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Revival of Saginaw Bay’s Marine Ecosystem

Saginaw Bay’s warm waters serve as inner-bay were suitable for restoration, cess was recorded and a documentary nursery grounds for many ? sh species with the Coreyon Reef identi? ed as a was ? lmed featuring the initial post- and support the ? sheries of both Sagi- priority restoration site. With ? nancial construction examination work. The naw Bay and the main basin of Lake support from the EPA and Saginaw documentary premiered at the Thunder

Huron. Historically, inner Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network, Bay International Film Festival in

Bay contained rock reefs that provided the collaborative reef restoration team January 2020.

critical habitats, spawning grounds, began moving forward with the design, JW Fishers SeaLion-2 Remote Oper- and juvenile areas for many native ? sh permitting, construction, and restora- ated Vehicle (ROV) was also a key species. This includes Walleye, Small- tion of the Coreyon Reef. part of this project. The ROV was used mouth Bass, and Suckers during the The project was approved and funded as a visual aid to ensure that the rocks spring and Lake White? sh, Cisco, Lake by a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative were placed correctly and it was also

Trout, and Burbot in the fall. (GLRI) grant of $980,000 and a grant used to monitor the new reef’s activ-

As human development increased of $25,000 from Saginaw Bay Water- ity. “We did also use our JW Fishers’ in Michigan, this critical habitat was shed Initiative Network (Saginaw Bay SSS-dual frequency side scan sonar for largely lost due to sedimentation result- WIN). The total project is just over $1 additional assessment but unfortunately ing from land use changes such as log- million. In the end, two acres of reef the ? lming didn’t capture that,” said Dr. ging and agriculture. The loss of inner habitat were restored. David Fielder, Michigan DNR. “On the

Saginaw Bay’s rock reefs contributed There are several project partners for whole, JW Fishers’ equipment played to the 1940s collapse of Saginaw Bay’s the restoration project, but the prin- a central role in that habitat work. We

Walleye ? shery and negatively impact- ciples are the Michigan Department of will be going back out there at ‘ice ed local populations of Lake White? sh, Natural Resources (Michigan DNR) out’ to take another look (with hope-

Lake Trout, Burbot, and other species. Fisheries Division and the Michigan fully better visibility).” Ice out, as Dr.

The reefs were determined to be in dire Environmental and Great Lakes & Fielder mentioned, is when the Spring need of restoration to bring back the Energy Department (Michigan EGLE), thaw allows for suf? cient melting to ecosystem that once thrived. Remediation Division. continue operations.

A link to feature length documentary

The results of a multi-year assess- Construction began in early 2019 and can be found at ment found that conditions in the completed by the fall of 2019. The pro-

JW Fish- ers SeaLion-2

Remote Operated

Vehicle (ROV) was a key part of this project.

Credit: JW Fishers 16 November/December 2020

MTR #9 (1-17).indd 16 11/3/2020 12:22:52 PM

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