Pere Marquette Receives $210,000 Grant to Restore Aquatic Habitat

The DNR recently awarded $1.25 million in aquatic habitat grants to eight different projects. Some of that money will go to a group right here in Northern Michigan.

The Conservation Resource Alliance will be one of the groups receiving some of the grant money. Paul Kogelschatz, from the conservation nonprofit, says the current infrastructure on two road crossings over Blood Creek is containing the aquatic habitat, causing a number of problems.

“It’s increasing velocities to an unnatural level, its increasing sediments to an unnatural level, its preventing fish passage. It’s preventing sediment passage, it’s covering up, it’s actually impairing the spawning opportunities in the habit the fish need,” he says.

It’s an issue that affects not only aquatic life, but also the safety of people passing above.

Steve Leonard from the Lake County Road Commission says, “If you get a big rain event with a small structure, we know what happens, the road collapses and then you have that you have that issue.”

Now multiple agencies are joining together to build a larger, more eco-friendly culvert.

Kogelschatz says, “What we’re doing is working with the road commission we’re going to remove this undersized culvert. We’re going to put a properly-sized, properly-aligned structure in. Then the river will flow, the stream will flow, as it was intended to.”

The project will not only help the aquatic habitat, but the habitat on land as well.

Jake Lubera, deputy district ranger for the U.S. Forest Service, says, “[The Pere Marquette is] a world class fishery that brings a lot of pride to the area, but also a lot tourists and a lot of folks who want to experience this. The healthier the streams, the better the fisheries, the more people want to come visit us.”

The grant was for more than $200,000, half of the funding needed for the project.

Categories: Michigan This Morning