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Coldwater Revival on the Boardman

December 8, 2017
It’s been a big year for the Boardman River. For the first time in over 100 years, the river flowed through its historic channel under the new Cass Road bridge.
 
Anyone who witnessed this transformation got to see history being made – the wow factor was truly unparalleled. Beginning in June, 14 siphons began to draw down Keystone Pond. A detailed process in its own right, each siphon was hand-controlled to ensure the impoundment was drawn down properly. Once lowered sufficiently, the river was carefully woven first through a temporary channel and then to its final resting place where nature intended it to be.
 In the meantime, the former channel where the powerhouse stood went through a dramatic metamorphosis. The brick powerhouse was toppled and the area prepped for a two-lane roadway.
 
All the while, hundreds of tons of sediment were managed to prevent excessive downstream mobilization. Some of the largest wood structures we’ve ever seen were strategically placed to reduce erosion and provide instream habitat. With the Brown Bridge Dam removed and the Boardman Dam now gone, aquatic life again has the freedom to travel through that stretch, restoring this important coldwater fishery.
 
There’s been a tremendous amount of work on the river since 2005 when The Boardman: A River Reborn started. Big thanks again to the unbelievable community support for this landmark project and to the Great Lakes Fishery Trust and Michigan Department of Natural Resources who have recently committed to helping the team achieve removal of Sabin Dam through funding awarded to Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

We’re very excited about the overall impact of these dam removals and restoration efforts. Together, we are bringing light to places that haven’t seen it for over 120 years and rediscovering stretches of river that used to lie underneath ponds. We recognize how globally-rare these coldwater streams are and how essential it is to protect them. It’s detailed, it’s delicate and it’s important.
 
Stay tuned as the effort to remove Sabin Dam gets underway next year. Plans are also coming together through the Great Lakes Fishery Commission to modify Union Street Dam. 
 

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Conservation Resource Alliance

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

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