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Michigan’s 2025 budget includes $1M for Traverse City’s FishPass project

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TRAVERSE CITY — $1,000,000 from Michigan’s 2025 budget will go to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) to support the construction of FishPass in Traverse City.

“We are thrilled to receive this investment,” said Dr. Marc Gaden, GLFC executive secretary. “While FishPass is in Traverse City, it is a project for everyone – having a positive impact all over the Great Lakes and beyond – and we are honored to accept this support from the State of Michigan.”

The project is the final piece of a more than 20-year project on the Boardman/Ottaway River to reconnect it with the Great Lakes. After legal challenges and other obstacles, the project broke ground in May. FishPass will replace the failing Union Street Dam with a new barrier that allows the GLFC to let through desirable fish like sturgeon and trout while blocking harmful invaders like sea lamprey.


“FishPass will be great for the health of the river,” said Traverse City Manager Liz Vogel, “but it will also be great for the people of our region. This investment will help make possible a safe, green, accessible public space in the heart of our downtown.”

State funds will support the final phases of construction, which include most of the publicly-accessible features of FishPass.

Earlier this year, the City of Traverse City received an EGLE Dam Risk Reduction Grant for FishPass. Construction of critical in-stream, or “wet” project elements, including dam replacement and the fish passage channel, is underway and expected to finish in 2026. Simultaneously, efforts to finalize costs and funding for “dry” elements such as an educational facility, landscaping enhancements and naturalized river channel elements are underway. This phased approach ensures that all project elements will be completed effectively and on schedule – with the total project targeted for completion in 2027.

You can learn more about the project on the GLFC website.

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