Conservation Resource Alliance
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$3 Million Restoration Effort - Free Spanning the Maple River

September 12, 2014

Traverse City, MI - Tucked away near the tip of the mitt is a gem of a river that conservation partners are working hard to improve. The Maple River is a clear, coldwater trout stream that locals love, with good reason. But, like most northern rivers, historic logging, agricultural practices, and transportation development have left an impact over the last century. Conservation Resource Alliance, a nonprofit serving 15 northern Michigan counties, is leading restoration efforts and recently received a major boost with a $558,000 grant through Sustain Our Great Lakes, a program administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The Maple River has a number of degraded road/stream crossings. The story of how old road crossings can contribute to the decline of premier waterways is a familiar one. Undersized culverts create a barrier for fish and other aquatic species to swim upstream. Eroding roads and streambanks dump sand and other pollutants into the river smothering important habitat.

With several major crossing improvement projects completed and five more on the list over the next two years, Conservation Resource Alliance’s “Free Spanning the Maple” initiative is a watershed wide effort. The latest completed project involved a modern timber bridge over the river on Ely Bridge Road. Upcoming projects include addressing the largest obstacle on the Maple River, the Lake Kathleen Dam. The dam impounds the East and West Branch of the Maple River to form Lake Kathleen. Partners completed a feasibility study addressing options for the dam, impoundment and associated stream crossings. Clearing this hurdle will be a major step in restoring the watershed.

“The goal in this watershed is 100% connectivity. By opening up this habitat, the project provides a unique opportunity for native species, such as brook trout and walleye, to completely free span the Maple River resulting in unrestricted aquatic species passage to over 40 miles of stream, wetland restoration and restoration of aquatic habitats,” said Chris Pierce, the lead biologist on the project.

Restoration efforts received a major boost this month with funding through the Sustain Our Great Lakes program. Sustain Our Great Lakes is a public–private partnership that supports habitat restoration throughout the Great Lakes basin. The Sustain Our Great Lakes program has been a lead funding partner for Conservation Resource Alliance since 2009 with major grants to restore the North Branch Manistee, Manton Creek, Boardman, Betsie and Platte Rivers.

Major support for the Maple River initiative also comes from the Baiardi Family Foundation, Conservation Alliance, Harry A. & Margaret D. Towsley Foundation, Henry E. & Consuelo S. Wenger Foundation, Offield Family Foundation, Oleson Foundation, Pat & Gill Clements Foundation, Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Emmet County Road Commission.

Conservation Resource Alliance has facilitated river restoration projects for more than 45 years, tackling high-priority problems that threaten to degrade Michigan’s world-class waterways.

Contact: Amy Beyer or Matt Thomas
Conservation Resource Alliance
10850 Traverse Hwy, Suite 1180
Traverse City, MI 49684
(231) 946-6817
amy@rivercare.org or matt@rivercare.org   

Photo: A completed restoration project over the Maple River on Pleasantview Rd.


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Conservation Resource Alliance

Bayview Professional Centre
10850 Traverse Highway, Suite 1180
Traverse City, MI 49684
231-946-6817

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