Traverse City Leaders Host Virtual Groundbreaking to Mark Beginning of FishPass Construction

Traverse City leaders hosted a virtual groundbreaking ceremony Saturday to kick off construction of the new FishPass system on the Boardman River.

The event comes at a fitting time: World Fish Migration Day.

When finished, researchers say the multimillion dollar FishPass system will prevent invasive species from moving upstream to spawn.

The new FishPass will replace the Union Street Dam. Scientists say the goal is to help desirable, native fish pass through, while blocking the movement of invasive species like sea lamprey.

The plans are a part of the final phase of the Boardman River ecosystem restoration project.

“Today marks the start of many beginnings. The first is for the Boardman and Ottawa River as we support the continuous flow of the water shed to Lake Michigan. The second is the development of Fishpass laboratory. The third is the replacement of a dam over 150 years old. This project will allow us to enjoy and learn from the river, experience Mother Nature, and learn of the many miracles and gifts held within,” said Traverse City manager Marty Colburn.

Construction is expected to begin this year and finish by late 2022.