Connected Waterways

Over the last decade, Huron Pines has inventoried every waterway in our 4.5-million-acre service area to assess stream health and prioritize critical needs like failing infrastructure. In just the last five years, we’ve improved over 90 road/stream crossings, removed 5 dams and reconnected over 450 miles of river. Connected waterways give trout and other aquatic species access to the upstream habitats needed for survival and improve recreation tourism and economic viability.

Here are some examples of our work

  • In 2018, two road/stream crossing sites on Cheboygan County’s Milligan Creek were replaced to reconnect 14 miles of upstream trout habitat. The undersized culverts were replaced with new crossings that completely open the waterway with plenty of clearance for fish and anglers to pass under the roadway.
  • Pine River Dam in Alcona County was removed in 2017 and replaced with a foot bridge reconnecting 20 miles of upstream trout habitat and providing safe recreation access to thousands of acres of public land.
  • In 2015 the Song of the Morning Dam removal reconnected the Pigeon River system to allow fish upstream access for the first time in more than a century.
  • Saunders Dam in the Pigeon River Country State Forest was removed in 2013 to reconnect eight miles of the Upper Black River and its tributaries.

Check out our blog for the latest project updates or find archived Healthy Water posts here.

Information and best practices on small dam removal can be found in our 2012 Leading Small Dam Removal guidebook.

Project Supporters

Milligan Creek: Huron Pines, Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Walters Family Foundation and Cheboygan County Road Commission.
Pine River Dam Removal: Huron Pines, U.S. Forest Service, Pine River-Van Etten Lake Watershed Coalition (PRVEL), Michigan Department of Natural Resources, National Fish and Wildlife-Sustain Our Great Lakes and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Song of the Morning Dam Removal: Michigan Department of Natural Resources- Aquatic Habitat Grant Program, Golden Lotus, Inc., Great Lakes Fishery Trust, Pigeon River Country Association, Patagonia: World Trout Initiative, Great Lakes Energy People Fund, Charlevoix County Community Foundation, J.A. Woollam Foundation, Mullett Lake Area Preservation Society, Otsego County Community Foundation- Dr. Patrick J. McNamara Fund, Scott & Janice Lampert Fund and Individual Contributors.
More Song of the Morning information can be found in this guide
Saunders Dam Removal: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and Fish Passage Program, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Upper Black River Council, Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Individual Contributors.