Ruth Mott Foundation


Gilkey Creek Restoration

Flint, Michigan

16 acres, 6.5 hectares

Engineering, Environmental Science, Landscape Architecture, Master Planning, Programming, Urban Planning and Design

Merit Award -- Landscape Design

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Flint's Gilkey Creek routinely caused heavy flooding problems, most notably on the historic estate of General Motors founder Charles Mott. To restore the creek and mitigate the flooding issue, the Ruth Mott Foundation turned to SmithGroupJJR.

With a comprehensive study of the creek, SmithGroupJJR found ways to improve its hydraulics and bank stability while reestablishing the riparian corridor. The design daylighted a half-mile stretch of creek that had been enclosed in a culvert for 25 years. Bioengineering solutions reestablished a more natural channel and restored habitat for terrestrial and aquatic species. A pond with wetland fringe now absorbs and naturally filters stormwater.

As a result, costs dropped more than 95 percent for flood-related restoration and cleanup, delivering significant return on investment. The restoration also serves as living classroom for environmental education. Local programs use Gilkey Creek as a model of habitat and landscape restoration, stormwater management, and wetland ecology.

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Gilkey Creek LAF Performance Series Case Study
See Gilkey Creek's performance metrics and benefits on Landscape Architecture Foundation's site.