Reducing Sedimentation on the Boardman River Through Greater Public Involvement
Grand Traverse Soil and Water Conservation District
Basin Program Funds:
A 1991 study entitled Boardman River Watershed Report identified over 600 eroded
sites along the Boardman River and its tributaries; 85% of these sites are the
result of human activity. The sediment entering the river from these sites has
significantly degraded the productivity of this state-designated "Blue Ribbon"
trout stream and has negatively impacted the recreational opportunities offered
by the river. In addition to correcting these problems, long term protection
of the area's soil and water resources as well as improved riparian landowner
and user group stewardship is imperative.
The goal of this program was to reduce sedimentation and water quality degradation
in the Boardman River Watershed through greater public involvement by: (1) providing
hands-on opportunities for students, riparian landowners, and user groups to
stabilize and revegetate stream bank erosion sites within the watershed; and
(2) conducting an interactive river ecology workshop for the general public
where they will improve their understanding of river system dynamics and how
their individual actions may affect a river.
Restoration of the Boardman River is an ongoing project and the
focus of national attention. Through a Section 319 grant from the Michigan Department
of Natural Resources, a successful grant (1994) from the Great Lakes Commission,
and with local support from over 200 partners, the District has restored 108
of 600 identified erosion sites since 1993. This had stopped an estimated 1,500
tons of sand from entering the Boardman River System each year. To complement
this effort and look toward the future, the current project will increase public
involvement in the process through the hands-on opportunities and interactive
workshop mentioned above.
: The following work was completed to provide
hands-on opportunities for riparian landowners and user groups to stabilize
and revegetate stream bank erosion sites within the watershed. Over 75 people
including landowners, Trout Unlimited members, employees from local businesses,
students from the Ausable Institute, and eighth graders from Kingsley School
restored fourteen sites. This work consisted of:
- Placing 190 tons of rip-rap and 110 cubic yards of top soil on three actively
- Placing 50 feet of fish habitat structure and 40 feet of whole-tree revetment
at these sites.
- Restoring a severely eroding recreational access site on state land and
placing 5 cubic yards of rip-rap on an associated eroding bank.
- Restoring the remaining sites with rip-rap, top soil, vegetation, and
- Earth Day activities involving 23 eighth graders.
- Restoration by 15 students from the Ausable Institute using whole-tree
revetment and top-soil on the North Branch of the Boardman River.
Objective B: In an effort to heighten public knowledge
and awareness concerning river ecology two workshops were held. These workshops
addressed issues including laws affecting rivers, the importance of aquatic
insects, and the principles of river ecology and geomorphic processes. One workshop
involved 450 students attending the second annual Student River Congress conducted
by the Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Initiative. A model stream, constructed
with this grant, was used to demonstrate river processes and simulate restoration
techniques. The second workshop, a daylong event held along the banks of the
Boardman River, involved 1,500 people learning about river ecology.
Objective A: The project team estimated that 115 tons of soil and an
associated 193 pounds of nitrogen and 97 pounds of phosphorus are prevented
from entering the Boardman River each year as a result of these projects. As
well, a total of 756 linear feet of stream bank were treated, 6,460 square feet
of vegetative stabilization was added, and 96 linear feet of fish lunker structures
Objective B: The project reached almost 2,000 people through
the Boardman River ecology workshops.
Evaluation of the success of the Boardman River Restoration Project
continues and this information is shared with other resource management groups
around the state. Great Lakes Basin Program funds helped involve volunteers
in the restoration activities at over 20 erosion sites. Results have been reported
in the District newsletter and in the new Boardman River Project newsletter
Boardman Currents. The final results were presented at the Michigan Association
of Conservation Districts 1997 annual convention.