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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Fish Passage Project on Sucker Creek Road-Black River Completed!

Region 3, December 18, 2012
View from downstream of the twin, undersized and perched culverts.
View from downstream of the twin, undersized and perched culverts. - Photo Credit: n/a
After – View from downstream of the newly constructed bridge, which provides unimpeded aquatic organism passage.
After – View from downstream of the newly constructed bridge, which provides unimpeded aquatic organism passage. - Photo Credit: n/a
Map of project location in northeastern Michigan. Credit: Google Earth © 2012 Cnes/Spot Image, Image © 2012 Terra Metrics, Image NOAA.
Map of project location in northeastern Michigan. Credit: Google Earth © 2012 Cnes/Spot Image, Image © 2012 Terra Metrics, Image NOAA. - Photo Credit: n/a

The Sucker Creek Road crossing on the Black River (Alcona County, Michigan) was completed in November. The project involved removing the old culverts and replacing them with a timber bridge. The new bridge provides unrestricted passage of all aquatic organisms that reside within the system and migratory species that move seasonally upstream from Lake Huron. This small coastal system in northeast Michigan supports a variety of migratory fish species, including a run of sizeable brook trout.

The existing perched and undersized culverts at the road-stream crossing were blocking fish and aquatic organism passage. The culverts were also having some negative impacts on natural stream processes and causing streambank erosion downstream of the road-stream crossing. Additionally, this site had been identified as the number one source of sediment entering the watershed due to long, steep road approaches that continuously washed into the stream and created a maintenance issue for the Alcona County Road Commission.

Migratory fish now have access to an additional 28 river miles of spawning, nursery, and feeding habitat. The road and ditch improvements will prevent 63 tons of sediment from entering the river each year. The new 30-foot spanning bridge and approach work improves the river's ability to transport sediment, reduces sediment input, and improves fish habitat, which may provide better fishing opportunities.

Partners that made this project a reality include: U.S. Forest Service, Huron Pines, Great Lakes Fishery Trust, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s National Fish Passage Program.

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