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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Silver Creek Super Project Completed!

Region 3, October 10, 2012
A driveway crossing that was replaced because it was a velocity barrier to fish and aquatic organism passage on Silver Creek: Before (left) and After (right).
A driveway crossing that was replaced because it was a velocity barrier to fish and aquatic organism passage on Silver Creek: Before (left) and After (right). - Photo Credit: n/a
Monitoring stream channel shape and dimension (left) and engaging local homeowners with aquatic insect identification (right).
Monitoring stream channel shape and dimension (left) and engaging local homeowners with aquatic insect identification (right). - Photo Credit: n/a
Silver Creek at Spens Road Culvert Replacement (downstream view): Before (left) and After (right)
Silver Creek at Spens Road Culvert Replacement (downstream view): Before (left) and After (right) - Photo Credit: n/a

The last culvert in the Silver Creek Super Project was replaced late September 2012. After 3 years of planning, coordination, data collection, design, engineering, monitoring and a lot of dirt moving, a total of 10 road/stream crossings have been improved (8 full culvert replacements, 2 road surface treatments), reconnecting 10 river miles in Silver Creek and reducing sediment pollution by more than 100 tons per year. In addition to providing fish and other aquatic species passage, the project also benefitted the creek and overall watershed by reducing sediment entering the stream, restoring the shape and dimension of the stream channel, decreasing water temperature, and improving aquatic insect habitat.

The project expanded over the past three years to include monitoring and removal of key invasive plant species, and working with private landowners to implement conservation strategies. Silver Creek is a high quality, cold-water tributary to the Ocqueoc River, which is located in northeastern Michigan. Based on Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) fish community analysis, there are a number of native species present in the system that we anticipate will benefit from the project, including brook trout, slimy sculpin, blacknose dace, pearl dace, white sucker, creek chub, Johnny darter, logperch, brassy minnow, and yellow perch.

There was a lot of interest and support for this stream restoration effort. Project funding and support was provided by National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited, MDNR, Michigan Fly Fishing Club, Ocqueoc River Watershed Commission, Paul H. Young Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Presque Isle Conservation District, and Wolverine Power Cooperative. Patrick Ertel of Huron Pines lead the effort and the Presque Isle County Road Commission did an excellent job with the construction portion of the project. In late October 2012 a celebratory event is planned to acknowledge the success of this holistic stream restoration project and the partnerships developed. Post-construction monitoring of water temperature, stream channel shape and dimension, water velocities, and aquatic insects is planned for next year. This information will help document the positive benefits of the Silver Creek Super Project.

Contact Info: Andrea Ania, 989-356-5102 x1020, Andrea_Ania@fws.gov