Great Lakes Better Backroads Initiative Phase III
Huron Pines RC&D Council, Inc.
Basin Program Funds:
There are many high quality, cold water streams in Northern Michigan supporting
a multitude of cold water organisms. Road stream crossings are a source of erosion
and sedimentation into adjacent streams if they are not built with best management
practices (BMPs) or properly maintained. A comprehensive educational training
tool has been developed to instruct managers on techniques and strategies to
minimize sedimentation, and provide the scientific and economic rationale for
this resource protection. The tool needs to be applied on a broader scale to
more effectively reach all parties involved in road construction and maintenance.
In the two previous phases of this Initiative, project staff published a guidebook
called Great Lakes Better Backroads - Clean Water by Design and presented instructional
workshops to county road commissions. In this final phase, project staff completed
the education of agencies and planners responsible for road maintenance in the
Great Lakes region by targeting non-county road commission construction and
maintenance agencies. Through training and encouraging agencies, planners and
engineers to implement BMPs on backroad stream-crossings, sand will be kept
out of the streams and the overall health of the coldwater streams in Michigan
will be protected.
Project staff completed the editing of the Great Lakes Better Backroads - Clean
Water by Design guidebook and prepared it for printing. In order to facilitate
improved access to information, the Huron Pines RC&D Council made the guidebook
available on compact disk. They also scheduled workshops with many federal and
state agencies including the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan
Department of Natural Resources, United States Forest Service, municipal, county
and private engineers and attendees at a Midwest Fisheries and Wildlife Conference.
The Council conducted a total of 14 workshops that focused on the importance
of protecting the biological integrity of the high quality Northern Michigan
and Upper Great Lakes watersheds. Project staff used several stream crossings,
completed by country road commissions, as examples of BMPs for all road managers
to use. This highlighted the success of the previous education project staff
had implemented for the county road commissions. The Council also conducted
three statewide Local Technical Assistance Program conferences.
This project addressed a previously unmet need, in educating/training non-county
road commission construction and maintenance agencies about backroads maintenance
and road stream crossing construction, resulting in more wide scale applications
of BMPs for stream crossings and reduced erosion and cleaner lake and stream
resources in the northern Great Lakes states. The Council placed more than 1,200
Great Lakes Better Backroads, Clean Water by Design guidebooks into the hands
of resource agency employees, processional engineers and other interested individuals.
More than 750 foresters, biologists, engineers and planners attended one of
14 workshops or technical assistance conferences. At the Midwest Great Lakes
Regional Conference the Council reached 1,200 natural resource agency personnel
through a poster session.