Restoring Land Surrounding Duncan Bay
Improves Coastal Habitat
Purchasing and restoring 317 acres of land surrounding Duncan Bay improved aquatic habitat and fostered outdoor recreational opportunities.
Duncan Bay is located on Lake Huron, just outside of Cheboygan, Mich. Undisturbed areas surrounding Duncan Bay still support wide varieties of wildlife and habitat. A mosaic of marshes, dunes, swales, and upland forests provide habitat for many rare species and migrating birds. Unfortunately, as with many coastal ecosystems in this region, encroaching development and invasive plants threaten to degrade this special ecosystem. Furthermore, while this area provides important habitat for coaster brook trout, several road crossings with old, undersized culverts prohibit fish passage and introduce street pollution and sand into the streams.
Thanks to grants from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and others, the Huron Pines Resource Conservation and Development Council was able to create and protect a large track of undisturbed land in this area. First, Huron Pines coordinated the purchase of 317 acres of coastal property, which were placed into a local preserve system. Workers then removed invasive plants, replacing them with native plants to restore the shoreline wetlands. Two old, failing culverts were replaced with larger structures that naturalize stream flow, allowing brook trout to pass through them. Huron Pines and their partners are also building a trail system, complete with a boardwalk and viewing platform, that will encourage recreational use of the area. Primary construction is expected to conclude in 2019, after which the property will be maintained by the Little Traverse Conservancy.
Resource Challenges Addressed
- Lack of native habitat
- Invasive species
- Sediment pollution
- Low aquatic connectivity
DUNCAN BAY RESTORATION
Location: Cheboygan, Mich.
Approximate cost: $900,000, of which $371,909 was provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
Key partners: Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Little Traverse Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Cheboygan County Road Commission, City of Cheboygan, Bring It! Cheboygan, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, and Straits Area Audubon Society
Types of jobs created: Field staff, conservation workers, AmeriCorps members, volunteers, and general labor
Results and Accomplishments
This project protected 317 acres of high-value coastal habitat and 3,500 feet of shoreline from being fragmented by future development. The project restored wetland and upland habitat by removing invasive plants and planting natives, and restored aquatic habitat by upgrading the culverts at two road-stream crossings to reduce sediment pollution and allow passage by coaster brook trout. A trail system will provide recreational access to the property and help connect the city of Cheboygan with the nearby Cheboygan State Park.