Stream-Bank Erosion Inventory to be conducted by the Au Sable River Watershed Restoration Committee
The Au Sable River Watershed Restoration Committee will begin collecting survey data necessary for updating the Au Sable River Watershed Management Plan. This summer two inventories will be completed, a stream-bank erosion inventory and an invasive plant species inventory. Next year additional surveys will be conducted.
The stream-bank erosion inventory will be conducted on the Au Sable’s main stream and its five largest tributaries, the North Branch, South Branch, East Branch, Big Creek near Luzerne, and Big Creek near Lovells. Additional tributaries downstream of Mio will be added to this list if volunteers are available.
The Restoration Committee is inviting groups and individuals to assist us with gathering this data critical to the watershed management plan. The 350 miles of river to be surveyed will be divided into 30 reaches ranging from ten to fifteen miles or four to five canoe hours each. Most reaches can be inventoried in one or two days. Stream reaches where a larger number of erosion sites are expected to be inventoried are shorter in length than those with fewer anticipated sites. There are also several reaches that are not floatable, and therefore available for the adventurous bush-whacker types.
A trained team familiar with how to fill out data sheet, measuring techniques, and using GPS units will be assigned to each reach of river. Accurate measurements are critical to the integrity of the survey. Training sessions for participants and will be conducted at erosion sites in the Grayling and Mio in late April. The team leaders must attend one of the sessions and ideally all participates should be trained. Training sessions will be conducted by Huron-Pines and Committee. Training times will vary to accommodate volunteers traveling to the area.
In the reaches upstream of Mio, two-man teams are sufficient. Below Mio where erosion sites are significantly larger, three man teams are advised. A single person can handle the bush-whacking reaches where sites are likely to be minor and far between. The Committee has a list of available volunteers but most team leaders usually recruit other team members. Canoes are available for those that need one. The survey can be conducted any time prior to September 1st. Downstream of Mio, in reaches where there is a shortage of volunteers, the survey may have to be completed in 2011. Survey results will be compiled this fall and published this winter.
The first stream-bank erosion survey was conducted in 1990. That survey inventoried 450 erosion sites and categorized them into severe, moderate, or minor depending on the volume and rate of eroding material entering the river. Over 200 of these sites were treated by Committee and partner projects when the river was inventoried a second time in the year 2000. It is likely that the total number of erosion sites inventoried in the watershed this year will be under one hundred. A listing of reaches to be surveyed, a watershed map, and the data form to be used are available for viewing at the Committee’s website: www.ausablerestoration.org
Many of the thirty reaches of river are still available. If you are interested in becoming a team leader or participating in the erosion inventory please contact Bob Andrus at 989-390-2814 or