On a recent, and rare, relatively warm afternoon a friend of mine and I floated the Boardman from the Forks to Brown Bridge to inspect the river for downed trees blocking the river. It was this same friend that I talked into floating the Boardman last year on St. Patrick’s Day. What a difference a year makes. Last year the heavy wet snowstorm we received the first weekend of March caused downfalls so thick it looked like a tornado had hit in places. On top of that high flows from melting snow due to 80 degree temperatures made it a memorable trip indeed. This year, the only 80 degree temperature to be seen was on the Weather Channel and it wasn’t anywhere close to northern Michigan.
Though on this trip we didn’t encounter the jungle we found last year we did encounter four areas that required portaging. There are also reported blockages downstream of Garfield road to Shumsky Landing. Volunteer crews plan to open the river once the temperatures warm and high spring flows subside.
Another difference a year makes is we now have 13,500 feet of new river channel where the former Brown Bridge Pond once existed. This river is now flowing in the same channel where it flowed for hundreds and thousands of years prior to being dammed in 1922.
Crews will seed the newly formed floodplain along the edge of the river this spring with a native seed mix. People are being asked to stay off these areas to allow for the new plants to become established and to prevent invasives from moving in. The Boardman River Dams Implementation Team is planning a “river opening” event is May. Stay tuned for details.
Please feel free to contact me if you have questions.
– Steve Largent, Boardman River Program Coordinator