Boardman River Fish Passage Restoration
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Boardman River watershed in Grand Traverse County

The Conservation Resource Alliance and many partners received a grant to conduct the initial construction phase of the largest dam removal project in Michigan history.  The project is removing three dams and modifying a fourth dam to restore aquatic connectivity and fish passage to 160 miles of the Boardman River, a prized coldwater stream that flows into the Grand Traverse Bay of northern Lake Michigan.  In addition to removing these barriers, the project is restoring river habitat and wetland habitat along the river corridor.  An Implementation Team of eight local, state, tribal, and federal agencies has been authorized to oversee the dam removals, and this project has received consistent support from a diverse group of community, regional, state and federal agencies and organizations.  The initial construction phase involves removal of Brown Bridge dam, which is the uppermost barrier, removal of Sabin dam, which is the second lowest barrier, and additional habitat restoration and monitoring.  The project will benefit a wide range of fish and wildlife including species of special conservation concern, recreational and economic value, and traditional significance to tribes.

“I’ve twice had the opportunity to canoe the Boardman since the Brown Bridge Dam was removed. Seeing firsthand the restored miles of river channel can only be described as a spiritual experience, as I’ve witnessed the gradual rebirth of this beautiful river.” –  Charlie Wooley, Midwest Deputy Director, US Fish and Wildlife Service.

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