Michigan City Shoreline Webcam NOAA - Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
Monitoring location 04095300 is associated with a STREAM in LAPORTE COUNTY, INDIANA. Current conditions of DISCHARGE, GAGE HEIGHT, and TEMPERATURE are available. Water data back to 1969 are available online.
“Through collaborative efforts, we can not only reduce the financial impacts resulting from a polluted Trail Creek, but more importantly, we can provide the stewardship and leadership required now in order for future generations to be able to enjoy the natural beauty of Trail Creek for decades to come.”
--Maggi Spartz, President of the Unity Foundation
By DONAVAN BARRIER Staff Writer
Oct 14, 2022
MICHIGAN CITY — A decade-long revitalization project by the Michigan City Sanitary District will
come to fruition next week with the opening of a new nature preserve on the site of a former landfill.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the site at 802 S.
Karwick Rd. After the ceremony, the park will be open every day from sunrise to sundown.
The Sanitary District began cleaning up the area, used as a dump site from 1965 to 1971, after
heavy rains in April 2013 exposed buried waste. Erosion started causing debris to fall into Trail
Creek, so Michael Kuss, former district general manager, began work to stabilize the bank to
prevent further pollution.
“He was very effective in mobilizing resources,” Milatovic said. “[He brought in] special stone, glacial
rock and different personnel from different departments … to stabilize the banks.”
Once the initial preventative work was complete, Kuss hired Weaver Consultants Group to conduct
a site investigation. What they found was not good – nine acres of waste buried 6 to 9 feet deep.
Also discovered was arsenic and ammonia seeping into the creek, which was hurting the local
“Trail Creek is a salmon fishery,” Stanford said, “and salmon hate ammonia.”
In 2016, the designs for a nature preserve were completed. The plan included grading and taking the buried trash inland to keep it away from the creek. The trash would then be created into mounds and covered in soil and grasses, which will be covered with asphalt to create a parking lot.
A leachate collection system was also established to drain contaminated water. Partnering with SOX Erosion Solutions, the Sanitary District used SOX’s Turf Reinforcement Matting to reintroduce plants.
A mix of mulch and plant seeds native to Indiana were planted, and with the double-layered, knitted polyethylene mesh, will allow roots to grow and keep the soil secure to prevent further erosion.
Native trees and shrubs were also reintroduced, which will allow wildlife to come back into the area.
“I didn’t want a big flood to come along and take all of our work downstream,” Stanford said. “The[plants’] root system softens the blow of rain and slows down run off.”
James Meyer, attorney for the Sanitary District, hired Indianapolis-based environmental law firm Plews Shadley to procure funding for the cleanup through insurance settlements.
“We hired a team to go through all of the old insurance policies that predated pollution exclusions,” Stanford said.
In 2017, negotiations on the settlements began and the money that was collected the following year allowed the MCSD to begin work on the park.
On the west side of the preserve, the Cheney Run tributary has another project called the Stormwater Treatment Wetland. With land donated to the city by GAF, it will act as a buffer between the park and invasive species of plants, and simultaneously filter out pollutants naturally and release the water slowly to Trail Creek.
The runoff would be slowed and any chemicals and pollutants would sink to the bottom, to be consumed by the natural bacteria that inhabit the water, protecting the creek.
“We handled the site as a habitat restoration,” Stanford said. “The site should become attractive to wildlife, which are happy to return.”
The construction of Karwick Park cost around $2.4 million, which was paid for entirely through the efforts of Meyer and Plews Shadley, with an extra $800,000 going to fund continuous care of the lands over the next 30 years. Construction of the Cheney Run Wetland cost an additional $1 million.
Plans for creating playgrounds are still in the works, but there will be a nature trail for visitors to walk the area.
Delta Institute (Delta) partnered with the Michigan City Sanitary District (MCSD) and the Alliance for the Great Lakes to make stormwater, ecological restoration, and recreation improvements at Michigan City’s Cheney Run. A 40-acre site surrounded by wetlands, Cheney Run is a primary source of stormwater-related pollution that ends up in the Trail Creek, a major tributary that feeds into Lake Michigan. The partnership focused on implementing improvements that reduce the amount of pollution transferred from Cheney Run to Trail Creek, restoring the wetlands, and creating trails on site for residents.
The goals of the project included:
• Reducing urban runoff impairments through the design and installation of approximately five acres of constructed wetlands
• Capturing and treating 37.5 million gallons of stormwater annually
• Convening stakeholders in an authentic and inclusive dialog, to maximize community development project impact, achieve meaningful stewardship, seek opportunities for connectivity of wetlands to surrounding areas, attract community amenities, and align with regional plans.
• Expanding the scope and impact of the project, through procurement of additional resources and partnerships.
• Building local municipal and contractor capacity, through project implementation, coordination, and ongoing stewardship.
Evaluate benefits of Green Infrastructure to prevent urban flooding. From the Center for Neighborhood Technology.
EPA's Tool to help control runoff and promote the natural movement of water
The League of Women Voters Lake Michigan Region Conference Oct 14-15, 2016
Field Trip: A few highlights of projects underway to keep Trail Creek Clean & Cold. - photos below