Traverse City FishPass Halted Before Monday’s Start

The $20 million “FishPass” project in Traverse City, where construction was due to start on Monday, is now on hold indefinitely.

13th Circuit Court Judge Thomas Power issued an injunction against the project on Friday.

FishPass is designed to replace the Union Street Dam and would help native fish pass through while blocking invasive species.

But Traverse City resident Rick Buckhalter filed suit. He’s arguing the project cuts more than 60 trees and is on City Park land and therefore should require a vote of city residents.

Friday, Judge Power acknowledged that two large trees that were not supposed to be cut now appear to be marked for removal. While that may not be enough to stop the project entirely, he says it does raise questions of misrepresentations about the project.


Judge Power says there can be no construction, no earth-moving, and no tree cutting for the time being, pending future court action.

Engineers and surveyors can continue their work. Routine maintenance at the dam and along the property can also continue.