Riverkeepers: Finding Big Creek
For nearly 40 years the beaver have had their way with the West Branch of Big Creek.
Dozens of dams, some a hundred feet long and years of digging by the exploding beaver population mean what was once a special little trout stream full of wild Brook trout has become silted in and slow-moving.
And that has had impact beyond the stream's boundaries.
A watershed within the AuSable North Branch watershed, Big Creek empties into the North Branch below North Down River Road. Warmer water and disappearing Brook trout spawning gravel are seen by some as a contributing factor to the drop in Brook trout numbers across the system.
Over the past few years almost 200 beaver have been removed from the headwaters of the West Branch of Big Creek and volunteers, lead by Steve Johnson, of Mason-Griffith Founders Chapter of Trout Unlimited, have waded in to tear out the beaver dams and give the stream a chance to repair itself.
In this video you'll see volunteers from TU and Anglers of the AuSable working to get the water moving again. You'll hear Johnson and Steve Sendek, of Northpoint Fisheries Management, talk about the ongoing efforts to give Big Creek back to the trout.
The Riverkeepers series on AuSableTrout.com explores the work of organizations and volunteers who do good work for Michigan's northern rivers. We hope you'll consider contacting one of these organizations to join or volunteer. And if you have a good 'Riverkeeper' idea, please let us know at info@AuSableTrout.com.