Concerns and Pollutants
Although the Iron River is one of the finest brook trout streams in the Upper Peninsula, a number of factors threaten its condition. Like most waters throughout the United States, non-point source pollution–or pollution caused when rain, wind, or snow carry pollutants into waterbodies–is the biggest reason for decline in water quality. Pollutants such as sediment (dirt, sand, clay particles), nutrients (excess fertilizer, animal waste, etc.), or toxic chemicals from automobiles, businesses, or homes accumulate in the water and leave a lasting negative impact. In the Iron River, sediment is the primary pollutant of concern. Understanding what these pollutants do and where they come from is the first step in preventing their future impact and improving our water today.
Farming has long been a vital part of the health and success of our nation. However, it has at times also led to the detriment of many of our waterways. Erosion from fields, excess fertilizer in runoff, and the harm to water quality from livestock in an around the stream can have serious consequences.
In the Iron River watershed, we worked with local farmers to help protect the shoreline and water quality of the Iron River. For years, cattle had free access to the Iron River and would frequent the river during the warm summer months to drink. As a result, areas of stream bank had eroded and sediment and livestock waste flowed in the river. As part of the Iron River Watershed Project, we teamed with a landowner to install fence to protect approximately one mile of frontage along the Iron River. In addition, we also provided a well and watering system to supply his cattle with an alternate, safe source of water.