Pleasant Passageway

Source: Monroe News
By: Charles Slat

Tons of rock and stone are being dumped into the River Raisin in Monroe to sculpt the waterway into a more pleasant passageway for fish and people.
Lee & Ryan, a Greenfield, Ind., contractor, is altering the areas around low dams in the river, creating a better spawning ground for game fish and better fishing grounds for anglers.
“We’re putting little swales in it for the fish and also some sitting stones,” explained Renne Mitchell, site superintendent for Lee & Ryan.
The crew used heavy equipment to ferry in huge boulders, “armor stone” and smaller crushed rock to the dam just south of Roessler St. so fish can make their way upriver to feed and spawn.
It’s another segment of an overall project begun last year to improve habitat and eliminate a series of dams that tend to block fish migration from Lake Erie.
The depth near the dam off W. Elm Ave. across from Norman Towers has been decreased to less than two feet from five feet by filling the downstream side of the dam with rock.
Mr. Mitchell said 2,300 tons of rock are being used to create better fish passage and better protect nearby banks and sewer lines that cross the river in the area.
The work on the dam was expected to be completed by today and the crew will move to a similar dam a bit farther downstream where 2,100 tons of rock are expected to be used in the same fashion.
Barry LaRoy, director of water and wastewater utilities for the City of Monroe, said placing the rocks along the dam above Sister’s Island was a bit complicated.
“The island splits the flow of the river as the flow goes around it,” he said. Placement of the stones had to account for that.
The “sitting stones” — large boulders placed just downstream of the dam — will provide a resting place for migrating fish because they will serve to block the force of the current for the fish before they proceed up over the dam and traverl farther upstream.
The boulders also will be handy perches for anglers who will be able to wade easily into that part of the river on top of the newly placed stone.
Dams removed or lowered last year already have seemed to improve the number of game fish in the river in downtown areas and has increased the number of fishermen in the downtown area.
After work on the two dams south of Roessler St. is completed, Lee & Ryan workers will move on to creating a fish channel through part of Veterans Park to skirt the Waterloo Dam and then will improve fish passages at the dam at Ida-Maybee Rd.
All the work is expected to be completed by the end of November at an expected cost of $1.39 million, mostly paid by federal grants.