Michigan DNR

Michigan DEQ

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       Mainstream Resources
                  P.O. Box 96
            Auburn, MI 48611
          989-662-2240 phone
             989-662-6850 fax

   The Pere Marquette Watershed Council, a 501(c)3, non profit conservation organization received a $750,000 grant from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust in 1998 in order to affect habitat improvements in the Big South Branch Pere Marquette River watershed.  The overarching project goal was to: "increase spawning and recruitment opportunities for salmonids, adding to the naturally reproduced population in Lake Michigan". 

The Watershed Council contracted with Mainstream Resources to manage and implement the five-year project.  A project advisory committee was comprised of representatives of the US Forest Service, Michigan DNR Fisheries Division and Natural Resources Conservation Service.  An interdisciplinary team assembled by Mainstream Resources surveyed the Big South Branch watershed during the summer of 1998 and presented their findings in a report entitled "Comprehensive Surface Resource Assessment:  Big South Branch Pere Marquette River" (CSRA).

The assessment report identified diminished groundwater inflow, flashy stream flows and abnormally high sand bedload as priority challenges in the Big South Branch watershed.  The consultant team and advisory committee agreed that the stabilization of eroding stream banks within the upper Big South branch watershed, together with sediment removal measures and the introduction of coarse substrates, would result in the re-establishment of normal pool-gravel bar sequencing, channel integrity and diverse instream habitat typified by clean gravel gravel bars, increased pool depths and the retention of large woody debris in treatment areas.

The final report and appendices from the five-year demonstration project can be downloaded from our download page.

Below are a few pictures of various aspects of the project.


Gravel Bar Construction

Big South Branch Pere Marquette River

A total of seven spawning riffles (gravel bars) were constructed throughout the Big South Branch subwatershed from 1999-2001.  Pre-construction bottom sediments in these streams were comprised mainly of sand and very little or no trout or salmonid reproduction was historically recorded at these locations prior to gravel bar construction.  However, after construction, trout and salmon spawning activity was significantly higher.

Cobble sills were constructed at appropriate intervals within each gravel bar.

Construction of a gravel bar on the Big South Branch Pere Marquette River

Lower gravel bar on the Big South Branch Pere Marquette River.

A constructed sill within a gravel bar on the Big South Branch Pere Marquette River

Looking upstream at the lower Big South Branch Pere Marquette River constructed gravel bar

Chinook fingerling collected from the Ruby Creek gravel bar via electrofishing

Brown trout fingerling collected in May 2002 via electrofishing

Substrates for gravel bar construction are chosen specifically to enhance spawning opportunities for salmonids.


Cedar Creek

Cedar Creek was the most productive gravel bar.  Trout and salmon historically spawned at this locations, but not in the numbers which were recorded after the construction of the artificial gravel bar.

Lower Cedar Creek gravel bar (light area is top of riffle)

Lower Cedar Creek gravel bar

Lower Cedar Creek gravel bar

Collection of benthic samples at Cedar Creek


Ruby Creek

Ruby Creek historically produced rainbow, brown, brook trout as well as Chinook and coho salmon.  A gravel bar was constructed and gravel was supplemented at this location to enhance spawning opportunities for salmonids at this site.  All species of trout and salmon were observed in great numbers at this location during our surveys.

Sand covered gravel

A woody debris dam in Ruby Creek

A typical stream reach within lower Ruby Creek

Instream habitat improvement site at Ruby Creek

Upper Ruby Creek gravel bar

Chinook fingerling

Electrofishing survey work being conducted at Ruby Creek

Data collection following electrofishing


Bank Stabilization Measures

Winnepesaug Creek

In the Big South Branch Pere Marquette River one of the major problems in some reaches is sedimentation due to erosion.  Sediment eroding off of exposed banks is treatable and can reduce sediment inputs significantly.

Eroding stream bank on Winnepesaug Creek prior to stabilization

Eroding streambank on Cedar Creek

Winnepesaug Creek stream bank four years after biotechnical stabilization

Native woody vegetation is gaining a foothold after grasses were planted to stabilize soils.

                                                  2004  All photos and text on this webpage are the property of Mainstream Resources. 
                                Reproduction of these materials, in whole or in part, without the written permission of the owner is unlawful.

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