New bridge restores
a trout stream’s natural flow
Replacing a narrow culvert that restricted the Platte River, a blue ribbon trout stream in northern Michigan, restored the river’s natural flow and reduced stream bank erosion that was suffocating prime spawning areas for trout and salmon. The bridge that replaced the culvert also increased public safety by providing a safe road over the river.
The Burnt Mill road crossing, located near the headwaters of the 90-mile-long Platte River, featured a culvert that restricted the river’s natural flow. Water that backed up behind the culvert caused stream-bank erosion, which caused trees to fall into the river and unleashed sediment that buried rocky spawning areas favored by trout and salmon. The river’s altered flow increased water temperatures, which threatened the trout population. Replacing the undersized culvert with a wooden bridge restored the river’s natural flow, the natural movement of sediments and aquatic life, and provided a safer river crossing for motorists.
Resource Challenges Addressed
- Altered river flow
- Excessive sedimentation
- Suffocated fish spawning habitat
- Unnatural warming of water temperatures in the river
PLATTE RIVER AND BURNT MILL BRIDGE
Location: Benzie County, Mich.
Approximate cost: $328,000
Key partners: Conservation Resource Alliance, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Benzie County Road Commission, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Platte River Watershed Council, Benzie Conservation District and McDowell Construction
Types of jobs created: Biologists, ecologists, landscape architects, civil engineers, excavators and carpenters
Results and Accomplishments
Restored the river’s natural flow, which will help the native brook trout population; reduced the volume of sediment washing into the river by 5 tons annually; and restored the natural movement of nutrients and aquatic life above and below the road crossing.