Mona Lake Celery Flats Reconnection Monitoring


Two former celery fields upstream of Mona Lake in Muskegon County, MI, which are not currently farmed and have become flooded ponds, were recently targeted for environmental restoration by Muskegon County Water Resources Commissioner Brenda Moore. The ponds are located adjacent to Black Creek and are separated from the creek by an earthen berm. Restoration at this site would involve the removal of the earthen berm to hydrologically reconnect the ponds to the Mona Lake watershed and create a flow-through marsh with the goals of improving both fish habitat and water quality.

Project Summary

The Ruetz and Steinman Labs at AWRI will conduct a pre- and post-restoration monitoring study of the ponds beginning in 2023. Fish populations will be assessed with fyke nets in different vegetation zones as well as backpack electroshockers. Pond water quality will be assessed with a focus on phosphorus. Previous studies in these ponds have shown these sediments have high concentrations of phosphorus ranging  ~350 to 400 µg/L in the north pond and from ~740 to 835 µg/L in the south pond, compared to Black Creek inflow concentrations of ~20-35 µg/L. Furthermore, pond sediments were found to serve as a source of phosphorus to the water column. Given Mona Lake's history of algal blooms and recent improvements in water quality, restoration efforts to improve fish habitat must avoid backsliding that could impair downstream water quality. Thus, total phosphorus and soluble reactive phosphorus will be monitored in sediments and the water column at sites distributed through both ponds and these data will be compared to data collected in 2009-2010 to assess changes in water quality over the past decade and serve as a baseline for restoration activities. Additional sampling will monitor PCB and mercury as special contaminants of concern from historic discharges from Sun Chemical farther upstream along Bear Creek.


Al Steinman, Project Manager: [email protected]
Mike Hassett, Lead Technician: [email protected]

Page last modified April 4, 2023