If Joni Mitchell meant for her song “Big Yellow Taxi” to be a statement about parking lots being a blight on paradise, we have reason to believe she would approve of General Motors’ Drayton Warehouse turning a parking lot into a pond.
By transforming an unused area into a 35-acre wildlife habitat, complete with rolling hills, GM is helping sustain the deer herd, expand the bird population and increase flora diversity on its grounds. It solved a watershed challenge while simultaneously benefiting wildlife at its Waterford, Mich. warehouse facility.
In the video above, GM Biodiversity Program Manager Susan Kelsey discusses the process.
This initiative enabled GM to increase storm water detention so an area drainage system flowed in a Southerly direction, providing zero backflow into a nearby residential lake. In addition to adding a check valve on an inlet pipeline from the lake to GM’s property, it volunteered to construct a new wetland to serve as a detention area, minimizing storm water impacts on an adjacent subdivision.
Here are a few of the project’s features and benefits:
- 5.5 acre pond surrounded by native grasses
- Safe, clean habitat for migratory birds frequenting the area in the summer
- Food, shelter and open space for the now-increasing deer population
- Planned construction of a viewing station for school children to see a variety of species on the property including frogs, sand hill cranes, snapping turtles, and wood ducks
GM collaborated with several partners throughout the project. It invited neighbors from the Rainbow Lake Association, the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s office, the Waterford Township Engineering Department, and the Clinton River Watershed Council to see what happens at the site on a day-to-day basis and review construction plans.
“Waterford Township is pleased that General Motors invested the time, effort and money necessary to construct this large new wetland area in a location formerly used to park trucks,” said Doug Bradley, building and engineering director for Waterford Township. “We believe this project enhances the quality of life for residents by providing an area for the naturally occurring wildlife to flourish.”
GM strives to increase native biodiversity at its facilities; it has more than 1,000 acres dedicated to wildlife habitats throughout its operations around the world.