As a result of a significant amount of sediment entering the north branch of Trout Creek from MDOT’s road project in Orion Township, MDOT was required to provide mitigation of the creek by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). Restricted access to the north branch of Trout Creek resulted in MDOT coordinating an alternate mitigation project with EGLE. Removal of an old earthen dam with stop log and culvert spillway on the nearby main branch of Trout Creek was identified as the acceptable alternative. Fishbeck was hired to design the dam removal and oversee contract administration. Fishbeck, in collaboration with MDOT, developed a stream mitigation plan that included a new channel to breach the earthen portion of the dam and use natural channel design techniques. Tree revetments, riffle pool complexes, rock vanes, and root wads were constructed to maintain the channel’s lateral and vertical stability, provide in-stream habitat, and allow passage of native fish communities.
The project resulted in functional uplift of 1,800 linear feet of Trout Creek’s bed diversity, bed material character, channel evolution, and fish community. Additionally, it resulted in 800 linear feet of functional uplift of the stream channel lateral stability, benthic organism community, and riparian vegetation. Fish passage was restored to over 1.5 miles of the creek. Post-project inspections have observed migration of fish and turtles through the newly constructed channel and use of the stream structures as habitat by the northern water snake. A monitoring program is in place to evaluate the channel’s long-term stability and impacts to the benthic and riparian plant communities.