent Invasive Species Cover: <5%

Invasive species currently present:
Invasive cattail (Typha x glauca and Typha angustifolia)

Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
Water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes)

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

Dominant native species:
Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)

Tall goldenrod (Solidago altissima)
New England aster (Symphotrichum novae-angliae)
Common arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia)
Coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum)

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

Site Summary:

The native plant buffer at the site has become well established. However, native species such as cottonwood and tall goldenrod have begun to encroach in the site, and appear to have caused a loss of diversity of the planted native plants.

No soil erosion was noted.

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

Water lettuce was found at this site, and is considered an Early Detection, Rapid Response (EDRR) species in Michigan. This species should be controlled as quickly as possible to prevent its spread throughout the lake. Work should be coordinated with the West Michigan Cooperative Weed Management Area (CISMA), who has been notified of the plant and began removal efforts in 2019. The CISMA is led out of the Ottawa Conservation District, and can be reached at

In addition to the water lettuce, purple loosestrife and cattails should be treated at the site with selective herbicide applications. For more information on invasive plant management, CLICK HERE.

Although native, the cottonwood and tall goldenrod have caused a loss of diversity at the site. These plants should be selectively removed with cut-stump treatments for the cottonwood, and the use of selective herbicide treatments to the goldenrod with a broadleaf-specific herbicide. Care should be taken not to harm the established desirable native plants.

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