Five projects on Michigan rivers beginning in 2016 will help improve habitat, fishing access, water quality and resource knowledge.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently shared the news in a press release.
The DNR’s Fisheries Division selected the projects, which will be funded by the Habitat Improvement Account (HIA).
“The HIA is funded by Consumers Energy as part of a major settlement agreement that relicensed the company’s hydropower projects on the Au Sable, Manistee and Muskegon rivers,” said the DNR’s Habitat Management Unit supervisor, Jessica Mistak.
“The HIA has contributed in excess of $8.5 million and funded more than 150 projects since its inception in 1994.”
A total of $278,000 to be distributed over the next two years. The projects approved for fiscal year 2016 include:
- Upper Manistee River Fishing Access Site Improvement, Upper Manistee River Restoration Committee—This project will upgrade two heavily used access sites along the upper Manistee River. It will provide improved access for the public while protecting the river and riparian zone from excessive sediment and bank trampling.
- Muskegon River Barrier Inventory, Muskegon River Watershed Assembly—The project will collect data on barriers in the Muskegon River watershed, organize the data, and make it public to aid in planning and prioritizing infrastructure upgrades.
- Buhl Dam Removal, Huron Pines Research Conservation and Development Council—This project will remove the Buhl Dam on the Pine River, a tributary to the lower Au Sable River.
- West Branch of the Big Creek Habitat Improvement Project, Mason Griffith Founders Chapter of Trout Unlimited—The project will continue stream habitat improvements on the West Branch of Big Creek, a tributary to the Au Sable River. It will cover approximately five stream miles.
- Old Orchard Park Boat Launch Upgrade, Oscoda Township—This project will upgrade the boat access located at Old Orchard Park, a large popular campground on Foote Pond, located on the Au Sable River.
The DNR established the HIA to mitigate resource impacts from hydropower dam operations.