|When ISEA purchased its waterfront property in Suttons Bay there was a pre-existing problem of street runoff and shore erosion at the site. Runoff contaminated with visible hydrocarbons and sediment was entering Suttons Bay. Although not required by law, ISEA decided to address this problem as a demonstration of how best to manage stormwater runoff. |
ISEA hired Grobbel Environmental and Planning to design a natural treatment system consisting of a grassed waterway and two wetland ponds. These features were constructed in the spring of 2006 by Kal Excavating, and planted with native wetland species by the Grobbel staff and ISEA volunteers, including 50 students from Suttons Bay High School and the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District Career Tech Center's Horicultural program.
The specific goals of the project are to:
1. Capture and treat road, parking lot and roof runoff from the Inland Seas Education Association (ISEA) site and adjacent upslope areas of the Village of Suttons Bay. Pollutants removed or reduced include sediment, heavy metals, hydrocarbons, nutrients and bacteria.
2. Eliminate shore and gully erosion caused by overland flow of storm water along approximately 200 feet of Suttons Bay shoreline. The shoreline has been re-contoured and stabilized with soft engineering materials and natural vegetation.
3. Develop a wetland/runoff treatment curriculum for the general public, riparian property owners, managers and students. This includes a self-guided walking tour with interpretive materials and a more formal instructional program for students and professionals.
Funding for the Wetland Demonstration Project came from the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District as part of a Supplemental Environmental Project. This Supplemental Environmental Project was undertaken in resolution of a Notice of Noncompliance issued by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to the Traverse Bay Intermediate School District. Additional funding came from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program, the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay, and from a generous corporation.
The wetland is now open for visitors to walk the paths and read the five interpretive panels with art by Glenn Wolfe. Programs are also available for schools and community groups. Free guided Wetland Walks are usually offered in the evening during the summer months. Call the ISEA office at 231-271-3077 for more information.