Muskegon Lake was designated a United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Area of Concern in 1987 because of water quality and habitat impairments associated with the historical discharge of pollutants into the AOC, and the potential adverse effect the pollutants could have on Lake Michigan. The high levels of nutrients, solids, and toxics entering the lake caused a series of problems including nuisance algal blooms, reduced oxygen in the lake’s deeper water, tainted taste of fish due to petroleum products in the water, and contaminated sediments. Muskegon Lake is also only 73% of its original size due to historic filling of shallow water and wetlands. Much of the shoreline has been hardened with broken concrete, wood, metal and other material.
As part of GEI’s role in shoreline, wetland, and habitat restoration, our project engineers and restoration ecologists have worked closely with a variety of private and public stakeholders including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Great Lakes Commission, the Muskegon Lake Watershed Partnership, and the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission, to design and implement numerous restoration projects along the lakeshore. A variety of ecological solutions have been integrated on the restoration sites including hardened shoreline and fill removal, bioengineering integration, native plant installation, vegetative buffer establishment, fish and wildlife habitat structure installation, invasive species control, marine debris removal, hydrologic reconnection, passive recreation access point creation, and educational outreach.