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Plaster Creek Stewards

A collaboration of Calvin College faculty, staff, and students working with local partners to restore Plaster Creek watershed.

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Education and outreach

Raising community awareness about the watershed through workshops, seminars, presentations, and volunteer workdays.

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Monitoring stream health through a research methods class, part of the Biology curriculum.

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Implementing on-the-ground habitat restoration throughout the watershed

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Plaster Creek Stewards

Working to restore health and beauty to the Plaster Creek Watershed

Upcoming Fall Event

Connecting Urban Neighborhoods with their Creeks

Join us for a Plaster Creek Stewards' presentation on urban rain gardens. We will look at these important connections between healthy neighborhoods and healthy urban creeks. Next, we will share our research regarding which plants survive and thrive best in these curb-cut rain gardens. After this presentation we will head out to take action for watershed restoration by planting more curb cut rain gardens with native plants in the Oakdale and Alger Heights neighborhoods.

October 15, 2016
Calvin College, CFAC Recital Hall

*Don't forget to dress for the weather and bring your favorite pair of gloves and trowel if you have one (otherwise we have favorites we can share). 
*Also, let us know if you want to carpool with us to the garden sites when you RSVP!

Please let us know if you are able to come, we want to be sure to have plenty of scones and morning refreshments: RSVP

Dutton Shadyside Park Streambank Restoration Project

Permit Hearing
July 12, 5:30pm Public comment 6:00pm Hearing
Location TBA

Plaster Creek Stewards (Calvin College), MDEQ and Kent County Parks are conducting a major restoration project to improve the stream environment here at Dutton Shadyside Park. The work will stabilize Plaster Creek's banks and create a safe and sutstainable floodplain around the creek with native wetland plants.

Floodplains are low lying areas that absorb stormwater, slowing it down and preventing erosion while creating habitat for aquatic creatures. Native plants play an important role by stabilizing banks and absorbing excess nutrients, while providing food and shelter for pollinators.

Plaster Creek water levels rise and fall rapidly in Shadyside Park following thaws or heavy rainfalls. This "flashy" flow erodes the banks and sends loads of sediment downstream in the water. This creates unhealthy conditions in the park and downstream.

The area around Plaster Creek in the park will be significantly disrupted while construction is taking place, with exposed soils and heavy machinery. As soon as the work is done, we will seed and plant the affected areas to start the process of re-vegetating with native grasses, wildflowers and trees. It may take a few growing seasons to recover, but the end result will be a beautiful floodplain benefiting wildlife and improving the scenic quality as well as the safety of the park.

This project has been funded wholly or in part through Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Non-point Source Program by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Partners for this project include: Plaster Creek Stewards (Calvin College), EPA, MDEQ and Kent County Parks.

Curb-Cut Rain Gardens for Plaster Creek.

These gardens are vital to restoring the health of Plaster Creek by catching rainwater off the road that would otherwise run into the stream with warm, oftentimes polluted, water. The Michigan native plants we use in these gardens are adapted to absorb and filter this stormwater with their deep roots and increase local biodiversity by attracting pollinators.

We are expanding this effort to the Oakdale neighborhood and are looking for willing homeowners in Oakdale and Alger Heights to have a rain garden in their parkway and agree to maintain it after a few years of support from Plaster Creek Stewards. If you are interested in one of these native gardens please email us at and include your...
1. Name
2. Address
3. Phone
4. Length and width in feet of the parkway within your property line.
5. If there are any "obstacles" present in your parkway (tree, Fire hydrant, underground sprinklers utility pole etc...)

We look forward to hearing from you!


New Rain Garden Maintenance Guide.

This guide is used to help homeowners maintain their new curb-cut raingardens through our current grants, but there is useful information in here for any native gardener. Also, feel free to join our Facebook Group: Rain Garden Maintenance to post questions and learn about caring for your native landscaped rain garden.




Read our Newsletter!Fall 2011 Newsletter


Love thy Downstream Neighbor: From Plaster Creek to the St. Lawrence River

Our fall event was Saturday, September 22 10:00am-12:30pm at the Bunker Interpretive Center.

View photos from the project or check out images from the presentation here, and view news coverage here.



Upcoming Events