THE FLINT RIVER
The Downtown Flint River has been a major topic of controversy. This ecology study wants to highlight, locally and globally, that the river has a healthy diversity of species, and should be one of the highlights of Flint.
MORE PROJECT INFORMATION
The Flint River Ecology Study will document how the restoration will effect the local ecology.
The Hamilton Dam
In 1920 the Hamilton Dam was originally built. The dam lost much of its structural integrity and had to be demolished in 2018.
The Hamilton Dam was removed as part of the Flint Riverfront Restoration Project. Click here for more info. The removal of the dam left a concrete weir (a low dam) in the river. It alters the rivers' natural flow causing quality issues.
Natural Rock Rapids
The next phase in the Flint Riverfront Restoration Project will replace the weir with a natural rock rapids. Since dams cause rivers to become fragmented, this will allow the species to move upstream.
A New Ecosystem
Replacing the weir with rock rapids will improve the waterway for wildlife. The river in this section can provide a good fishery for multiple species, if the fish can have access to both down AND upstream.
The Flint River Ecology Study has acquired a permit allowing cast netting, electro-fishing, and gill netting. Using these different and unique catching styles makes for abundant and efficient fishing.
Most fish caught are weighed, measured, and a scale sample is taken for data. The fish are all tagged with a recorded number. Some fin clippings are taken for DNA to determine species type, a process called genetic barcoding.
All fish are released back into the river in the location they were retrieved from, with the exception of a small number of fish sampled for heavy metal testing. Otherwise, no fish are harmed during any steps of the study and the Flint River Ecology Study are prepared to re-catch already tagged fish for further research.
The Flint River Ecology Study knows people have their doubts about the Flint River. The team wants the public to know the answers and the facts. This research isn't just for the future of students or the weir, it's for the future of the City of Flint and everyone who lives here.
Radar images are important for determining the depth of the river, as well as the structure of it. Radar imaging is necessary in mapping differences from before the weir is removed compared to after. Changes in depth and structure could mean a different diversity of fish. Flint River Ecology Study hopes taking out the weir can benefit species population and communities.