In 2006, portions of Grand River Avenue in Brighton, Michigan were proposed for road improvements including road widening and storm sewer redesign. The proposed project had the potential to greatly alter water quality and quantity in the area since the corridor runs immediately adjacent to several lakes and wetlands. Without preventative measures, the road runoff could reach these resources largely untreated, and the Livingston County Road Commission (LCRC) saw this as an opportunity to improve the quality of the stormwater discharge from this road corridor.

Niswander Environmental was hired by the LCRC to conduct an evaluation of the existing drainage patterns and stormwater discharge points throughout the project corridor. As part of this project, the proposed stormwater drainage plan and all existing and proposed stormwater outfalls were evaluated for potential water improvement opportunities. As a result, Niswander Environmental determined that the majority of road runoff was currently collected in narrow road ditches that ran over primarily short distances into adjacent bodies of water. In addition, large stormwater outlets were identified that discharged directly to the lakes, two of which were badly eroded and unstable.

Based on the outcome of the drainage plan evaluation, Niswander Environmental developed an innovative stormwater management design to treat road runoff and provide water quality improvement prior to its discharge to nearby water bodies. Several bioswales were retrofitted in areas of former ditch locations. In addition, two existing outfalls directly discharging into adjacent lakes were stabilized and designed as biofiltration systems that now treat the stormwater prior to discharge. These bioswales and biofilters not only treat stormwater runoff and provide water quality improvement, but also reduce the amount of stormwater runoff into the lakes. Niswander Environmental completed the design so that it could be directly integrated into the proposed road construction engineering documents. This project also required coordination with several landowners since some of the features were adjacent to private property. Niswander Environmental took this into account in project design and created sites that were not only functional, but also aesthetically pleasing. This project was constructed summer 2008 and Niswander Environmental provided construction and planting oversight.

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