April 14, 2021

Featured photo of Brown Bridge Bottomlands

Brown Bridge Bottomlands

Grand Traverse Conservation District
Active since 2021
Michigan, US

Log Description

Thank you for your interest in this project!  What you're looking at used to be Brown Bridge pond, which was a 192-acre impoundment formed by Brown Bridge Dam.  Brown Bridge dam was built in 1921 to produce hydroelectric power for Traverse City. After decommissioning in 2004, the dam was ultimately removed in 2012 allowing the Boardman “Ottaway” River to once again flow freely through its relic channel for the first time in nearly a century.  Dams not only block paddlers, but also block the movement of fish and other essential elements important to a healthy connected river system.  Removal of the dams and impoundments led to an anticipated drop in the river’s temperature increasing the available dissolved oxygen in the water, which in turn helps support cold-water fish like trout and aquatic insect species. 

The Grand Traverse Conservation District  serves as managers of the Brown Bridge Quiet Area property for the City of Traverse City and has helped to coordinate the installation of over 20,000+ native seedlings and tree species in the newly exposed bottomlands.  Included in these restoration projects is the placement of large wood at strategic locations in the river, which protects river bends and creates habitat. These restoration efforts are ongoing and active, so please stay on designated trails to allow vegetation to grow undisturbed.  With your help through Chronolog, we will be able to visually track the success of the restoration processes over time to show how what was once a barren landscape will continue to become a thriving ecosystem surrounding a healthy river. For more information on the removal of the dams, please visit www.theboardman.org.

About Grand Traverse Conservation District

The Grand Traverse Conservation District  manages and protects over 2,500 acres of public parklands in Grand Traverse County, Michigan, including the stewardship & protection of the Boardman-Ottaway River.  Management activities include the coordination and implementation of large-scale restoration projects associated with the removal of Brown Bridge, Boardman, and Sabin Dams. To date, we've coordinated the installation of over 60,000 native seedlings, plants, and trees within the three former impoundments. We’re asking you to help us document changes to the ‘bottomlands’ of the former ponds by uploading to Chronolog, a photo monitoring tool powered by people like you.  For more information on GTCD, please visit www.natureiscalling.org.


Coordinates: 44.645252, -85.510157

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