The next improvement for the Ottaway (Boardman) River marks a transition in the watershed’s restoration. Located upstream from the Brown Bridge Quiet Area, an updated crossing at Broomhead Road will free access to critical, diverse habitats not seen lower in the watershed throughout 30 miles of the North Branch and tributaries upstream.

The Broomhead Road crossing has caused a host of issues for the Ottaway River’s North Branch for decades. With a single, corrugated metal pipe culvert at only 1/3 of the river’s natural width, it has fragmented the river’s habitat and forced the North Branch to adjust. The stream’s severe velocity is nearly double what brook trout can practically handle and creates a barrier to fish upstream. Meanwhile, eroding streambanks have caused excess sediment to degrade the river’s aquatic habitat.

Design plans are complete and the EGLE permit is in hand to replace the existing culvert at Broomhead Road with a channel-spanning timber bridge. The project will renew the natural function of the stream and restore full aquatic passage for species like brook trout, which are abundant in the Ottaway but rarely grow larger than 8 inches. The cause of this is unknown, however, it’s suggested that their inability to freely move about the watershed may limit their development. This project will free access to diverse stream habitats in the watershed’s upper reaches and allow fish to take cover amongst riparian vegetation and find cool water during summer heatwaves and winter cold snaps. For more information about this project, contact DJ Shook at