More than 100 acres of prairie, forest and degraded stream buffer in Mount Pleasant is set for restoration thanks to a unique collaboration with Microsoft and Kenosha’s Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network (WIN).
The project, funded by Microsoft, is set to begin next year. It includes re-meandering Lamparek Creek, which flows into the North Branch of the Pike River and throughout Kenosha.
The waterway enters Petrifying Springs and runs downstream through Carthage College before emptying into Lake Michigan at Pennoyer Park.
Lamparek Creek is located on the site of Microsoft’s proposed data center development in Mount Pleasant.
“Restoring Lamparek Creek and implementing the Pike River Restoration Plan are important goals for the community, and we are thankful for Microsoft’s support of this work,” said Dave Giordano, Root-Pike WIN Executive Director.
“From the first meeting, Microsoft’s development team has been behind the idea of helping us transform this dirty ditch into a clean creek. With funds committed to the Lamparek, Microsoft is helping us move beyond the status quo and investing in the long-term sustainability and protection of this resource and the community.”
The restoration of Lamparek Creek is recommended in the 2014 EPA/DNR-approved Pike River Watershed Restoration Plan.
The project will transform approximately 1.5 miles of severely degraded stream buffers into high-quality riparian areas. These buffers and wetland areas will filter runoff pollutants, reduce stormwater volume and velocity, provide rich habitats for diverse wildlife, and enhance water quality in the Pike River watershed.
The restored areas will also provide aesthetic, functional, and recreational upsides — including a potential public multi-use trail.
“Microsoft is inspired by the work and the team at Root-Pike WIN,” said Paul Englis, Microsoft Datacenter Community Affairs Manager. “It is a privilege to support this restoration project, which we hope will provide the community and future generations with an improved ecological habitat and recreation area in a restored Pike River Watershed.”
Racine County and the Village of Mount Pleasant will also be involved in the planning and implementation of the project.
In 2020, Root-Pike WIN and the Village of Mount Pleasant began restoring a small nine-acre wetland near Lamparek Creek just East of County Road H and North of County Road KR with funding from the Department of Natural Resources. The scale of this collaboration will address and restore Lamparek Creek from County Road H to 90th Street.
“We are very pleased to see Microsoft partner with Root-Pike WIN to bring about change for Lamparek Creek,” said Dave DeGroot, Mount Pleasant’s Village President. “We have the unique opportunity to transform a degraded agricultural ditch into a publicly accessible environmental corridor. Microsoft is demonstrating already that they want to be part of this community — the Root-Pike WIN partnership is another step in that direction.”