Preserve opening originally scheduled for October 2
The city of Southfield will hold a grand opening ceremony for the new Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve on Tuesday, October 7 at 1 p.m. at the Preserve located on 10 Mile Road just east of Inkster Road along the Ravines Branch of the Rouge River. The grand opening was originally scheduled for October 2.
The preserve features 42-acres of mature Oak-Hickory woodlands, forested wetlands and native meadows overlooking the beautiful five-acre Carpenter Lake. The preserve offers nearly one mile of nature trails, interpretive signs and trailheads, numerous benches and easily-accessible fishing and viewing platforms. Future plans for Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve include the addition of a new nature interpretive center that will provide environmental education programs and displays. The preserve was funded with the support of a $1,030,000 Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and by a $500,000 Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). An additional $500,000 DNR grant was also awarded that will fund the upcoming construction of the nature center.
“The preserve will really offer something for everyone,” said the City’s Parks & Recreation Director Bill Waterhouse. “The preserve has been carefully planned and developed to allow visitors a truly interactive experience with nature that will build an increased awareness and appreciation for our environment. The preserve will be a great place to enjoy a beautiful day whether you’re walking, fishing, viewing wildlife or just relaxing.”
The City’s Parks & Recreation and Public Works departments worked together in partnership with environmental consultants and contractors to develop the preserve. The City has made significant recreational site improvements, including reconstructing the existing dam and dredging the lake to restore it to its original size. More than 14,000 native game fish species were released into the lake in the fall of 2007, including various species of largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill, sunfish and minnows. The newly established fishery is projected to reach its population objectives in two to three years at which point residents will be able to enjoy fishing at the lake. The preserve is also home to an abundance of wildlife, including a large variety of birds such as great blue herons, owls, red tail hawks, waterfowl and cormorants as well as a number of red foxes, mink and deer. Once fully developed, the project will restore the lake to a sustainable fish and wildlife habitat with improved water quality and storm water management.
Many ecologically-friendly and other storm water management features such as biowales were incorporated into the preserve to protect the environment and to provide control of water runoff. The parking lot will serve as a storm water detention basin underneath the parking lot surface, which was constructed of porous paving blocks. Water will run through the pavement into the rock filled detention basin below with any excess water flowing over the surface to the bioswale, a central depressed planted area that utilizes the excess rainwater. This method greatly reduces flooding and pollution of the Rouge River. The Carpenter Lake Nature Interpretive Center, slated for construction beginning in 2010, will also utilize “green,” sustainable architectural design and construction. The nature center will feature hands-on displays to educate the public about local flora and fauna and also provide other educational nature-based programs for the community, schools and other groups. The center will educate the public about environmentally-friendly lifestyle choices, from landscaping with native plants, to preventing fertilizer run-off, to how their home is constructed.
“The development of the preserve has provided both immediate and long-term results for wildlife habitat, aesthetics and lake ecology,” commented Parks & Recreation Director Bill Waterhouse. “Habitat improvements will continue to allow a place for plants and wildlife to thrive. The project has improved the Rouge River Watershed by increasing recreational opportunities, addressing storm water management issues and improving fishery and wildlife habitats.”
The preserve is open year-round from dawn to dusk and there are no entrance fees. Call the Southfield Parks & Recreation Department at (248) 796-4620 for more information.