Restoring health and beauty to the Plaster Creek watershed involves restoring the relationship between its residents and the creek, as well as restoring the creek’s health with multiple forms of green infrastructure.

The Need for Restoration

The land around Plaster Creek has historically and presently been altered by many types of human development, including farming, logging, mining, manufacturing, housing, paving, and industrializing. Some of these types of development affect the creek directly, while others do so indirectly by changing how and where water flows into the creek. Stormwater from rainfall in developed areas often cannot soak into the ground where it falls, so it becomes runoff, picking up sediment, bacteria, oils, trash, and other pollutants as it flows, and enters waterways via storm drains. This is called nonpoint source pollution. The effects of pollution on our waterways include:

  • Increased flooding and erosion during storms due to high volumes of runoff
  • Contaminated surface runoff with sediment, bacteria, and nutrients
  • Increased water temperature due to runoff from hot surfaces and lack of shade from trees
  • Decreased biodiversity and habitat for native plants and animals

What is Green Stormwater Infrastructure?

Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) is a set of practices that work together to decrease the negative effects of our built environment on our natural ecosystem. GSI often uses plants, soils, and other natural resources to mimic nature and better manage stormwater to create healthier urban environments. Done on a small or large scale, GSI is beneficial for returning the creek to a healthier state and supporting our natural environment.

Implementing Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Plaster Creek Stewards works alongside community members to implement various GSI restoration strategies that restore not only the creek, but also the relationship between people and the earth. With this in mind, we invite community members to help grow native plants at the greenhouse, then join in envisioning, planning and restoring native landscapes in their communities.

Native plants 

Native plants are essential for filtering stormwater and supporting biodiversity. Their deep roots soak up lots of water and prevent erosion. Plants native to Michigan are hardy and well-adapted to its climate, in addition to providing homes and food for native pollinators and wildlife. 


Like native plants, native trees provide deep roots that take in water and help it seep into the ground. They also catch falling rain water, keep the creek cooler, provide shade for communities, and capture carbon from the atmosphere. 

Using native plants, Plaster Creek Stewards implements several different kinds of restoration projects that work in all areas of the watershed. These projects include rain gardens, bioswales, and floodplain restorations. While PCS mostly focuses on these projects, there are many other green projects(link) that can be implemented as well. 

Rain Gardens 

These bowl-shaped gardens are usually small-scale, and they are designed to collect stormwater runoff from surfaces like roads, roofs, and parking lots. Filled with native plants, these gardens filter out pollutants that flow into them.


Bioswales are large-scale rain gardens designed – often by engineers – for heavy-duty stormwater management. They typically have an overflow option to a storm drain and are used to collect stormwater from a large area like a parking lot.

Floodplain Restorations

Floodplain restorations are done next to waterways to stabilize eroded stream banks and create space for waterways to spread out and slow down, decreasing flooding and lowering the amount of sediment in the water. Native floodplain plants help to filter out pollutants and prevent erosion while providing rich habitat for native wildlife.

Restoring Relationships in Our Watershed

PCS believes that sustained restoration begins through repairing the relationship between humans and the earth. With this in mind, we strive to partner with local residents, schools, houses of worship, community groups, and other organizations to create diverse green spaces that help clean our water and harmonize human engagement with the natural world.

Among other things, Plaster Creek Stewards specializes in growing and using native plants to implement GSI projects throughout the Plaster Creek Watershed. With the help of volunteers and partners, we create spaces that benefit our creek, climate, and community. See our list of our past and current projects to learn more about how to get involved.