“Partners Move the Needle” Salmon Trout River
Fish Passage and Habitat Restoration Project
BY TED KOEHLER, ASHLAND FWCO
River. Credit: Superior Watershed Partnership
The Salmon Trout River located in the Huron Mountains of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is the last river on Lake Superior’s south shore where coaster brook trout naturally reproduce. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has been working for many years with dozens of important partners to increase populations of these large and magnificent trout. The Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Trust and the Service’s Coastal Program – Great Lakes recently completed a project to help restore the health of the Salmon Trout River watershed in order to benefit coaster brook trout and other important fish and wildlife species.
Project activities included removing a barrier on a priority road/stream crossing and replacing it with a bottomless arch culvert, completing improvements to the road approaches at two crossing sites to reduce stream sedimentation, and controlling sediment from an unauthorized stream ford. Additional project activities included outreach to landowners and other watershed stakeholders to improve and protect water quality and fish habitat.
The project significantly furthered the habitat restoration goals of the Salmon Trout River Watershed Management Plan. It also furthered the objectives of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission’s Brook Trout Rehabilitation Plan for Lake Superior as well as the Binational Program’s Lake Superior Lake wide Management Plan. Measureable outcomes of the project included eliminating over 90 tons of fish habitat smothering sediment per year from the road crossing and approaches; restored fish passage with approximately one mile of stream made available for native fish including brook trout; and improved understanding of best management practices by many landowners and stakeholders in the Salmon Trout River watershed.
the Salmon Trout River. Credit: Superior Watershed Partnership
storm water detention areas, and site stabilization
including seeding and mulching of disturbed and bare
soil areas. Credit: Superior Watershed Partnership