Ruling allows "FishPass" project to continue on Traverse City’s Boardman-Ottaway River
The "FishPass" project on Traverse City’s Boardman-Ottaway River is now set to move forward. The Michigan Court of Appeals overturned a circuit court ruling on Thursday, October 20, which had stalled the project for over a year.
FishPass is designed to replace the Union Street dam with a a first-of-its kind, high tech structure that would block invasive species, like sea lamprey, while letting desirable fish continue upstream.
But resident Rick Buckhalter took legal action against the project, claiming it would quote “dispose of public parkland.” According to the City Charter, that requires a public vote. In June of 2021, circuit judge Thomas Power agreed.
The city, along with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, appealed that decision and now it’s been overturned. Marc Gaden is with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, which helped fund the project’s design.
"We’ve all been anxiously anticipating this ruling, and we’re ready to pick up where we left off almost two years ago on this," Gaden said.
That’s when local contractors Spence Brothers were selected to build FishPass. Now, Gaden says that contract will be re-negotiated before construction can begin.