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Drainage Ditch to be Restored into a Living River

September 7, 2021  |  Topics: Places

Story by Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network

Village of Mount Pleasant, Racine County, and Root-Pike WIN

to Begin Restoring Lamparek Creek in Wisconn Valley

Phase 1 of the “Wisconn Valley Pathway” will start the transformation of a drainage ditch into a living river.

Performing the ceremonial dig of the Lamparek Creek from left to right is DNR Basin Supervisor Benjamin Benninghoff, DNR Water Resources Management Specialist Jesse Bennett, Executive Director of Root-Pike WIN Dave Giordano, Chair of the Racine County Land and Water Conservation Committee Monte Osterman, Village of Mount Pleasant President David DeGroot, Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave, Root-Pike WIN Board Director Bill Sasse, and former Village of Mount Pleasant Board Member Sonny Havn

The Village of Mount PleasantRacine County, and Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network (WIN), broke ground today on the first phase of restoring the Lamparek Creek—a highly-impaired Lake Michigan tributary. The start of this new environmental corridor will begin just East of Foxconn’s “Area One” at County Highway H through “Area Three.”  This public corridor will ultimately connect to the restored North Branch of the Pike River. The first phase of the project will include floodplain restoration and wetland features.The project is being funded by the Department of Natural Resources through the Environmental Protection Agency’s 319-program.

This Pike River tributary will be renamed from “Lamparek Ditch” to “Lamparek Creek”
in honor of its restoration to a “Living River.”
View videos of the groundbreaking to hear from each of the partners!
View Videos Here
From left to right: Jesse Bennett, Benjamin Benninghoff, County Executive Jonathan Delagrave, Dave Giordano, and Village of Mount Pleasant President David DeGroot

The goals of this public-private partnership mirror the Environmental Protection Agency’s “triple benefits” in that the project will have substantial environmental, economic, and wellness upsides. Lamparek Creek is currently impaired because of excessive storm water pollutants including Phosphorus, Nitrogen, total suspended solids, E.coli, and road salt.


1) Reduce storm water runoff velocity

2) Decrease runoff pollutants

3) Increase habitat areas for native species

4) Create recreational paths that will ultimately connect to the Pike River Pathway

5) Inspire other municipalities to protect & restore the tributaries of Lake Michigan

The cost of Phase 1 is estimated to be $280,000. With the design complete, site work will begin in August with substantial completion expected this fall. Future phases will follow as grant funding is secured and the design integrates with expected development in Wisconn Valley’s “Area 3.”

“We are excited to begin this environmental corridor through the heart of Wisconn Valley. Our vision of creatively reducing storm water impacts while increasing recreational opportunities is becoming a reality.” – David DeGroot, Mount Pleasant’s Village President.

Drone photo of the Pike River North Branch Lamparek Creek looking northwest

The restoration of the Lamparek Ditch is recommended in the 2014 EPA/DNR-approved Pike River Watershed Restoration Plan. The Plan prescribed wider stream buffers and stream channel improvements to filter pollutants, reduce storm water impacts, and provide rich habitats for diverse native wildlife. When the corridor is complete, the restored areas will also provide aesthetic, functional, and recreational upsides that can improve the value of the adjacent developments and experiences. Combined, these improvements will create a corridor where people can walk, run, bike, fish, and invest in.

“This is a unique partnership that seeks “win-win”bringing value to residents economically and environmentally. When we announced this partnership last year, we said it would strengthen the environmental integrity of the area and lead to new opportunities for our residents. Today, we embark on that promise.” – Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave

Developments along the corridor will benefit as the restored areas will have public access for employees and residents alike. Restored environmental corridors have been shown to increase land values and provide additional wellness opportunities that become recruitment tools for employers and developers.
“The Lamparek Creek restoration is another example of how the Pike River Plan of 2013 continues to provide guidance and add value to our restoration strategy. Phase 1 takes recommendations from the Plan and substantiates the project’s importance to funding partners like the Department of Natural Resources.” – Dave Giordano, Executive Director of Root-Pike WIN        

Preprinted with permission from Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network. Images courtesy Root-Pike WIN.