Frank and Poet Drain - Site #18

Trenton, Michigan


Project Goals and Objectives: Stream bed, bank, and upland habitat restoration

Project Description: The Frank and Poet Drain is one of the largest creeks that flow through the lower portion of the Detroit River watershed. This creek originates around the Detroit Metropolitan Airport and continues in a southeasterly course through several Downriver communities, including the cities of Trenton and Gibraltar, at which point it empties into the lower Detroit River.

The Frank and Poet Drain has been severely impacted in the past from excessive storm water flow resulting from increased residential and commercial development along its course. It has also received, in the past, large amounts of storm water runoff from the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. All have contributed to excessive flashy flows, which have severely impacted temporal water quality, the aquatic habitat of the drain and the stability of large portions of the drain’s stream bank system.

The project scope of this site was to re-establish the natural willow riparian zone that partially exists on the west (right) bank of the drain. This was accomplished by establishing a 15.2 meter (50 foot) protected no mow zone outward from the existing stream bank edge. Indigenous prairie type seed/plantings zone was implemented behind the emergent willow riparian zone and extending up and out of the flood plain.

On the east (left) bank, due to the erosive undercutting that exists on this portion of the drain, bank mitigation and stabilization was performed. Along this side of the creek, the bank was stabilized utilizing several proven soft shoreline engineering techniques, such as: fibrous matting, fascines, and a new system of using a “geo sock” (fabric mesh tube filled with fine gravel, soil and emergent plant seeds) that was backfilled and planted with indigenous emergent vegetation.

Cost: $80,000

Timeframe: 2007-2009

Partners: Friends of the Detroit River, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, City of Trenton, DTE Foundation, Wayne County Stream Team, J F New Co., Downriver CAER Council and Nativescape LLC.

Ecological Effectiveness: Before restoration, the shoreline was dominated by turf grasses with poor root systems and a highly eroding bank. During restoration eight species of native shrubs were planted, including silky dogwood, grey dogwood, red osier dogwood, witch hazel, spicebush, ninebark, nannyberry, and black haw. Thirty-six indigenous species of wildflowers and prairie grasses were planted by seed, including monkey flower, blue flag iris, swamp milkweed, and New England aster. Post-monitoring of this project will be conducted in the future.

Restoration Contact: Friends of the Detroit River, Detroit Riverkeeper Bob Burns (