Clinton River Mouth Habitat Restoration

Tent to cover aquatic plants during restoration

Cardno supports the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with the creation of a native planting plan and invasive species management.

The U.S.Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) initiated the Clinton River Mouth Habitat Restoration project to improve habitat for fish and wildlife. This former dredged material placement site is managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. For this project, Cardno provided a native planting plan, restoration planting, and invasive species management in support of native plant establishment.

Cardno installed over 9,000 emergent plants, which grow in wetlands and shallow water along shorelines. In addition, Cardno installed approximately 25,900 submergent plants. These plants provide habitat for fish, while some are a food source for fish and waterfowl.

To ensure submergent plants were installed at depths where they would thrive, the USACE mapped near-shore water depths with a remote-operated survey boat. Cardno then installed 25,900 submergents where water was three to four feet deep. Crews built ten predator exclosure pods of wire fencing and wood or metal posts. The weighted submergent plants were then distributed among the pods and protected from both grazing carp and displacement via wave action by the fencing.

Cardno also helped select native tree and shrub species to enrich habitat for birds, mammals, and insects. Staff selected species to be tolerant of both drought and wet conditions. Seeding was supplemented by Cardno’s planting of 10,100 terrestrial herbaceous plugs.

The heavy presence of common reed (Phragmites australis) prior to the project dictated that treatment occur before, during, and after other phases of project construction. Cardno treated the reed with herbicide, then performed a controlled burn of the dead plant material. Other species were also treated with herbicide before and during construction.