Large trees used to create fish habitat in trout stream

Project Summary: The 2012 helicopter-assisted placement of 126 large pine trees in a two-mile stretch of the Au Sable River created new fish habitat in one of the Midwest’s premier trout streams and capped a 10-year program that placed 1,200 trees in a 10-mile stretch of the river.
A heavy lift helicopter was used to place 1,200 large trees in the Au Sable River. Photo from U.S. Forest Service.

A heavy lift helicopter was used to place 1,200 large trees in the Au Sable River. Photo from U.S. Forest Service.

Project name: Au Sable River Large Wood Great Lakes Project.

Location:Near Mio, Mi., in the Huron National Forest.

Description: The Au Sable River, in northern Michigan, is one of the Midwest’s premier trout streams.  The river flows through the Huron National Forest and into Lake Huron. Past activities, such as logging and the construction of dams, reduced the amount of large, woody debris in portions of the river. After a study showed that downed trees in the river restored aquatic habitat and blended in with the natural surroundings, the U.S. Forest Service in 2002 began using a heavy lift helicopter to place 1,200 whole trees in a 10-mile stretch of the river.  The project culminated in 2012 with the placement of 126 trees in the Au Sable River below Alcona Dam. It demonstrated that placement of whole trees in a river was an effective way to restore more natural conditions in rivers situated in forested settings.

A stretch of the Au Sable where the trees were placed in the river. The trees blend in with the river and create new habitat for fish and other aquatic life. Photo from U.S. Forest Service.

A stretch of the Au Sable where the trees were placed in the river. The trees blend in with the river and create new habitat for fish and other aquatic life. Photo from U.S. Forest Service.

Approximate cost of project: $171, 600. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative provided $52,800 of that amount.

Resource challenges addressed: Altered stream flow, sedimentation and loss of fish habitat in a blue ribbon trout stream.

Key partners (public and private): U.S. Forest Service, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Huron Pines Conservation District and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Types of jobs created: Foresters, loggers, helicopter pilot, general laborers and ecologists.

Results and accomplishments: Placing trees in the Au Sable River created new habitat for fish and other aquatic life and restored more natural conditions in the river.

Web site: http://1.usa.gov/T8OBZG

Originally Published: November 1, 2012

 

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