Restoration Project

Project Description

The Thornapple River Restoration Project removed the Nashville Dam on the mainstem of the Thornapple River and the Maple Hill Dam on Butternut Creek, a tributary of the Thornapple, in order to remove fish passage barriers and create 60 miles of unimpeded fish passage and quality aquatic habitat on the mainstem and connect 105 tributary miles. The Nashville Dam impounded 80 acres of water in its Mill Pond, which was characterized as eutrophic to hypereutrophic. Over 40 properties were impacted by the dam drawdown, with approximately 60 acres of newly exposed floodplain emerging.

The project’s Floodplain Restoration Phase included: monitoring emergent vegetation; removing invasive species such as purple loosestrife and garlic mustard as needed to control spreading; and inter-planting native tree, shrub, emergent and submergent plant species to assist in the re-development of a natural floodplain corridor. The planting project stabilized banks and provided river canopy and overhanging vegetation to improve fish and macroinvertebrate habitat. The Floodplain Restoration Phase also focused on community outreach and education for Mill Pond landowners, providing hands-on workshops on riparian buffer development and invasive species management.

In addition to plant materials, participating landowners received assistance in monitoring, planting and maintaining their riparian areas. These areas will serve as demonstration sites to promote community interest in maintaining natural vegetative buffers. The Floodplain Restoration Phase resulted in at 12 landowners dedicating 3606 feet of river frontage (of varying depth) to natural riparian habitat development.

Click here to see Pre-and Post-project Monitoring and Maintenance.
Click here to see Measures of Success.

Developed by VERTICES