Restoring Silver Creek

May 6, 2022

Rear view of travel woman rowing the boat at sunset
catching a brown trout in the river
Happy dog with stick
Beautiful winter in forest on the river at sunset. Winter landscape. Snowy branches on trees, beautiful river with reflection in water, sun and blue sky. Seasonal background. Frosty cold evening
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A key driver of Michigan’s river fishery decline is the legacy of past logging practices, which have left many streams choked with sediment and cleared of the forest overstory.

Exposed sandy bluffs add to the sediment problem, a condition faced by the Pine River, just downstream of the Silver Creek State Forest Campground in Lake County. 

Photo: Layer two tree-boulder placement on the banks of Silver Creek.

To help restore the river’s habitat, a large, wood fish cover and bluff protection project was completed in August 2021 after nearly four years of planning and fundraising. Woody debris in streams creates habitat necessary for spawning, so a variety of techniques and materials were used at this complex site. Boulders were used to ballast the wood, keeping things in place during heavy flood flows. In addition, whole trees with rootwads attached were placed along the toe of the bluff to keep it stable, a method that was based on designs from the Pacific Northwest. The performance of this pilot effort will help inform CRA and partners on future projects planned for complex site conditions.

Photo: The structure is complete, rehabilitating site on the way out.

Photo: Layer one tree-boulder placement

Projects like this are not possible without the help of our members and partners. We’d like to send a special “thank you” to:

Walters Family Foundation, Pine River Association Watershed Enhancement Fund, Lake County Community Foundation, Pine River Area Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Trout and Salmon Foundation, Michigan Fly Fishing Club, Challenge Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Fly Fishers International, Kalamazoo Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Scientific Anglers, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Section 319 Program, The George Fund, DTE Energy Foundation, Numerous CRA River Care supporters including Ron and Linda Hamilton


Newkirk Township, Lake Co. MI

Brown trout
Rainbow trout
Eastern massasauga rattlesnake
Pickerel frog
Wood turtle
Blanding’s turtle
River Otter
Whitetail deer
Black bear
Northern white cedar
Red pine
Eastern hemlock
Red oak
White oak
Speckled alder
Musclewood (American hornbeam)

Help revitalize the Pine River & Silver Creek by showing your support today!