Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve

Southfield, Michigan

The Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve offers a beautiful 42-acre natural setting of mature forests overlooking Carpenter Lake, Southfield’s only public lake, on the Ravines Branch of the Rouge River. Park and lake improvements are part of a $3.5 million project supported by additional grant funds through the trust fund and the Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project. The replacement of a dam and the dredging of Carpenter Lake for fish and wildlife habitat was completed in 2006 with assistance from the Johnson Hill Land Ethics Studio. This new habitat provided improved spawning areas and shoreline ledges for new wetlands.

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The JHLE Studio was then hired to prepare a master plan and construction documents, and to oversee construction for the initial phase of improvements at the Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve. Included were nature trails, boardwalks, interpretive signage, and fishing platforms. Support facilities such as parking, trailhead improvements, and access controls, were also included in the design. Sustainability was a very important component of the design. Features such as pervious pavements and bioswales were included to control stormwater runoff. Native plantings and prairie grasses were used to provide habitat and reduce long- term maintenance needs. In addition, bridges and overlooks along trails were constructed with recycled decking material. Rain gardens were also planned around a future nature center.