Growing out of the benefits and success of using Plaster Creek as a living laboratory for Biology classes, we have expanded that lab to other departments including Chemistry, Engineering, and Geology, Geography, and Earth Sciences.
Several groups of freshman have directed their service project towards Plaster Creek Stewards, designing ways to improve seed processing and stream data collection for Plaster Creek Stewards. Most years, we have a senior design team who spends the entire year working to solve a watershed problem. One team took a detailed look at a nearby church property to see if they could find ways to infiltrate all of the stormwater runoff from the property and thus eliminate the erosion caused by this site downstream. Geography students have learned how to survey and understand soil layers at some of the Plaster Creek project sites, providing useful data for future work or even senior design teams.
Senior design research projects
The Infiltrators—Christ Church property design for storm water neutrality
Megan Daubenmier, Elvin Vindel, Peter Wagenmaker, Steven Johnson
Considering limited access to and scarcity of clean water in the world today, it is no surprise that our team of four Civil/Environmental Engineers chose a project that will help to conserve fresh water by restoring an impaired waterway.
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The Par-fect Stream: Indian Creek Restoration at Indian Trails Golf Course
Joe Jackson, Ben Vandyk, Heidi Boeve, Kyle VanDeWeert
Indian Creek, a tributary to Plaster Creek flows through Indian Trails Golf Course. During rainfall events, the 1000 acre watershed, consisting of mostly impervious surfaces collects rainfall and sends it into Indian Creek.
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Ongoing student research projects
Evaluating Green Infrastructure Effectiveness
Engineering students spend several summers field-testing the question of how much stormwater runoff is actually entering the curb cut rain gardens in the Plaster Creek watershed? The information gathered during this research led to a better understanding of the performance of these rain gardens which allows for better planning and management within the watershed.
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Curb Cut Rain Gardens in Terms of Storage Volume and Sediment Removal
Lorena De Almeida, Professor Julie Wildschut, Calvin College
Runoff Volume Reduction from SubBasins in Plaster Creek Watershed, Kent County, MI
Professor Julie Wildschut, Engineering
Dena De Kryger, Biology
Hydrologic Modeling of the Effects of Stormwater Runoff in Plaster Creek Watershed
Ryan DeGroot, Professor Julie Wildschut and Professor Robert Hoeksema, Calvin College