Streambank Restoration at
Petrifying Springs Park Improves Water Quality,
Restores Native Species
Planting native vegetation along the Pike River and restoring an adjacent wetland is reducing erosion, preventing storm runoff, and providing a home for fish and other native species.
Pike River is a major waterway in Wisconsin whose north and south branches meet at Petrifying Springs Park and then flow into Lake Michigan. Covering almost 310 square miles, the river’s watershed includes over 300 miles of streams and numerous lakes. Over time, development and human activity degraded the quality of the river, contributing to erosion, poor water quality, and the destruction of habitat.
Thanks to a grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Kenosha County Division of Parks & Recreation, in collaboration with local partners, is restoring the Pike River streambank.
The project aims to address streambank erosion and improve the flow of the river. The project will restore 3,145 feet along the river, as well as five acres of adjacent habitat. Planting native vegetation will stabilize the riverbank, enhance habitat quality, and reduce erosion. Restoring a riparian wetland will collect stormwater from the Petrifying Springs Parkway and the adjacent golf course before it reaches the river, helping to reduce storm runoff and significantly improving water quality.
These restored habitats will provide habitat for fish—such as panfish and other game fish—and promote the recovery of previously threatened species of macroinvertebrates. Ultimately, project managers hope to reintroduce northern pike in the Pike River.
“This project will restore and preserve the Pike River watershed, which, in turn, will feed cleaner water into Lake Michigan,” said Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser. “This is a win-win for our environment and our quality of life, which is enhanced so much by the natural resources around us.”
Resource Challenges Addressed
- Urban Runoff
- Poor water quality
- Habitat degradation
After restoration, streambanks are protected from erosion. Photo credit: Kenosha County Division of Parks & Recreation
Location: Petrifying Springs Park, Kenosha County, WI.
Approximate cost: $1,241,000, of which $500,000 was provided by the GLRI
Key partners: Kenosha County Division of Parks & Recreation, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network, Village of Somers, Southeast Gateway Group of Sierra Club
Types of jobs created: Landscape architects, research, general labor
Results and Accomplishments
The project is reducing erosion and stormwater runoff into the river. Flood events have become more manageable, and damage to the riverbank and the ecology has been mitigated.