FishPass Updates

Updated Apr, 2024

Dear partners and stakeholders:

On behalf of the FishPass team, I am pleased to provide an update from the first quarter of 2024. Please distribute the update as you see fit.

Engineering Design / Construction:

  • The US Army Corps of Engineers and local contractor, Spence Brothers, have finalized contract re-negotiations, which were necessary due to litigation and the resulting project delays. Using existing resources and budgeted project contingencies, construction will start on all in-stream work (i.e. replacement of the failing Union Street Dam, and other "wet" work) in the coming weeks. These critical FishPass elements are estimated to be complete in 2026. Construction of the remaining upland, or "dry," project elements is anticipated to occur by 2026, if not before, with project construction on track to be completed in 2027. As a direct result of the lawsuit and resulting project delay, total project costs are higher than the original contract price of $19.3 million. During the litigation period, the cost of sheet piling increased the project price to $20.2 million. Post-litigation, the critical in-stream FishPass elements increased by $3.2 million (13%) from $20.2 million to $23.4 million. The important elements in the upland area of the site will also need to be re-negotiated. However, with the funding that has been secured for in-stream and upland project elements to-date, and the time available over the next few years to acquire additional contingency funding to cover any further cost increases, the GLFC is confident that FishPass will be completed on time and within budget.
  • While more details are expected in the coming weeks, construction activity is anticipated to start in May 2024.


  • January - FishPass Assessment Plan long-term monitoring of hydrologic and water quality data in the Boardman / Ottaway River 2017-2023 was posted on the Environmental Data Initiative database. These data will be updated annually by GLFC staff and are freely available here.
  • February - The FishPass Advisory Board met in Traverse City to discuss research coordination, data management, commissioning research plans, and progress updates from ongoing research and assessment activities.


  • 29 January 2024 - GLFC staff participated in the Nurturing the Eighth Fire Summit hosted by the cultural resources support team for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians' Natural Resources Department. The summit centered on discussions of Mino-bimaadiziwin, the Good Life, an Anishinaabe philosophy for living in balance with all of Creation. The goal of the summit was to enhance local community knowledge of Anishinaabe culture and language, build awareness of Anishinaabe protocols and support current and future partnerships.
  • 4 & 6 March 2024 - GLFC staff presented FishPass research and served on an expert panel, titled Accelerating progress: Solutions through innovative technology, selective fish passage and a dynamic science-knowledge-policy interface at the 9th World Fisheries Congress in Seattle, WA.
  • 21 & 22 March - USGS researchers presented preliminary results from a FishPass supplemental research project evaluating Spatio-Temporal Drift Patterns of Larval Fishes in the Boardman (Ottaway) River at the Michigan Chapter of the American Fisheries Society meeting.


  • 16 April 2024 - Reid Swanson (GLFC) will present an invited talk, FishPass - a vision for selective fish passage solutions to the connectivity conundrum, at Free Flow- International conference on protecting and restoring free-flowing rivers Oosterpoort, Groningen, Netherlands
  • 17 April 2024 - The GLFC will host a screening of the award-winning documentary Relentless, which chronicles the history of the invasive sea lamprey in the Laurentian Great Lakes. The event will occur 6:00-8:30 pm at the Dennos Museum Center Milliken Auditorium, 1701 E. Front Street, Traverse City, MI. This is a free event and to watch the trailer and register visit
  • 5-9 May 2024 - Dan Zielinski (GLFC) will present a talk, Exploration of the science supporting selective connectivity at fish migration barriers, at the 15th International Symposium on Ecohydraulics and Fish Passage in Québec City, Canada.
  • 16 May 2024 - A community celebration of FishPass will be held at the Traverse City Opera House with an exclusive screening of the documentary "The Ottaway; A River Reconnected". Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres at 4:30pm with the film premier from 6-7:30pm. Registration is required for this free event, sponsored by the GLFC:
  • 25 May 2024 - Reid Swanson (GLFC), Frank Dituri (City of Traverse City), Karen Murchie (Director of Freshwater Research- Shedd Aquarium & FishPass science team member), and additional GLFC staff will host an educational table at a World Fish Migration Day event at The John G. Shedd Aquarium - Chicago, Illinois. World Fish Migration Day is a global awareness campaign celebrated every two years to highlight the connections that migratory fishes have with human and non-human species, lands, and waters. This day is marked by celebrations, events, and action campaigns organized by people around the world to connect fish, rivers, and people. More information on World fish Migration Day can be found here:
  • 1 June 2024 - Reid Swanson (GLFC) will provide an educational presentation on the concept, design, and research of FishPass at the annual meeting of the Paul H. Young chapter of Trout Unlimited at Camp Wa Wa on the AuSable River.

In the News:

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