IPF receives funding to restore Red Cedar riverbanks

Photo of the portion of the Red Cedar River targeted for restoration

Josie Boumis

September 24, 2019

A living lab and place of relaxation to students, faculty, staff and surrounding communities, the Red Cedar River runs for three miles through campus and its beauty is easily seen by all passersby. But less obvious is how threatened the river is by erosion, something that IPF is working to change. 

“The natural process of erosion slowly impacts all riverbanks on campus,” said Yun Cao, Planning, Design and Construction landscape architect. “This process has accelerated because the region’s urbanization has increased in recent decades.” 

The erosion process results in significant loss of riverbank soil, causing tree root exposure and leading to the premature loss of trees along the river. Accelerated erosion may also be a public safety hazard as it can negatively impact aquatic habitat even in the Great Lakes Basin. 

“IPF proposes to restore the river by installing a combination of wood/brush bundles and stone at the toe of the south bank,” Cao said. “Bioengineered bank stabilization, including native plantings, will be installed up the slope from the newly established riverbank.” 

To complete this project, Cao applied for grants to seek funding for the operations. The Great Lakes Commission has awarded IPF $72,450 through the Great Lakes Sediment and Nutrient Reduction Program. IPF will provide matching funds to cover construction material fees and indirect costs. 

“We are very lucky to have the Red Cedar River on campus; not many campuses have a river that runs through it,” Cao said. “Everyone is responsible to preserve the Red Cedar River and to provide the best sustainable environment to MSU and nearby communities.”