Case Studies       


  Detroit, MI


The City of Detroit has transformed its riverfront into a public asset by restoring natural features and by connecting the riverfront to surrounding neighborhoods.  A public walking path runs along the river from near Belle Isle to Joe Louis Arena, with a planned continuation to the Ambassador Bridge and beyond.  Visitors to the riverfront can easily access several parks, the Renaissance Center and downtown, and the Dequindre Cut trail.  Wetlands have been installed along portions of the riverfront to control erosion.  The Michigan DNR also recently constructed an Outdoor Adventure Center in a former industrial building, allowing visitors and residents to learn about Michigan ecosystems.

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The Huron River travels through Washtenaw, Wayne, and Monroe Counties, and is a key resource for the communities along its route. There is a system of regional parks along the river promoting tourism as a key part of the regional economy. The communities along the Huron River are continuing to develop a regional water trail on the river and a bike path along the shoreline.

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  Bay City, MI


Bay City has cleaned up brownfields and restored its waterfront along the Saginaw River.  The neighborhood near City Hall, often viewed as the “front door” of the City, was once home to a port that deposited large piles of and rocks here.  After a downstream chemical plant closed, the plant’s harbor became available and the piles were moved.  A new mixed-use waterfront development (“Uptown”) is rising on this site with apartments, retail, office space, public access to the river, and a mural paying tribute to the history of the Bay City lumber industry.

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  Boardman River


Grand Traverse and Kalkaska Counties - Communities in the Boardman River Watershed in Grand Traverse and Kalkaska counties have worked together to plan cooperatively for the future of this vital shared natural resource.  The Watershed Prosperity Plan is a collaboration among 12 organizations in the Boardman River Watershed to enhance the protection and wise use of the river.  One catalyst for creating this plan was the removal of three dams on the river, which helped restore the natural flow of the river.  This change in shoreline dynamics presented an opportunity for these organizations to consider impacts on ecological, economical, and recreational activities in the watershed.

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A group of citizens in Grand Rapids is exploring the idea of restoring the rapids to the Grand River by removing dams. This would allow the river to be restored to its natural state for the first time in over 150 years. Allowing for a natural river ecosystem will also help control flooding in certain areas and improve habitat conditions, which will help replenish and maintain fish populations. The naturalization will also create recreation opportunities.

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