Fresh New Year, Fresh New Crossings for the Platte River

Jun 15, 2021

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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
Happy dog with stick
Wildflowers on the forest floor of a northern michigan woodland
Rear view of travel woman rowing the boat at sunset
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Last summer, a new channel-spanning structure replaced an undersized culvert where Skinner Road meets the high-quality waters of the North Branch. The site is upstream from previous culvert upgrades at Dymond and Skinner Roads and enhances the overall health of the stream. The project resolves issues like erosion from the road, velocity barriers to fish, and improves habitat for aquatic wildlife, including brook and rainbow trout, wood turtles, and mottled sculpin.

Photo: The North Branch of the Platte River, locally known as “the Dead Stream,” is the largest tributary in the Platte River Watershed and home to diverse species.

In the southern Platte Watershed, Brundage Creek provides critical habitat for sensitive species like brook trout and mottled sculpin, while also being dammed in its headwaters to provide a source of water for the Platte River State Fish Hatchery. Last fall, crews replaced a pair of aging crossings where the creek intersects Stanley Road and North Carmean Road – nearly vertical road embankments contributed to erosion and deteriorating concrete structures severely constricted the natural flow of the stream.

Next up, our eyes are set on a new crossing just outside Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, where Little Platte Lake Creek meets Saffron Road. The creek winds through a large cedar swamp that encases the Medenbrook Nature Preserve before feeding Little Platte Lake. The project stands to benefit a diverse array of wildlife. The creek itself is known to have brook trout, and the swampy eastern shores of Little Platte Lake provide enviable habitat to Bald Eagles, Common Loons, Green and Great Blue Herons, Caspian Terns, Mallards, and many other species.

Meanwhile, we are planning to improve another poorly functioning crossing at North Carmean Road, this time in Kinney Creek. The tributary flows mostly through forested state lands and contains pockets of gravel beds, making it a haven for trout in need of escape cover and spawning habitat. The project builds on work completed downstream at Stanley Road eight years ago – when complete, the stream will meander freely to its confluence with Brundage Creek.

Photo: Brundage Creek’s former crossing at North Carmean Road constricted the stream and contributed to erosion.

Area

10 square miles

River Miles

2.4 miles

Location

Empire, MI

Wildlife Benefited

the swampy eastern shores of the Little Platte Lake provide enviable habitat

Brook Trout
Pickerel Frog
River Otter
Raccoons
Bald Eagles
Common Loons
Green Herons
Great Blue Herons
Caspian Terns
Mallards
Karner Blue
Photo: New channel-spanning culverts at Stanley Road & N. Carmean Road allow Brundage Creek to flow naturally and free.

Photo: CRA Program Director, Kira Davis, tours the swampy eastern shores of Little Platte Lake.

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

GTB NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program, MDNR Aquatic Habitat Grant Program, Great Lakes Fishery Trust, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Benzie County Road Commission, Walters Family Foundation, Oleson Foundation, The George Fund, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Sustain Our Great Lakes Program, Serra Family Foundation, Trout & Salmon Foundation, and DTE Energy Foundation

Help revitalize the Platte River by showing your support today!