The Boardman-Ottaway: A River Reborn is the largest comprehensive dam removal effort in Michigan’s history and one of the most significant in the Great Lakes Basin. The overall project involved removing three dams (Brown Bridge, Boardman and Sabin) on the Boardman River, originally known as the Ottaway by the Ojibwa and Odawa Native Americans. The project reconnects 160 miles of river and tributaries that were fragmented by the dams for 126 years. An estimated seven miles of river and tributaries that were buried under impoundments are now daylighted, and their adjacent floodplains and upland corridors restored. Outdoor recreation abounds with paddlers, hikers and anglers enjoying the recovered river, and community safety is improved with removal of the aging infrastructure. Fish, wildlife and aquatic insects thrive in the cold water, gravel habitat that was once forgotten under the sediment-laden warm water impoundments.
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