Conservation Resource Alliance
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Tag: Boardman River
We're Building Stronger Roots
Even as the world faces a global health crisis, one thing is for certain – Michiganders care about saving Mother Earth. This dedication was on full display at CRA’s Wild Roots seedling distribution, where approximately 50 participants helped to plant more than 20,000 trees and shrubs across the state.
Wrapping Up 2018 with the Return of a River
The Boardman River, originally known as the Ottaway River, is meandering over land once again with the removal of Sabin Dam. The channel was set in its final alignment on December 12 and is now flowing freely where the powerhouse once stood.
Boardman River Log Jam Installation Photo Sequence

The Pine River - Silver Creek Fish Cover project is similar to a project we completed on the Boardman River in 2018. Check out this photo sequence from the Boardman River Log Jam Installation here.

Sabin Dam Removal Update

Sabin powerhouse comes down on September 25, 2018. Sabin dam was built and re-built in the years 1906, 1914 and 1930.  With the removal of the powerhouse a milestone is met and the river is that much closer to being returned to a free-flowing stream.

The Boardman: A River Reborn - New Year Update
The snow has kept life relatively quiet on the Boardman River as partners prepare for what’s coming next in what’s sure to be another big year for The Boardman: A River Reborn. We have a lot of fantastic partners to thank in an undertaking of this size including the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for their stalwart dedication to restoring the river.
Coldwater Revival on the Boardman
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.
Dam Management Grant Program Supports Sabin Dam Removal

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources awarded a $75,000 grant through the Dam Management Grant Program to Conservation Resource Alliance. This award was part of $3.35M awarded through this program in 2017 to help remove obsolete structures or repair functioning dams resulting in improved fisheries, aquatic resources and public safety.
How is a river reborn?
How is a river reborn? Well, one scoop of dirt at a time. Today, all that scooping added up. Just after dawn, the Boardman River flowed through a section of its historic channel for the first time since 1896. Big thanks to the Michigan DNR, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians, Grand Traverse Conservation District, AECOM, Michels and volunteers from the Adams Chapter of Trout Unlimited for spending the morning relocating fish that remained in the former channel.
The Boardman: A River Reborn Rallies Support
Traverse City, MI – Partners are rallying support for a very big two years on the Boardman River including the removal of Boardman Dam this year and the removal of Sabin Dam in 2018. Rotary Charities of Traverse City is leading efforts to engage private investments for Sabin Dam removal through foundation grants, private donations and other non- public sources. As a result, partners are pleased to share the announcement of two new major grants to support the removal of Sabin Dam, the third dam targeted in The Boardman: A River Reborn.
Turn Over a New Leaf
It’s amazing what you’ll find out there. Just ask David Mifsud or “Turtle Dave” who spent a week on the Boardman River doing a herpetological survey.

“We found some great stuff out there including a juvenile milk snake. It’s been dry which means our crew has to work a little harder but we got a great start,” he noted.

Reptiles and amphibians are very sensitive to environmental changes; they tell you a lot about what’s happening in the environment around them.
Some Like it Cold – Conserving Coldwater Habitat

From the big open water of our Great Lakes to the secluded creeks of our headwaters, we are lucky to have a vast array of freshwater habitats. Some fish like bass, whitefish and pike thrive in our big lakes. Others like our brook trout depend on our coldwater streams. Keeping these habitats in balance is critical for a diverse fishery.

The Big Three of 2015

This year, we have three multi-year initiatives in the spotlight with The Boardman: A River Reborn, Free Spanning the Maple River and the Jordan River Chestonia Bridge. These projects include a significant amount of fundraising, genuine partner collaboration and determination on the part of our staff and board to see them through. We are eager to see the next phases unfold on these remarkable journeys to free our waters.

Biological Surveys of Northwest Lower Peninsula Streams Now Available

Biological and physical habitat conditions of northwest Lower Peninsula streams in Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau Counties were assessed by Michigan DEQ Surface Water Assessment Section staff.

Off the Beaten Path

A sizable portion of CRA’s work takes place on road’s less travelled. Our goal on these roads is keeping our rivers and streams flowing underneath them. We recently completed a small timber bridge on Bancroft Creek, a tributary to the Boardman River. Located on private land, this project is a great example of how to make land management decisions that benefit both the landowner and environment.

The Boardman: A River Reborn Fall Update

Work to restore the Boardman River is rounding the next bend as the phase to remove Boardman Dam comes into focus. CRA and the many partners that keep this project moving forward are pleased to report several important milestones and exciting plans ahead.

DamNation Hitting Theaters Near You

CRA would like to share two special opportunities to view an exceptional film. DamNation is a powerful film exploring the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers.

Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access. The film’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature.

Sustain Our Great Lakes Awards $1.5M in Grant Funding to Boardman River Dams & Restoration Project
By Chuck Lombardo, CML Marketing Communications,, 231-922-6782

Traverse City, MI – The Conservation Resource Alliance has been awarded $1.5 million in grant funding from Sustain Our Great Lakes (SOGL) for the Boardman River Dams Restoration Project. Funds will be used for ongoing dam removal and restoration work on the Boardman River, including the removal of Boardman and Sabin Dams and modification of Union Street Dam.

Sustain Our Great Lakes Program Announces $12 Million in Grants for Great Lakes Restoration
By Todd Hogrefe, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation 612-564-7286 or 612-716-4089

Grand Rapids, MI–Today, Sustain Our Great Lakes partners announced 31 projects selected by the program to receive nearly $12 million in grant funding for ecological restoration in the Great Lakes basin. With a focus on improving the quality and connectivity of stream, wetland and coastal habitats, this investment will help protect, restore and enhance the ecological integrity of the Great Lakes and surrounding region. Grant recipients will match the new grant funding with an additional $11 million, for a total on-the-ground impact of $23 million.

The Boardman: A River Reborn Summer Update

Over 80 people attended an informational open house to discuss the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Feasibility Study and Environmental Assessment. These documents address the need for and desirability of the coldwater restoration project.

Boardman River Dams & Restoration Project Named to National List of Fish Conservation Projects
By Chuck Lombardo,CML Marketing Communications,, (231) 922-6782      

2014 “Waters to Watch” Provide Eye to the Future of Fish Conservation

Traverse City, MI  – The National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP) has included the Boardman River Dams & Restoration Project (BRDRP) on its 2014 list of rivers, streams, estuaries, lakes and watershed systems that will benefit from strategic conservation efforts to protect, restore or enhance their current condition.  The BRDRP is one of only ten projects across the nation named to the 2014 list.

Michigan DNR Draft Boardman River Assessment Released

The Michigan DNR released a draft Boardman River Assessment for review. Public comments are due by Friday, May 16. River assessments are intended to provide a comprehensive reference for individuals who seek information about a river system.

The Boardman: A River Reborn Phase II in Motion

It’s not just the water above the former Brown Bridge Dam that’s moving – the Implementation Team, the collaborative group of partners providing project oversight, is diving into phase II of the project. Efforts are currently focused on Boardman Dam and the adjoining Cass Road Bridge.

Update on Boardman River Project
By Morgan Sherburne, Michigan Trout Unlimted

Through a wide field south of Traverse City flows a horseshoe of the Boardman River. The river cuts through new, raw-looking hills of glacial till — soft sand and pebbles. Stumps of old trees sit along the river, and in a field that the horseshoe hugs is planted native, stabilizing grass. Cross the river and scale the hill and you can see two tall hills, through which is a wide, flat flood plain covered in native plants. This is the site of the Brown Bridge Dam, which stood until the fall of 2012. Its removal was completed in May 2013, and cost a total of $4.2 million.

Boardman River Restoration - What's Next?

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. Next up is the removal of the Boardman Dam, replacement of the bridge at Cass Road and restoration of that stretch of river. 

Brown Bridge Dam - GONE!

The Conservation Resource Alliance, acting as contracted Project Manager, has led the Boardman Dams Implementation Team (IT) through the complex process of removing Brown Bridge Dam on the Boardman River. Brown Bridge Dam was the first of three historic hydro-electric dams on this Blue Ribbon designated trout stream slated for removal. This massive community driven project was set in motion nearly a decade ago. The project is on schedule and within budget as compared to anticipated outcomes. 

Michigan Water Ways Upgrade For Better Fish Migration
By Jacob Johnson, 9&10 News

A Northern Michigan water way will get an upgrade to help allow fish to swim up and down streams and rivers. A $20,000 federal grant will help replace a culvert on the Bancroft Creek near Kingsley, which flows into the Boardman River. $645,000 is being awarded to Michigan and other Great Lakes states to remove structures that are stopping the fish.

The Boardman River is Re-Opened and Re-Born
By 9&10 News

Today supporters of  the Boardman River Restoration Project celebrated new beginnings at the site of the old dam.

The Boardman River Restoration Project aims to remove a series of three dams so the river can go back to the way it looked before the dams were put in over 90 years ago.

Ecologists say that since the dams removal, a process that started last fall, it's already evident how much stronger vegetation and fish populations are growing in their new free flowing habitat.

Permit Applications Submitted for Interim Drawdown of Brown Bridge & Sabin Dam Impoundments

Brown Bridge Dam is the first of three dams that will be removed on the Boardman River. Drawdown at Brown Bridge is expected to begin after the receipt of the interim drawdown permit by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). Pending permit approval, drawdown at Brown Bridge Pond could begin in late summer or fall 2011. MDEQ has 90 days to respond to the permit application. Any citizen may request a public hearing on the permit application prior to MDEQ approval. Deconstruction of Brown Bridge Dam is scheduled to begin in 2012.

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Conservation Resource Alliance

Bayview Professional Centre
10850 Traverse Highway, Suite 1180
Traverse City, MI 49684