Kid's Creek Revived

Sep 27, 2013

In the Spring, Munson Medical Center hopes to build a new cancer center. But the spot they picked out – just north of their hospital – had a creek underneath it. So the medical center has been working to reroute the creek. And now – it’s actually closer to what it once was in the past.

Earlier today, a crowd looked on as pitchers of water were poured off a bridge near Munson Medical Center. And with that, a new section of Kid's Creek was officially born.

It’s a body of water that has been through some hard times. Due to development over the years the creek has been redirected into ditches and large underground tubes called culverts.

Sarah U’Ren, Program Director at the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay, says parts of the creek have been on the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s “Impaired Waters” list.

“And so what that means is there’s a certain function of this stream that is not up to water quality standards,” says U’Ren. “And actually why this creek is on the impaired waters list is because it doesn’t have a lot of aquatic insects.”

So there’s not very much fish food. Another issue with the creek is that it has tended to flood. U’Ren says turning it back to a more natural state should address both those problems.

“Not only does it open up a new habitat for fish, but it also creates a flood plane so that when we do have a high flow event for the creek, it can spill out of its banks and... reduce some of that flood pressure that happens as the water moves through the creek,” says U’Ren.

And the creek’s new route is actually closer to what it originally was, before it was put into culverts underground.  Steve Tongue, Vice President of Facilities for the medical center, says he’s excited for what this will mean for the people who live nearby.

“So many people have told me, ‘When I was a kid I caught my first trout here.’ So it’s neat to be a part of keeping that heritage alive and maybe even making it better for the future,” says Tongue.

He also thinks the new creek section will benefit patients - especially those in the future cancer center who will have views overlooking it.