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:
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
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: 2.9
2019 Floristic Quality Index (FQI): 16.6
2019 Total Native Species: 41
2019 Percent Invasive Species Cover: 31.6%
Invasive species currently present:
Invasive cattail (Typha x glauca and Typha angustifolia)
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
Reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea)
For more information on invasive plants and their management, CLICK HERE
Dominant native species:
Tussock sedge (Carex stricta)
Arrow arum (Peltandra virginica)
Riverbank grape (Vitis riparia)
Duckweed (Lemna minor)
For more information on native plants around Muskegon Lake, CLICK HERE
The native plant community along Ryerson has become well established, forming a wetland and floodplain community. The restored portions of the creek appear stable and to be functioning as designed. Invasive cattail has become established in deeper portions of the wetlands. Many of the native shrubs in the corridor are being impacted by high water levels, with signs of mortality present throughout. However, the water levels appear to be encouraging native emergent plants such as arrow arum to flourish in place of the shrubs.
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)
Invasive species such as cattail and reed canary grass have become well established at the site, and should be managed through selective herbicide applications. Additionally, the native vine riverbank grape also appears to be impacting the woody species at the site, ,and should be managed as well.
For more information on invasive plant management, CLICK HERE.