MAKING CONNECTIONS FOR HEALTHY STREAMS.
Structures like dams and undersized road/stream crossings block the natural flow of energy and materials through a river system. They often are barriers to fish passage, contribute to erosion, lead to warming water temperatures, cut off streams from their floodplains and can even pose a risk to human safety and property. Huron Pines plays a lead role in restoring Northeast Michigan’s most problematic dams and road/stream crossings, reconnecting dozens of stream miles through dam removals and culvert replacement projects each year. For these efforts, we work directly with road commissions to align transportation and ecological priorities, stretching each dollar further for the health of our Great Lakes ecosystems.
Learn about Northeast Michigan’s watersheds.
Check out the Watershed Assessment of the West Branch of Big Creek
Michigan has a legacy of aging and failing dams, with more than 2,500 dams fragmenting our state’s waterways. These dams impact wildlife by acting as physical barriers to upstream movement, warming impounded waters and altering natural stream processes like flooding, nutrient transfer and movement of woody debris. Worse, aging dams can fail leading to catastrophic fish kills, downstream property damage and costly infrastructure repair. By working with landowners to proactively remove dams that have outlived their usefulness, we are providing a pathway to restoration of healthy river systems.
Road/Stream Crossing (RSX) Improvements
Undersized road/stream crossing structures harm stream health and cause road safety and maintenance concerns. When water backs up behind small culverts it is exposed to warming and often erodes road embankments. Sometimes culverts wash out during flood events, causing significant ecological and economic damage. At the outlet, scouring leads to erosion and culverts may become perched above the downstream water and act as a barrier for fish and other wildlife. Huron Pines works with county road commissions and other partners to replace problematic culverts with proper structures.
Nutrients and chemicals applied to farm fields and residential lawns find their way into our lakes and streams via stormwater runoff, which also delivers oils, greases, sand, road salt and litter from our city streets, parking lots and rural roads into surface waters. Excess nutrients, bacteria and chemicals can degrade wildlife habitat and water quality, sometimes to the point of being a human safety concern. By improving the way we collectively manage agricultural lands, urban stormwater runoff and the riparian buffer zones along lakes and streams we can do a lot to project the quality of our water resources.