In 2019, Headwaters TU developed and launched its Fish Passage Program (FPP). The FPP’s purpose is to, “Restore our cold water streams to be free flowing without obstructions to fish.” This includes dams, culverts and any structure which restricts trout from being able to migrate throughout the river system.
Trout move upstream as well as downstream through-out their life cycle. From a little fry to a fingerling to an adult brood stock they search for food and structure in order to survive and reproduce. In hot weather they may move in search of cooler water. In spring or fall they move to find the right gravel and water temperature to spawn on what is known as a redd bed.
In 2008 the Hydro Dam on the Pigeon River at the Song of the Morning property failed which resulted in a massive fish kill of trout. Headwaters officers and membership played a part on insisting the complete removal of the Dam to allow for fish to migrate the river system.
During this same time frame, our conservations partners, Huron Pines and MIDNR undertook the task of identifying all road/stream crossings which needed to be replaced for proper fish passage. Huron Pines is still active in replacing road/stream crossings. miles and miles of streams have been opened to our trout thanks to their efforts.
Each year, the Headwaters TU Conservation Committee focuses on the removal of old trapped out beaver dams in association with the FPP. The FPP gathers this data from trappers, angler reports and our conservation partners. As needed, Headwaters plans beaver dam removals, asks for volunteers, and removes beaver dams one stick at a time. It’s a great way to have some fun in the water and to connect with other like minded individuals. In the past few years Headwaters FPP has removed over 10 beaver dams. The trout love it!
If you would like to be a part of the FPP or volunteer for beaver dam removals, or any other conservation projects, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was written and submitted to Headwaters TU by Gary Isaman, photo by Alex Cerveniak.