Plaster Creek – 14 miles of neglected stream running through the Grand Rapids metropolitan area into the Grand River. Best known for a long history of industrial pollution, it is the most contaminated creek in West Michigan.
With 100 years of neglect, Plaster Creek won’t be healed in one year or even ten, but one local group has made significant strides toward restoring its health. Plaster Creek Stewards is a collaboration of Calvin College faculty, staff, and students working with local schools, churches, and community partners to restore the health and beauty of the Plaster Creek watershed.
Their solution? Native plants. These Michigan natives plants are essential for a healthy watershed. Their deep roots absorb stormwater and filter nutrients, pollutants and sediments while slowing the flow of runoff to the creek. The slow filtering process provides the creek with clean, cool, regular sources of water as compared to the warm, polluted storm surges that come from the storm sewers.
Plaster Creek Stewards focuses education and outreach, research, and hands-on restoration of Plaster Creek Watershed. Their on-campus native plant nursery provides a wide variety of local genotype plants for restoration projects ranging from rain gardens to residential native plantings. Their staff along with Calvin summer research students provide consulting and site design services, installation and maintenance for green infrastructure projects in the watershed.