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Upper Manistee Protection & Restoration Project

May 23, 2012

 

The North Branch of the Manistee River is a cold, groundwater-fed tributary to the Manistee River and is a state designated Natural River with a naturally reproducing population of brook trout. The riparian corridor surrounding this river functions as an important regional wildlife corridor and is buffered by thousands of acres of state owned land.

These ecological hot spots are threatened and degraded by impacts at the Mecum Road crossing of the North Branch and the abandoned Flowing Well Trout Farm, a 1720-acre property acquired by the State of Michigan. Through this project, CRA coordinated the replacement of the existing Mecum Road crossing with a new Timber Bridge structure and continues to restore the Flowing Well Trout Farm for fish passage and habitat improvement.

Summary of Accomplishments through May 2012

All major fieldwork has been completed including the installation of the timber bridge at Mecum Road (below right), dam removals/bypass at the Flowing Well property, and construction of the snake hibernation chamber. Additional field work for the 2012 field season has been planned, bid out to contractors and is currently being implemented or awaiting permitting. This includes habitat improvement work on priority private lands in the Upper Manistee watershed.

Project Activities & Outcomes

Flowing Well Property

  • Subcontractor conducted a second season of reptile, amphibian, and macroinvertebrate monitoring
  • Two volunteer workdays were conducted to clear debris from the N. Branch of the Manistee with project partners including U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Michigan DNR and Trout Unlimited
  • Cleared both Flowing Well Creek and the North Branch of the Manistee River of excess woody debris and blockages including 7 large beaver dams
  • Removed an earthen berm and a buried culvert on Flowing Well Creek using CRA staff and a locally hired work crew - water is now flowing in its natural banks
  • Performed gradual drawdowns by removing boards at dams #3, #7, and #8 - all boards have now been removed.
  • Removed dams #1, #3, #4, #7, #8, #9, #10
  • Bypassed, blocked, and removed concrete from dams #2, #6, and #11 and bypassed and blocked dam #5
  • Filled in raceways
  • Installed reptile hibernation chamber
  • Installed silt fence and planted native cool season grasses and dam removal sites

Mecum Road/Stream Crossing

  • Selected contractors for construction and materials after two separate bid processes
  • Timber bridge material purchased for Mecum Road bridge
  • Timber bridge construction for Mecum Road bridge completed Dec 2011
  • Final grading, paving and approach work complete

Outcomes

The primary outcomes in the last year of grant work has been opening up 31 miles of river to fish passage and natural sediment transport while restoring two river channels to their natural banks. This was achieved by completing the following:

  • Removing or bypassing 12 dams
  • Replacing 5 undersized culverts with 1 timber bridge
  • One large reptile hibernation chamber was constructed using debris from the dam removals
  • Reptile, amphibian, and macroinvertebrate survey work was completed on 200 acres of restored riparian habitat including the observation of a mature male wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) immediately downstream of the restored section of the North Branch of the Manistee river

Construction and excavation work came in under budget. CRA will coordinate additional habitat improvement projects at the Flowing Well site and at priority private lands in the Upper Manistee River watershed. CRA will also implement specific projects at the Flowing Well property (building chimney swift towers, additional native plantings, construction of turtle basking structures) and conduct detailed plant, insect, bird, and freshwater mussel surveys with the Michigan Natural Features Inventory in the immediate vicinity of the restoration project sites.


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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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