North Branch of the Bad River Adopt-A-Stream Program
Gratiot County, MI

Grantee: Gratiot County Soil Conservation District
Basin Program Funds: $4,552.50
Non-federal Funds: $2,284
Project Duration: 06/1998 - 12/1999
Status: complete

Problem Statement
Despite inroads into watershed management in the Bad River, traditional streambank erosion continues to be a problem, especially in areas inaccessible by large machinery. In order to address problems in these areas, a large number of dedicated individuals willing to do the restoration work must be energized to undertake this initiative. This project benefitted the river by reducing streambank erosion and associated sedimentation, while providing an opportunity for hands-on education about the causes, effects and techniques for reducing sedimentation.

The North Branch of the Bad River is a third order stream located within the eastern headwaters of the Saginaw River/Bay Area of Concern. The North Branch of the Bad River watershed includes over 67,000 acres, with 93% of the land use being intensive agriculture. The river is an important contributor to the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, a significant regional wetland habitat for migratory birds. The river also has an impact on the water quality of the Saginaw River which is an important economic benefit to the area. Reduction of streambank erosion and the associated sedimentation will greatly benefit all these areas. In 1993, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources conducted water quality tests on the watershed which indicated that sediment was the primary pollutant impairing several functions of the river ecosystem.

The Gratiot County Conservation District has been very active in trying to resolve problems relating to soil erosion and sedimentation in the Bad River watershed. Among other initiatives, the district has promoted wetland restoration and the installation of over 20 miles of filterstrips and encouraged the adoption of no-till farming. Despite these efforts, traditional streambank erosion is still causing a considerable amount of sedimentation in the watershed. The district will develop an Adopt-a-Stream program to energize a critical mass of volunteers who will use bioengineering techniques to address erosion problems in areas inaccessible by heavy machinery

The Gratiot County Conservation District coordinated a training session for volunteers on tree revetment design and logjam removal. The trained volunteers worked hand in hand with project personnel removing nine logjams that were causing streambank erosion and adopting twelve sections of streambank, which they revegetated using live plantings of willow, red osier dogwood and highbush cranberry. The project manager spoke to a St. Charles High School biology class about the effects of sedimentation on rivers, lakes and wetlands.

Volunteers adopted a total of 3.5 miles of streambank, clearing them of logjams and revegetating them. Over the estimated life of this project, project personnel estimate that 23.4 tons of soil, 27 pounds of phosphorus and 54 pounds of nitrogen will be kept on the land. Additionally, flooding in the North Branch of the Bad River and damages from the floodwaters will be reduced.

Contact: Angie Reaves, (517) 875-4500


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