TU completes first phase of Tippy Dam site bank restoration in Michigan

By Matthias Bonzo 

Trout Unlimited was part of a multi-partner project this year at an eroding stream bank located along the Manistee River below Tippy Dam in Wellston, Mich.

The site, known as the Tunk Hole, was eroding severely due to intense foot traffic from recreational use. This area receives some of the highest angler pressure in the state due to migratory salmon and steelhead fishing opportunities. Erosion is an issue because of the spot’s location on an outside riverbend, but erosion was exacerbated by people accessing the river.   

Heavy angler pressure contributed to the heavy erosion at the restoration site.

The project along 250 feet of riverbank featured an innovative technique using wood at the toe of the bank, biodegradable fabric-wrapped soil lifts and planted native vegetation.    

The area is a designated Wild and Scenic corridor on National Forest Service land.

Restoration methods utilized innovative techniques using wood at the toe of the bank, fabric encapsulated soil lifts, the creation of an in-stream log complex for habitat enhancement, and native plantings.

The bio-engineered stream bank will provide access to anglers and other recreational users while maintaining streambank stability. With the worst segment of erosion fixed along nearly 250 feet of stream bank, we look forward to the subsequent phases of this project which will aim to restore over 1000 additional feet. 

Trout Unlimited would like to thank all the many partners involved including the Huron Manistee National Forest , the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the Great Lakes Fishery Trust.