DETROIT -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District announces completion of the Frankenmuth fish passage project, located in the City of Frankenmuth, Saginaw County, Mich.
The construction contract, awarded to CTI and Associates, Inc., for $2.5 million in September 2014, was substantially completed in October 2015 – two weeks ahead of schedule. The fish passage project restores fishery access to more than 73 miles of river and spawning habitat. Previously, the dam prevented passage of walleye, lake sturgeon and other native species from accessing these valuable and historically significant areas. The fish passage project involves construction of a rock ramp providing an approximate three percent elevation increase up to and encompassing the existing dam’s footprint.
The project sponsor, the city of Frankenmuth, highlighted the significance of the fish passage project at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, October 27 in Frankenmuth, Mich. During that ceremony, various stakeholders celebrated completion of this project, designed to restore the walleye population in the Cass River, so it can be largely self-sustained through natural reproduction.
This project is authorized under the Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration, GLFER, program with some of the federal funds coming from the Great Lake Restoration Initiative, GLRI, with the city of Frankenmuth providing 35 percent of the overall project costs.
"The Corps has a long and proud history of involvement in environmental remediation projects throughout the nation, and this project exemplifies our commitment to ecosystem restoration in the Great Lakes region," said Lt. Col. Michael Sellers, district engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District.
The rock ramp was constructed in an approximate 350-foot section of the Cass River adjacent to and downstream from the Frankenmuth Dam. The rock ramp will allow various fish species, including walleye and lake sturgeon, to access spawning habitat that had been unreachable for more than 150 years since the dam was originally constructed.
Maximizing the opportunity to support natural fish reproduction, the project restores fish passage in Frankenmuth, continuing to rebuild the Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron fishery. The Great Lakes Fishery Commission, a joint taskforce of Great Lakes states and provinces in the United States and Canada, rated the project a "High Priority" when evaluating the fisheries and ecosystem benefits of the proposed project, according to the city of Frankenmuth Website. http://www.frankenmuthcity.com/information/damproject
The Cass River has been identified by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Partnership for the Saginaw Bay Watershed as being one of six rivers in the Saginaw Bay watershed key to increasing the natural reproduction of walleye
The Frankenmuth Dam is located on the Cass River in the city of Frankenmuth, approximately 20 miles south of Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay. The Cass River watershed drains about 908 square miles, and this region is part of the overall Saginaw River/Bay watershed.