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Boardman River Restoration - What's Next?

October 24, 2013

Conservation Resource Alliance and the Boardman Dams Implementation Team (IT) recently celebrated the reopening and rebirth of 2.5 miles of the Boardman River as project partners, stakeholders and supporters gathered at the former Brown Bridge Dam site. The message was one of goodwill and collaboration as so many partners and community members deserve credit for the realization of this project. We were lucky enough to take a break and honor the great work that has been done and continue the momentum for what’s to come.

Next up is the removal of the Boardman Dam, replacement of the bridge at Cass Road and restoration of that stretch of river. The IT anticipates the engineering firm URS to head up engineering for this phase and is currently working through contract negotiations. In addition                                                         to engineering and design for the Boardman Dam removal and new Cass Road bridge, we expect URS will also complete survey work on Sabin Pond and help get ready for the dam removal at Sabin Dam. The Grand Traverse County Road Commission will also play a key role in this phase as the new Cass Road bridge is developed and installed. 2014 will bring a surge of data acquisition as crews collect on-the-ground information for designs. The major construction on Boardman Dam and Cass Road is expected to begin in 2015 – early work to excavate the channel may begin in late 2014.

Fundraising efforts are also in full swing. The cost of both the Boardman Dam and Sabin Dam                                             removal is estimated at $10 million with an additional $3 million for the Cass Road bridge construction. Grand Traverse County has a $3 million award from the Michigan Department of Transportation that will help fund the Cass Road bridge. The IT also has a solid foundation of funding from partners including the Bureau of Indian Affairs through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Frey Foundation, Michigan DNR – Dams Management Program and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service through the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act.

While we have our eye on the next phase, we are also carefully watching changes at Brown Bridge where the dam was removed last fall. The river has been closely monitored and we are happy to report the fishery is doing well – initial news shows a decrease in water temperature downstream of where Brown Bridge Dam once stood as well as brook and brown trout using the new habitat. Stay tuned for more details and be sure to check our website or the dedicated project site www.theboardman.org for the latest information.

Experience the area for yourself! By foot or by boat, the Boardman River offers a wonderful place to pass the hours exploring. The Grand Traverse Conservation District manages several parklands with many miles of riverside trails through marshes, forests and ponds. Be sure to visit the Brown Bridge Quiet Area and the Grand Traverse Natural Education Reserve. Details are available at www.natureiscalling.org.


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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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