The Lower Rouge River Culvert Inventory to Improve Fish Passage
Friends of the Rouge Monitoring Team begins Road Crossing Inventory Project
The monitoring team has begun an exciting new project entitled “Lower Rouge River Culvert Inventory to Improve Fish Passage.” This project involves surveying road crossings throughout the Lower Branch of the Rouge River that are limiting fish passage and natural flow. Inventorying road crossings in the Lower tributaries is the first step in identifying potential perched and improperly sized culverts that can then be prioritized for projects and funding. Road crossing surveys will be conducted based on the Great Lakes Road Stream Crossing Inventory protocol, and this inventory will help to fill a large data gap in southeast Michigan.
FOTR staff has been working closely with DNR Fisheries Division Fisheries Biologist John Buszkiewicz to develop this project, as well as to identify and assign sites to be included in the inventory. Development of this inventory is very important because fish and freshwater mussels depend on free passage along the river; however many stream crossings impede fish movements and fragment habitat. Some species that could benefit from this project are smallmouth bass, northern logperch, gizzard shad, white sucker, northern hogsucker, white bass, emerald shiner, lilliput and rainbow mussels, and more! FOTR staff and partners attended a training given by Patrick Ertel from the Michigan DNR on June 14th, and two sites within the Rouge watershed were inventoried and included on the Great Lakes Road Stream Crossing database!