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“Woody Debris” Project in Boardman River to Create Diverse Habitats

One of Northern Michigan’s biggest draws is its beautiful natural resources.

Now, a new project involving the Boardman River — aims to improve what’s already there.

This project — lead by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians — hopes to increase the number, size and complexity of habitats for aquatic wildlife.

“Part of the project here is to create large wood in the river that’s getting restored,” said USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service District Conservationist Jason Kimbrough. “It’s gonna take 100, 200 years to grow up the trees and then for those trees to die and fall into the river.”

So conservationists are fast-tracking that process — and adding 23 "woody debris" pieces to a stretch of the Boardman River by the Brown Bridge Quiet Area.

All to attract a wider variety of aquatic wildlife.

“There was a big investment to remove the dam and restore the river. For the sake of the river,” said Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians Fish, Wildlife and Soil Conservationist DJ Shook. “It would be excellent to have really quality fishing habitat or just a good recreational experience out on this reach of the river that used to be impounded.”

The woody debris project is all about creating diverse habitats such as this so aquatic organisms that live here can thrive.

“The deeper water helps fish and other aquatic species have cover in the stream. And they feel secure from predators.”

The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service are working together on this project.

A contractor this winter will start working on log installation.

“We could wait, but we have the ability conservation-wise to help out nature and help out our community and increase the capacity for habitat in our area,” Kimbrough said.

The project could cost up to 300,000 dollars, and will be paid for by the USDA and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

It should be finished up by the spring.       

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