Monthly FishPass Update



From: Andrew Muir <>
Sent: Monday, November 5, 2018 8:38 AM
Subject: FishPass Monthly Update

Dear partners and stakeholders:

In the spirit of continued transparency and stakeholder engagement, on behalf of the FishPass team, I am pleased to provide to you the first edition of a monthly FishPass update. For now, monthly updates will be in the form of e-mails. Note that contacts among the recipients of the FishPass monthly update overlap considerably, so please distribute judiciously.

Engineering design update:

  • GLFC contracted AECOM to initiate the 65% engineering design and complete geotechnical and sediment exploration.
  • 65% design is anticipated to be complete and presented to GLFC and USACE on 16 November.
  • Public comment and hearing will again be sought prior to completion of the 90% engineering design (January 2019).
  • GLFC has entered a support agreement with the USACE to review the 65% engineering design and prepare the Joint Permit Application.
  • On September 21, 2018 the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority purchased the property at 215 Union Street, adjacent to Union Street Dam, from Consumer’s Energy for the purpose of building the FishPass science/education building and public restrooms.
  • AECOM is preparing a new site layout and building design as a result of relocating the science/education building from the south to north side of the river.  The new design will feature a two-story building better integrated into the existing hillside, two ADA accessible restrooms, and five additional public parking stalls.
  • FishPass design team members attended the Traverse City Council meeting on October 8th, Lower Boardman River Leadership Team meeting on October 24th, and presented at the Freshwater Summit on October 26th.
  • GLFC staff will provide project updates to the Tribal Council of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (GTB) on Nov. 7th and combined meeting with the Lower River Boardman Leadership and Downtown Development Authority on Nov. 20th.

Research update:

  • In collaboration with the GTB and MIDNR, fish populations downstream of Union Street Dam were sampled quarterly since 2017.  This work included implanting radio and passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags in fish to track their movement.  Thus far, 70 fish, including brown trout, common carp, white sucker, northern pike, rainbow trout, rock bass, and smallmouth bass have been tagged.
  • A second year of high resolution sonar (DIDSON) recordings at the Trap and Transfer Facility concluded in September 2018.  See the past DIDSON study report here.
  • Researchers at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point initiated a population genetics study in the Boardman River to examine if/how fish populations up- and down-stream of Union Street Dam differ genetically.  This work involves collecting fin clips from fish and collecting water samples to examine species presence/absence using environmental DNA (eDNA; i.e., genetic material shed by fish into the water).
  • Recent funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) was received to initiate a contaminant transfer study in the Boardman River.  Researchers from the University of Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech will start collecting whole fish and water samples to study the background levels and transport of contaminants between the river and Grand Traverse Bay.
  • Additional GLRI funding was received to initiate a study by Michigan State University researchers to use modelling and structured decision making to inform managers of potential fish community outcomes following a barrier removal in the Great Lakes.  The Boardman River and FishPass project will serve as a major case study in this project.

Andrew Muir, PhD.

Science Director

Great Lakes Fishery Commission

2100 Commonwealth Blvd., Suite 100

Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105  USA

Ph. 734.669.3016


Google Scholar Profile

Research Gate Profile

Boardman River Fish Movement Study







Maybe you have seen these posted on the lower Boardman recently.

Fish Movement Study Plan in support of FishPass

Background: The Selective Bi-directional Fish Passage project (FishPass) will provide up- and down-stream passage of desirable fishes while simultaneously blocking and/or removing undesirable fishes on the Boardman (Ottaway) River in Traverse City, Michigan. To achieve this mission, FishPass has three overarching objectives: (1) develop and implement selective bi-directional fish guidance, sorting, and passage techniques and technologies; (2) determine protocols for implementing selective passage solutions within the Boardman River and throughout the Great Lakes Basin; and (3) set solutions in a global context so the approach can be exported.

Read More here:

Fausch Report On The Competition Between Steelhead and Brook Trout in the Boardman River


An evaluation of the potential for competition between steelhead and brook trout in Great Lakes tributaries, with application to the Boardman River, Michigan
Report to the Adams Chapter of Trout Unlimited

Kurt D. Fausch, Ph.D., Fisheries Ecologist
July 30, 2018

Executive Summary:

   The ongoing removal of a third dam that blocks upstream movement of salmonids from Lake Michigan into the Boardman River will allow the option for upstream passage of steelhead through a planned selective fish passage facility at the Union Street Dam site. Steelhead spawners have the potential to produce large numbers of juveniles, which rear in Great Lakes tributaries for two to three years and would interact with juveniles of resident brook and brown trout.

   This has raised a fundamental question among stakeholders interested in the resident trout, and especially brook trout which are native to the watershed, about whether juvenile steelhead could outcompete brook trout and reduce their survival and abundance. The purpose of this report is to evaluate this question in light of the scientific research available.

Read Full Report Here:


Adams Chapter TU Annual Weekend at Wa Wa Sum Lodge





The Adams Chapter annual weekend at WA WA Sum Lodge east of Grayling begins after 3:30 PM on Friday, September 14th and runs through Sunday, September 16th.  Arrival time on Friday is AFTER 3:30 as another group is there ahead of us.  This is an informal weekend for fishing, upland game (off site), sitting on the porch . .
     The WA WA Sum Lodge is an historic and rustic log building with a great porch over looking the Au Sable River. Sleeping arrangements are dorm style so bring your own bedding or sleeping bag and towels.  There are no private rooms and sleeping rooms do not have their own bathrooms.
The only organized meals will be on Friday and Saturday evenings.  The Mason Griffith Chapter is also holding their banquet on Saturday night nearby in Grayling if that is of interest.  Other meals are available nearby in Grayling, at Gates Lodge, or you can bring food with you.

The costs are:

$40.00 per night

$10.00 for Friday night dinner

$25.00 for Saturday night dinner

You will also be asked to contribute towards a tip for the caretaker.

Payment is by cash or check at the Lodge.

Space at the Lodge is limited.  Please email Mike at to make your reservation.

Please give your name,  the names of all who will be attending (if more than one), a phone number, and which nights and which dinners you will be there for.  We may be able to stay over on Sunday night so let us know if you are interested.

Please RSVP by August 12, 2018




Adams Chapter TU Fly Tying Workshop On Saturday, February 17, from 9:30 AM to 12 PM


A Family Fly Tying Workshop

Would you like to learn how to tie you own flies or brush up on the basics?

The Adams Chapter of Trout Unlimited is planning a Family Fly Tying Event for Saturday February 17, 2018 at the Grand Traverse Conservation Districts Learning Center at 1450 Cass Rd. from 9:30 AM to 12 pm.

This will be an entry level activity with basic fly tying fun for everyone. We’ll be starting with a few simple patterns of the famous “Woolly Bugger” fly or a Bead Head Leech. All necessary equipment and materials will be provided for you to begin your fly tying experience.

The event will be Free of charge for anyone attending so bring the entire family. Refreshments will be provided along with instructors and the opportunity to win an Adams Chapter hat or decals. Family memberships to Trout Unlimited will also be available for purchase at this event.

Space is limited to 20 tiers, so don’t delay. Please call and make your family reservation today, time is short and we need to make our final plans for this special event.

We are also very grateful to have representatives from The Northern Angler and Streamside Orvis on hand with vices and materials and a wealth of knowledge for new and experienced Fly Fishers.

Call Greg Miller, event planner at 989 528-0405 or by e-mail to We are looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday the 17th at the Nature Center for a few hours of fly tying fun.


Adams Chapter TU Meeting With the MDNR Discuss Boardman River Fish Passage


“The leadership of The Adams Chapter of Trout Unlimited was invited to attend a meeting with The Michigan DNR and other stakeholders to discuss the topic of fish passage on The Boardman River.  Our chapter position has been that we are requesting The DNR to deny the upstream passage of any non-native species, including salmon and steelhead in order to allow the current wild trout populations to settle in to life without dams on The Boardman River.  We were very pleased that The DNR did commit to NOT passing any species above The Union Street dam until at least the Fishpass system can be tested and potentially implemented.  It’s expected that Fishpass will not be operational until at least 2025.  This gives us a number of years to make every effort to support a thriving wild trout population already in existence on The Boardman without competition from non-native anadromous fish including salmon and steelhead.  The DNR further committed to working with our group on future meetings to ensure our resources and efforts are maximized toward the effort of protecting and improving the wild trout population on The Boardman.  There’s a lot of work to do in the coming years and we want to thank all of you who have offered assistance in the past.  We hope to continue to have your support going forward.  The Boardman is a very unique fishery with it’s extremely cool water temperatures and a growing population of wild brook trout.  We look forward to working with The DNR and other groups to make sure it’s trout continue trending in the positive direction.”



Boardman River Eroding Bank Work Project


From a Successful Banquet Auction to a Successful Stream Project

Several individuals stepped up at the Adams Chapter TU banquet this past spring to pledge financial support to restore a severely eroding bank along a remote section of the Boardman River downstream from the Fork’s State Campground. This was the first time we tried an auction to get support for a stream project with nothing in return but the satisfaction of knowing that their donation was going to a specific project that would really make a difference on one of our streams.

This site is known in the Boardman River Watershed Report as S456.  The Report lists this site as Moderate trending toward Severe.  Earlier attempts to stabilize this bank using trees and brushes slowed the progression but the anchoring method failed and the wood eventually washed away leaving the bank raw and vulnerable. The site is especially challenging due to its remote location.  Restoration materials including habitat structures, coir (coconut fiber) logs, and tools will have to be floated into the site.


On September 23rd, a group of nine Adams Chapter Members, Directors and other volunteers paddled from The Forks campground into the eroding streambank site a mile or so downstream.  The site had been a source of sediment entering the river for years but its relatively remote location made it difficult one to repair.  The process entailed removing loose chunks of sod and debris in preparation for the installation of Bio Logs at the water line.  Bio Logs are basically eight foot long mesh tubes filled with coconut husks.  They were staked into the bank then back filled with sod and soil and other material to create a much more durable bank that is much less prone to erosion.  Once the site was graded to a more gradual slope, it was seeded and covered with straw so new vegetation can grow.

The project only took a couple of hours to finish thanks to the number of volunteers that came out to help. Others waited for us down stream at out take out site with a bar-b-que meal and drinks all ready for the hungry and thirsty volunteers.



The Ottaway – A River Reborn


The Ottaway – A River Reborn

Here’s the airing schedule for CMU public television and their 5-station state network for broadcasting “The Ottaway – A River Reborn”.

WCMU will air:
July 23 4:00PM
August 14 12:30AM
August 17 10:00PM (This is our Michigan Programming Night)

WCMU           Mt. Pleasant
WCML            Alpena
WCMW          Manistee
WCMV           Cadillac
WCMZ            Flint

Description of the one-hour documentary,
How will the decisions we make today impact the future of our Planet 100 years from now?

Few people today ask that question and even fewer asked that question 100 years ago when they used and sometimes abused the Boardman River to “benefit humanity”.

The one-hour documentary, The Ottaway – A river Reborn, explores the history and future of humanity’s relationship with the Boardman River. Through the hearts of minds of various stakeholders, a story unfolds about the challenges of turning back the hands of time by removing the three upper dams and modifying a fourth to once again connect the river with the waters of Lake Michigan. This film weaves together Native values, the complexity of a changing society, and the unspoken voices of nature’s population of “environmental citizen’s” whose lives are interwoven with… the rebirth of the Ottaway.

This documentary also offers a blueprint on how communities across Michigan can navigate similar challenges of dealing with the 2500 outdated dams in the state that face the same fate as those near Traverse City.

Welcome to the Adams Chapter of Trout Unlimited





1b_b29460_t11.jpg Thank you for visiting The Adams Chapter website. If you are a frequent visitor, welcome back.

 If you are a first time visitor or new to the area please browse through our site. There is a lot of good information on our chapter and what we are doing. Please check back often for updates and coming events.

 If you are a visiting fly-fisher, you might want to check out the “Our Rivers” tab which will have information on the rivers in our district including the Boardman River, Platte River, and the Betsie River. It also includes information on some rivers close to us including the AuSable and Manistee Rivers. You may also want to check out our links on the “Our Links” Tab. Here you can find links to the DNR fishing reports for our area; Maps of inland lakes in Michigan; links to Fly Fishing shops and other clubs businesses in our area.

 But most of all, Enjoy your visit with us.