Great Lakes Better Backroads Education Program
Statewide, MI

Grantee: Huron Pines Resource Conservation and Development Area Council, Inc.
Basin Program Funds: $15,000
Non-federal Funds: $10,500
Project Duration: 06/1997 - 09/1998
Status: complete

Problem Statement
Northern Michigan's high quality, cold water streams are vulnerable to high levels of sand sedimentation, especially in the location of road stream crossings. Many of these erosion problems can be controlled with little expense by a combination of minor structures and consistent maintenance.

The transportation network across northern Michigan has provided the area with important infrastructure to support local economies but can prove detrimental to fast flowing, cold water streams if not properly maintained. The region's sandy soil creates problems where these roads cross sensitive streams by eroding into the water, slowing its flow and allowing it to warm up. Many of these eroded areas can be controlled at minimal expense.

A comprehensive educational training tool, such as a workshop and manual, is required to instruct road commission employees about the various techniques and strategies available to minimize sedimentation. The project will also provide techniques and materials useful in other parts of the Great Lakes basin where these high quality streams are endangered by road construction.

The project steering committee, under the lead of the Huron Pines Resource Conservation and Development Council, established document review and workshop presentation subcommittees. The document review subcommittee reviewed the model manual, Vermont Better Backroads and incorporated suggested changes into the Great Lakes Better Backroads Guidebook: Water Quality by Design. After publishing the guidebook, the workshop subcommittee developed an education session directed to road commission associations and individual commission employees which they presented on seven occasions.

The project committee convened seven workshops beginning in May 1998. The first, held in conjunction with the 37th Senatorial District Council meeting, included representatives from 11 counties. Kalkaska Conservation District hosted a meeting and demonstration in June for local watershed agencies and road commissions. Two meetings of the County Road Commission Association Vacationland District Council in June and July also included workshops. Workshops were also held with the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program in June, and two meetings in July, including the Regional Wood in Transportation Program. In total, 166 individuals were reached through workshops, while an additional 585 persons received Great Lakes Better Backroads Guidebook: Water Quality by Design. Additionally, this project enabled the Huron Pines Resources Conservation and Development Area Council to obtain an additional Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Section 319 Grant to continue and expand efforts initiated under this project.


Great Lakes Commission des Grands Lacs.  2805 S. Industrial Highway, Suite 100.  Ann Arbor, MI  48104-6791.  phone: 734/971.9135.  fax: 734/971-9150. Join the Friends of the Great Lakes GLIN Partner