Restoration of a Multi-Functional Landscape: Mill Creek After Dam Removal
Hollins, Katherine M.
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AbstractMill Creek has been dammed at the Village of Dexter, Michigan, since the 1820s. The Village???s relationship with Mill Creek has changed from one based primarily on power for saw and grist mills (economic growth) in the 1800s to one based on a free-flowing stream after the dam???s removal in 2008. Our recommendations can help the Village of Dexter achieve its ecological goals for Mill Creek Park, improve the watershed???s health and integrity, improve interpretive and educational experiences, and develop a richer, more diverse relationship between the Village and Mill Creek. Key watershed recommendations are: 1) conduct local restoration/enhancement projects such that they contribute to the watershed???s ecological functions and processes, 2) reduce the height and angle of artificially high streambanks, 3) reduce erosion around stormwater outfalls, 4) move stormwater from pipes to bioswales, 5) adopt or revise ordinances to protect riparian and wetland areas, to encourage low impact development, and to prevent use of invasive plants in landscaping, 6) remove invasive plant species, 7) move proposed paved trail more than 25 feet from streambanks, 8) reestablish natural disturbances (fire and flooding), and 9) improve safety in the Outdoor Education Area (OEA) by repairing erosion that threatens walkways, removing poison ivy, dead-standing trees and dangerous debris near the trails, and repairing boardwalks and walkways. Key recommendations to facilitate effective relationships between people and Mill Creek are: 1) use this report???s OEA plant identification guide, 2) establish either a point person or a core group of teachers to manage and effectively use the OEA for education, 3) pursue professional development opportunities for schoolteachers, 4) adopt, pilot test, and measure the effectiveness of the interpretive signs produced by this report, 5) recruit a volunteer program coordinator to plan volunteer activities and schedules, outreach, and supervise workdays, 6) use this report???s suggested tools and strategies for volunteers, and 7) recruit volunteers from a variety of businesses, civic groups, and organizations.