Crews hit the road to improve a Michigan trout stream

Project Summary Improvements at 10 road-stream crossings over Silver Creek improved fish passage and reduced the amount of sediment washing into the trout stream, which is a tributary of the Ocqueoc River and Lake Huron.

Project name: Silver Creek Super Project.

Crews work on a Silver Creek road crossing to remove obstructionns to fish passage and reduce sediment runoff into the creek. (Photo courtesy of Huron Pines).

Location: Presque Isle County, in northeast Michigan. 

Description: The conservation group Huron Pines led a coalition that undertook an effort to improve fish passage and aquatic habitat in Silver Creek, the highest quality tributary of the Ocqueoc River, which flows into Lake Huron. The coalition improved 10 road-stream crossings that either blocked fish passage or were major sources of sand and silt washing into the river and burying prime fish spawning areas. New culverts were installed at six sites and all of the roads over the creek were paved. The culverts and paving reduced sediment runoff into the creek and allowed fish and other aquatic life to move freely throughout the waterway and the Ocqueoc River. The scope of the project was also expanded to remove invasive plants and reduce sediment runoff from private property along the creek. The project is slated for completion in 2012. 

Approximate cost of project: $600,000.

Improvements to road crossings allowed fish to move freely throughout the creek and reduced soil erosion that harmed fish spawning beds.


Resource challenges addressed: Fish passage and sedimentation. The old road-stream crossings blocked the natural movement of fish and other aquatic life and flushed sediment into the creek, where it blanketed gravel beds where fish spawn. 

Key partners (public and private): Huron Pines, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Presque Isle County Road Commission, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Great Lakes Commission, Wolverine Power Cooperative, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Trout Unlimited, Michigan Fly Fishing Club, Presque Isle Conservation District and the Ocqueoc River Watershed Commission. 

Types of jobs created: Excavators and other heavy equipment operators, truck drivers, civil engineers, environmental engineers, biologists and aquatic ecologists. 

Results and accomplishments: The project allowed trout and other fish to move freely throughout the creek, reduced the amount of harmful sand and silt washing into the creek, and increased public awareness and stewardship of the waterway.

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Originally Published: January 5, 2012