Conservation Resource Alliance
Call 231-946-6817


Stephens Road Bridge Project

January 18, 2005

Improvements at the Stephens Road bridge crossing of the Big Sable River in Free Soil Township were recently completed by the Mason County Road Commission with the help of an $88,900 grant from the Great Lakes Commission. The local project was a cooperative effort between the Mason-Lake Conservation District, Conservation Resource Alliance (CRA), Mason County Road Commission, Free Soil Township and the Big Sable Watershed Restoration Committee. The Mason County Road Commission and Free Soil Township provided over $66,000 in matching funds necessary to complete the $155,000 project, which included paving and curbing of the long, sandy approaches and construction of diversion outlets. The curbing and diversion outlets properly manage road run-off thereby eliminating sedimentation into the river at this crossing. Excessive sedimentation has been shown to decrease the aquatic habitat value in the Big Sable by covering gravel beds and instream substrate critical to fish and aquatic insects.

In 2000, the Conservation Resource Alliance completed an inventory of road/stream crossings in the Big Sable River Watershed. A total of 48 sites are identified in the inventory including 6 severe, 37 moderate and 5 minor road/stream crossings. The total cost of all site improvements was estimated at $1.6 million dollars. Stephens Road was one of the severely eroding sites. A site showing will be held on Tuesday, November 9, 2004 at 10:00 am at the Stephens Road crossing to look at the improvements made by the Mason County Road Commission. Representatives from all the local partners will be in attendance. The Stephens Road crossing is approximately 1 mile north off of Free Soil Road on Stephens Road near the town of Free Soil.

The Great Lakes Commission promotes erosion and sediment control and sound land-use practices through its Great Lakes Basin Program. In 2004, the organization funded over $1.9 million in localized efforts to improve water quality. The program funding for the grants are provided through a cooperative agreement between the Great Lakes Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service. The Great Lakes Commission, based in Ann Arbor, is a bi-national agency established to promote the orderly, integrated and comprehensive development, use and conservation of the water resources of the Great Lakes basin. Its members include the eight Great Lake states, with associate member status for the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

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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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