Conservation Resource Alliance
Call 231-946-6817


Reconnecting the North Branch of the Platte River

February 26, 2019


It’s no surprise that the Platte River is one of Michigan’s most beloved streams - it is a high quality, spring-fed river that supports popular fisheries, and offers a delightful float to paddlers of varying abilities. In its lower reaches, the Platte leisurely meanders through the breathtaking, sandy shoreline of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, while the upper section is shallow, swift and serene.
 
The river is relatively small, making it environmentally sensitive. Sediments, nutrients, temperature and altered hydrology are top concerns, and the Platte River Watershed Management Plan highlights the importance of restoring headwaters areas and the native brook trout habitats and populations. Seven of the watershed’s total 90.5 stream miles flow from its largest tributary, the North Branch. This section of river is known for its cold temperatures and heavily forested, publicly owned corridor. The North Branch offers exceptional habitat to a variety of wildlife, including brook, brown, rainbow trout and coho salmon, and 19 species of aquatic insects.
 
Unfortunately, poorly constructed road stream crossings have left the river fragmented and threaten its delicate ecosystem. Historically, these crossings were built to simply transfer water from one side of the road to the other, without consideration for the stream’s health and fish passage. As a result, the aging boilerplate metal culverts are blocking fish passage, causing erosion and altering natural stream flows.
 

 


 
 



Close-up of the former boilerplate metal pipe at Hooker Road. This type of culvert is outdated, undersized and blocked aquatic organism passage.
 
 

 






 

 


New timber bridge at Hooker Road looking downstream.
 

However, we can restore and preserve the river’s high quality habitat for years to come through applying practical conservation techniques. Conservation Resource Alliance and partners are embarking on an effort to restore 6 problematic sites on the North Branch of the Platte River. We began last fall by replacing a failing culvert at Hooker Road with a free span timber bridge. The new structure accommodates the natural stream channel and allows the natural movement of water, substrate, fallen trees and leaves, fish, aquatic insects and wildlife.

Construction on Skinner Road and Dymond Road is expected to begin in summer of 2019, so stay tuned for additional updates. To find out more, contact CRA Project Manager, Kimberly Balke at kim@rivercare.org.















Undersized culvert blocking fish passage at Skinner Road.
















Culverts causing sediment build-up at Dymond Road.

 

Special thanks to the following contributors:

Freshwater Futures – Healing Our Waters Program
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) & Grand Traverse Band – Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
Benzie County Road Commission
Great Lakes Fishery Trust
Michigan Department of Natural Resources – Aquatic Habitat Grant
US Fish & Wildlife Service – Fish Passage Program, Great Lakes Fish & Wildlife Restoration Act
Conservation Resource Alliance – River Care Program – Supported by DTE Energy Foundation

CRA is currently raising funds to support replacing the additional 3 road crossings in the Platte River Watershed, and we can use your help! Follow the link below to make a contribution today.

Donate


Archives
2019
May (1)
June (1)
July (1)
2018
May (1)
2017
May (3)
June (2)
July (1)
2016
May (2)
June (2)
July (1)
2015
May (2)
June (1)
2014
May (3)
June (5)
July (5)
2013
May (1)
July (4)
2012
May (2)
2011
May (1)
June (4)
2010
June (2)
2009
May (3)
June (1)
2008
May (1)
June (1)
July (3)
2007
May (5)
July (3)
2006
June (2)
July (3)
2005
June (1)
July (5)
2004
May (2)
June (1)
2003
May (8)
June (4)
July (3)
2002
May (4)
June (2)
July (3)
2001
1999
June (1)

Become a CRA Member

Our partners and supporters, like you, are what really make a difference. Your support of our organization and projects are what make the biggest impact. We appreciate your investment. Together, we do great work. 

E-Newsletter Sign-up

Sign up for our e-newsletter to keep current with news and other happenings at CRA!

Conservation Resource Alliance

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

SIGN UP