Sunday, April 6, 2014

Damage Caused To The Cass River By Bridgeport Township

Many years ago the Cass River here in Bridgeport was very deep and had a strong current but that all changed once they dug the canal along Fayette St. in 1975.  The canal went from the pond in Davis Park, along Fayette St. out to the Cass River near the Fort St. Bridge.  This canal was dug to make a canoe path from the canoe launch in the pond in Davis Park out to the river.
Prior to the digging of the canal, the water naturally flowed from the wetlands on the other side of Fayette St. into the pond in Davis Park and then there was a small natural ditch where the over flow ran from the pond back into the Cass River.  The pond in Davis Park was so full of fish, even huge Pike.  That natural water flow kept the silt flushed out of the pond, kept that water fresh and crystal clear.  That was the natural order of things and it should not have been messed with.    The Cass River was deep, even during the lowest water levels in the summer, you could go out in the river in a boat, hang off the sides of the boat and never touch bottom in the river. And the pond in Davis Park, even during the summer when the water levels were low you could walk out into the pond and the water would be waist to chest deep.
Once they dug the canal it changed the flow of the river by diverting the water from the river down the canal into the pond. That caused the water flow in the river to not be strong enough to keep the silt flowing and it started depositing into the river.  The worst silting is right there by the end of the canal where it opens into the Cass River.  That silting is now so bad that the river there by the end of the canal and the Fort St. Bridge is now mostly huge sand bars, going from that spot down to the other side of the Fort St. Bridge. There is one small channel left there in that area that looks like it may have a little depth in it, but I haven't tested it to see how deep it is.  I have heard from other residents that other sections of the Cass River from the Fort St. Bridge to I-75 are also silted in to the point that you can walk across the river in the summer in several inches of water.  The area of the Cass River from the canal to the Davis Park Island is also silted in, again you have areas where you can walk across the river in several inches of water in the summertime.  From Davis Park Island to the old State St. Bridge, I am not sure how bad the silting is in that area.  I haven't tried walking across the river there, if I can't see bottom I don't try to walk it.  I don't know how the rest of the river from the old State St. Bridge down river is.  This summer I will try to check other areas of the Cass River and talk to residents along the river to find out.
The water that flowed from the Cass River down the canal into the pond in Davis Park interrupted the natural flow of the water from the wetlands.  Once those two flows collided with each other where the canal opened into the park at the culvert,  they created a swirling effect in the water flow, back eddies.  Again the water flow was no longer strong enough to keep the silt flushed out of the pond and it started depositing into the pond.  Now with the silting the pond in the park is dried up in the summertime.

There is no more fishing in the pond or in the river.  There is no more boating or canoeing in the pond or river.  There is not much of anything going on anymore in either place.  You used to see so much wildlife in and around the pond and river but much of it is gone now.

Someone should be responsible for cleaning this mess up, but who?  It has taken 30 years from the time the canal was dug for the damage to get to this point.  Now the sand bars are closing off the end of the canal most of the time from the flow of the river except during times of flooding.  Even if the river manages to totally close it off and go back to it's natural flow down the river, how many years will it take the river to repair the damage of silting on it's own? Another 30 years, maybe longer?

No comments:

Post a Comment