This site is located on a 75-acre parcel in Oceola Township, Livingston County. The goal of this project was to create 35 acres of mitigation wetland as required for various Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Michigan Bureau of Aeronautics transportation improvement projects, including the Howell Airport and M-59. Initial site evaluation and design work was completed by previous consultants. However, the initial plans that were developed failed to adequately assess the site characteristics, particularly the groundwater regime. Subsequently, MDOT determined that the design was unacceptable. Niswander Environmental, teamed with Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr, and Huber (FTCH), was then contracted to complete an acceptable mitigation design that addressed the site’s complicated groundwater characteristics. Niswander Environmental thus completed a 40-acre mitigation design that included three wetland basins. Niswander Environmental also completed a detailed hydrologic budget and justification report to ensure the feasibility of the design. The wetland was designed as a ground and surface water driven system, and included three basins with open water, emergent, scrub-shrub, and forested components while utilizing four water control structures. All plans and specifications conformed to MDOT requirements and special provisions.
Adjacent inheld properties, existing utility poles, and roadside ditch flooding issues were all taken into consideration during site design. Utility poles were relocated as part of this project. The mitigation design also incorporated roadside ditch improvements to facilitate outflow from the site and to protect the adjacent roadways. Niswander Environmental secured a Right-of-Way permit from the Livingston County Road Commission to complete this work in less than one month. In addition, a Special Use permit was obtained from Oceola Township to construct the site, and Niswander Environmental later presented the project at the Township Board meeting.
According to MDOT staff, this mitigation was one of the most challenging sites to design due to the complicated aspect of the ground and surface water regimes present as well as circumstances surrounding the site. Construction was completed in the fall of 2005 and Niswander Environmental hand-installed over 5,000 plants in 2007. MDOT presented this site as an example of innovative and successful wetland mitigation at the 2006 National Conference of the Association of State Wetland Managers.