A legal ditch system was constructed in 1951 to drain 21 square miles in Traverse County through a ravine into Lake Traverse. Since the construction of this legal ditch system the channel has eroded, down cutting approximately 18 feet in some areas, which passed the sediment into the Lake. This has resulted in damage to adjacent lands, water quality degradation within the lake, and the development of a significant sediment delta within the lake at the outlet of the ditch.
By working with a project team of stakeholders, the most desirable solution was to first stabilize the channel to prevent further down cutting. An assessment district was formed to provide a local source of funding to match competitive grants. Due to the large nature of the project and limitations on outside funding this project was split into several more manageable phases. Stabilization of the project was completed using a series of boulder weirs. These boulder weirs were designed to control the steep gradient of the channel while providing habitat and flow velocity more attractive for fish passage.
Construction of the first phase began in 2020, and construction of Phase 2 began in 2021. These first phases were funded 100% by outside sources. Construction of Phase 3 is anticipated to begin in 2023, the funding of Phase 3 is still in progress.