Kunze Creek Restoration

Cardno’s teams performed stream assessment, installation of log vanes and bank stabilization methods to restore a stream impacted by historic dredging in the northern lower peninsula of Michigan.

Recently, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan acquired a property that includes a significant section of the Kunze Creek buffered by wetland and forest systems. The tribe retained Cardno to restore natural flow by removing log jams and establishing a meandering pattern.

Cardno’s water resources team assessed the stream and developed a plan using natural and sustainable techniques, including log vanes and bank stabilization methods such as grading and native seeding.

The plan’s design focused on the installation of a series of log vanes on alternating stream banks. Log vanes are flow deflection structures that reduce streambank erosion, deflect flows toward the stream center, dissipate energy, provide aquatic habitat, and create downstream pools. By installing log vanes on alternating banks, stream flows are deflected back and forth between opposite banks and create a natural meandering pattern.

Along select eroded bank sections, Cardno provided bank treatment in the form of minor grading and native seed plantings and/or the use of woody debris to provide added bank protection. Both bank treatment options helped increase bank stabilization and enhance aquatic and riparian habitat.

Cardno’s team worked with the tribe and regulatory agencies to design the project during 2020-early 2021. Construction was completed in May 2021.