The Department of Natural Resources has completed a project that helped restore the natural flow back to the Ocqueoc River in Presque Isle County.
The project included removing large concrete abutments from a grist mill that operated at this site in the early 1910's.
"The project became necessary to help protect public safety and restore the stream corridor and the river's natural flow regime," said DNR fisheries biologist Tim Cwalinski.
Cwalinski explained it took approximately 100 years for the water flow and ice to deteriorate the thick concrete walls - which stood 15 feet tall on both sides of the river.
"Within the last year, large portions of the 5-foot-thick concrete walls had fallen into the river restricting flow through the already narrow corridor," Cwalinski said. "As the walls fell into the river, flow was constricted and significant amounts of sediments entered the water."
The Ocqueoc River Grist Mill project is located near the Ocqueoc Falls day-use area and rustic campground located between Onaway and Rogers City. This area has more than 60,000 visitors each year. According to the DNR, the fallen concrete had become a safety issue for both swimmers and kayakers.
"A contractor has completed the abutment removal project and we'll be working on stabilizing the river banks with native vegetation this summer," said Cody Stevens, Atlanta unit manager with the DNR's Forest Resources Division.
A portion of the project was funded by an Aquatic Habitat Grant awarded to the DNR earlier this spring to help protect the Ocqueoc River.