BASF Park - Site #1

Wyandotte, Michigan


Project Goals and Objectives: Demonstrate the use of Elastocoast (Elastometric revetment that stabilizes shorelines and enhances habitat by increasing interstitial spaces) along the Detroit River shoreline of BASF Park

Project Description: Since the late 1800s chemical products like soda ash have been produced from salt in Wyandotte, Michigan. This salt mining location in Wyandotte was chosen because of the proximity to one of Michigan's largest veins of underground salt. The first companies were named J.B. Ford and Michigan Alkali. These two companies consolidated in 1943 as Wyandotte Chemicals Company. In 1969, ninety-eight percent of the shares of Wyandotte Chemicals were acquired by BASF Corporation, a multinational corporation with headquarters in Germany.

Over the years Wyandotte facilities and operations were expanded. In addition, some outdated processes were eliminated and inefficient facilities removed. Today, BASF Wyandotte operations play a key role in supporting the company's position as a leading producer of plastics and as the world's second largest vitamin producer. BASF has a demonstrated commitment to environmental protection and enhancing "quality of life" in the communities in which it works and lives.

With the closure of its South Works operations in Wyandotte in the late 1980s, BASF was afforded a unique opportunity to redevelop this former industrial site to the mutual benefit of all stakeholders. BASF, in partnership with the City of Wyandotte and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, transformed 84 acres (34 hectares) of vacant industrial land at this site into prime recreational property that is beneficial to the community and protective of human health and the environment. This former industrial property was remediated and redeveloped into prime, recreational, waterfront property. Unique features include a world-class rowing facility, a 9-hole golf course, a beautiful boardwalk, a 25-acre (10-hectare) park, and a restored shoreline.

As part of this brownfield redevelopment project the shoreline was stabilized using Elastocoast® shoreline techniques. This new technique was less expensive and more aesthetically pleasing than breakwalls or steel sheet piling, and enhanced aquatic habitat. Elastocoast® is a two-component special-purpose plastic composed of polyurethane which durably and elastically bonds together layers of rock and stone on the coast. Conventional clamping systems using rigid concrete envelopes are susceptible to damage by waves, frost and ground subsidence. Concrete clamping systems have closed surfaces that deflect the waves and this in turn can result in rupture of the breakwaters. By comparison Elastocoast® provides open-cell but simultaneously highly stable and resistant breakwaters because the stones are bonded to one another only at certain points. In contrast to the rigid surface structures composed of concrete or bitumen the rubble layer clamped by Elastocoast® absorbs the energy of the insurgent volumes of water so that only relatively small waves form on the rebound. The elasticity of the material and its open porous structure prevent rupture of the stony surfaces and ensure the durability of the breakwater structures.

Cost: BASF Corporation contributed $2 million, Michigan Department of Natural Resources contributed $1.5 million in grants, and the City of Wyandotte contributed $4.5 million that it was able to recapture through tax increment financing. The cost of the Elastocoast® shoreline restoration was $6,000.

Timeframe: 2008

Partners: BASF Corporation, City of Wyandotte, and Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Ecological Effectiveness: Post-project visual observation documented no erosion problems at this site and that shoreline stability was maintained; no post-project monitoring of ecological effectiveness has been performed to date.

Restoration Contact: BASF Corporation