Mitigation of the Whitney Intercounty Drain’s severe erosion provided significant environmental and water quality benefits. The $2.9 million project features a wide variety of river restoration and best management practices (BMPs.) The natural design approach will reduce erosion, while also improving water quality and fishery habitat within the drain and in the downstream receiving waters of the Saginaw Bay.
The Board’s goal, to prevent property loss and protect roads and bridges through the stabilization of the Whitney Intercounty Drain, has been achieved. More than ten miles of streambed and side slopes have been stabilized, while maintaining and improving the channel’s hydraulic capacity. Instream structures are working as designed and plants and grasses planted as part of the project are well established. The natural channel design approach used will reduce future sediment loading and is expected to substantially improve water quality.
Improving fishery habitat and passage was also a high priority. Rock riffle structures installed are intended to improve existing habitat for aquatic organisms while maintaining passage for migrating fish from Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay to upstream reaches of the Whitney Intercounty Drain. The planting of native vegetation along the channel banks will provide shade that will help maintain cool water temperatures for existing fish populations and aid in the long-term stability of the restored channel banks and floodplain.