City Storm Drain Education_Page_1


The City of Marquette includes four major watersheds that naturally drain to Lake Superior (Dead River, Whetstone Brook, Orianna Creek, and the Carp River).  But did you know that underneath the City there is a system of stormwater pipes that also drain directly to Lake Superior?  See map above.  Each time it rains (or snow melts) water from roads, roofs, sidewalks, and yards enters the nearest storm drain and makes its way to an outlet at the shore of Lake Superior.

lakeview storm drain


Following several years of beach monitoring in the City of Marquette, the SWP detected high levels of e. coli on the “dog beach” located just northeast of Lakeview Arena along Lakeshore Blvd.  Contributing to this problem was the storm drain outfall onto that beach and located to the northeast of Lakeview.  By incorporating a combination of green management practices, including increasing the riparian buffer, planting native wetland species, and reducing the use of pesticides, outcomes include increased water quality and a safer beach.

Rain barrels are an easy and inexpensive way to catch storm water run off from roof tops.  With funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the SWP offered rain barrels at a reduced cost for Marquette residents.



The Carp River Watershed in Marquette County and the issue of mercury.  This report outlines the issue.


Coastal Wetland Restoration

The SWP partnered with the City of Marquette to develop the Coastal Wetland Restoration Plan as an off-site wetland mitigation location for Marquette’s extension of McClleland Avenue.

Pictured below is the final wetland restoration at Presque Isle.

pi wetland



Resources for Learning

Build Your Own Rain Garden

1.  Determine location.

2.  Determine soil type.

3.  Determine the size of rain garden needed to handle your stormwater.
4.  Determine the number of plants needed for your rain garden. 
5.  Choose appropriate plants; plants in the low spot of the rain garden need to be able to tolerate wet soil conditions with standing water and periods of dryness, plants on the sloped edge of a typically designed rain garden usually have a medium tolerance to water, and plants on the edges are for dry soil conditions.  Native plants are also the best choice for the raingarden because the roots are deeper, allowing for better drainage of water and they also require less care because they are appropriate for weather conditions in your area.  Most have long tap roots that are able to acquire their own water so that once the plants are established watering isn’t necessary.
6. Order plants as soon as possible.  Native plants are not always in stock so ordering them several months before you need them is ideal because the nurseries have time to grow exactly what you want.  Order at least 4 weeks before you need them  but the sooner the better so you get the plants you really need.  Many of the plant suppliers are not local so delivery time needs to be considered.
7.  Order seed if appropriate.  Many people planting rain gardens do a combination of plugs and seed mix to be most cost effective and ensure success.  A native rain garden seed mix (sunny or shady) can fill in areas where your chosen plants may not thrive for one reason or another.  You could also choose to order specific seeds of only the plants you chose to plant from a supplier as well.  Not everyone uses seed along with plants when designing their rain garden.  Some choose to use only seed mix and no plants as it is a cheaper option.  It does take longer to get established from seed only.
8.  Excavate.
9.  Soil amendment (compost).  You may want to amend your soil, adding additional nutrients to give your plants an extra boost to get established.
10.  Mulch with 2 inches of double shredded bark; a natural, undied bark is preferable. 
11.  Maintenance.  Weeding may be necessary the first few years and once plants become established some may need to be thinned.