Restoring the Prized Tributaries of the Platte River

Mar 24, 2022

Platte River-Goose Rd. Dwnstream View
Platte River-Goose Rd. View Upstream View (1)
Platte River-Goose Rd. Installation
Happy dog with stick
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Since 2019, CRA, Benzie County Road Commission and partners have collectively restored nine crossings within the Platte River Watershed, including sites on the North Branch as well as Kinney, Brundage, Little Platte Lake and Carter creeks. Outdated metal culverts, boilerplate pipes and cracking concrete structures had been laid over some of the most pristine streams in Benzie County. Many of these aging structures obstructed streambeds, creating waterfalls too strong for the upstream passage of young fish and sensitive species like brook trout and sculpin. In addition, near-vertical roadbed embankments funneled excess stream sedimentation during rain and snowmelt. This dumped an estimated 25 tons of sediment each year that buried instream gravel beds and large woody debris, while filling deep holes needed for healthy fish and aquatic insect habitat. To restore water clarity and fish habitat, CRA and partners secured grant and match dollars, funding the design and build of a timber bridge, three bottomless arches and five recessed elliptical and box culverts.

The Platte River Watershed today now features:

· Healthier fish. More than 10 miles of upstream reaches are now fully reconnected with 19 miles of downstream tributaries and the Platte River mainstem, along with Little and Big Platte lakes. Full passage for all aquatic species at all life stages during ordinary and high-water flows is now a reality.

· Less blockage. New structures span the natural stream widths, allowing for the movement of gravel, sand and fallen trees and leaves.

· Clearer water. Runoff is diverted to nearby low areas and away from the streams via roads that are crowned, paved or supplemented with diversion spillways.

· Less erosion. Gradually sloped, stabilized and revegetated road embankments have been constructed, eradicating the annual estimated 25 tons of sediment dumped into the watershed.

Before and After Photo: At #PLT-P3, Skinner Road crosses the North Branch of the Platte River. Here, a 3’ by 22’ boilerplate pipe that had a hydraulic jump was removed. In its place, an 18.2’ high by 4.6’ wide by 27’ long bottomless aluminum arch culvert was installed.

Before and After Photos: Of #PLT-I16, Stanley Road over Brundage Creek, installation of recessed, corrugated steel pipe arch culvert 11.4’ span, 7.25’ rise, 56’ long in place of 3’ diameter, 22’ long concrete pipe and headwall structure.


9 sites, Platte River Watershed is 193 square miles

River Miles



Homestead, inland and Platte Townships in Benzie County

Before and After Photo:  At #PLT-I13, Carmean Road over Kinney Creek, installation of a recessed, corrugated aluminum box culvert 9’7” wide, 4’1” high, 31.5’ long in place of a 1.5’ diameter perched metal culvert.  The site is upstream of another crossing replaced on Kinney Creek at Stanley Road replaced by the same project partners in 2012, thus leading to a holistic approach of restoring this important tributary. 

Before and After Photo: At #PLT-P8, Saffron Road and Little Platte Lake Creek, a 3.5’ diameter concrete pipe was replaced with a 9.6’ wide, 4.1’ high, 31.5’ long bottomless arch culvert.

Photo: A photo of the crossing over Carter Creek, under construction. and a photo of fish using the new culvert.  Another crossing restored in a parallel effort by BCRC, NRCS and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians was at Weldon Road and Carter Creek, site #PLT-H-5. Here, twin 3’ diameter perched culverts were replaced with a 12’ wide bottomless arch.

picture of a tributary after restoration, with a metal culvert surrounded by rock rip rap, with a road crossing above

Photo: Before and after pictures at #PLT-P11, where Skinner Road crosses North Branch of Platte tributary, installation of recessed, corrugated arch culvert 73” span x 55” tall x 30’ long in place of 42” diameter, 20’ long boiler plate pipe.

Before and After Photos: At #PLT-P10, Dymond Road crosses North Branch Platte tributary, removal of two 15” dia. x 19’ long steam engine boiler pipes and installation of a 57” wide x 38” high corrugated metal culvert.

Before and After Photo: At #PLT-P5, Hooker Road crosses the North Branch of the Platte River, removal of undersized 4’ diameter boiler plate pipe that was set above the stream bottom and causing pools to form at the inlet and outlet, and stream velocities to double, exceeding 5 feet per second. Project partners designed and completed the installation of a timber bridge 24’ span and 26’ wide for two 11’ wide vehicle lanes and 2’ shoulders.

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

Conservation Resource Alliance, Great Lakes Fishery Trust, Oleson Foundation, Walters Family Foundation, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program with Natural Resources Conservation Service, Benzie County Road Commission, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service through the Great Lakes Fish & Wildlife Restoration Act and Fish Passage Programs, Freshwater Future Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition Program, Benzie Conservation District, Platte Lake Improvement Association, Trout and Salmon Foundation, Adams Chapter of Trout Unlimited, KPM Engineering, PLLC, CRA’s River Care Program supported by DTE Energy Foundation, The George Fund, Andrew R. and Janet F. Miller Foundation, Serra Family Foundation, and Packaging Corporation of America.