The Traverse City DDA established the Lower Boardman River Leadership Team as an ad hoc group with diverse interests to encourage and foster development of a Unified Plan that protects, restores, and preserves access and wise use of the 1.6 miles of the  Boardman River that is located in Downtown. This includes identifying policies, facilities, amenities, programs, and other considerations that should be implemented to encourage balanced/wise/sustainable/reasonable use and enjoyment of this natural resource in Downtown Traverse City.

The Lower Boardman River Unified Plan is to be developed with the engagement of all interests to take advantage of expertise and input.  Just as the plan may identify priorities for recreational, educational and interpretive initiatives, so should it identify projects involving land/water management policies and projects to address stormwater management and control habitat, protection, and enhancement.

The Unified Plan will include a collective vision for the Lower Boardman and the actions, results and schedule to achieve that vision.  It will spell-out how the River can be protected, restored and preserved and how we can ensure that people of all ages, needs, and abilities can access and enjoy this incredible resource that we share.   

The Leadership Team hosts monthly meetings and is kicking off a public engagement initiative to gather input for the development of the Unified Plan.

Vision & Values

The following guiding values have been identified by the Leadership Team as a framework for the Unified Plan.

  • Reflect the City’s commitment to the River as a public resource and asset to be passed to residents and visitors in perpetuity.
  • Contain public goals for the River and City, in keeping with the community’s visions about what the River is and can become as a centerpiece for downtown identity and ethos.
  • Use the natural and cultural values of the River as a guide for decisions about the commercial, economic or utilitarian values to be leveraged for the public good.
  • Be explicit to the commitment to improve, restore and protect the health and integrity of the Riparian ecosystem of the lower River.
  • Provide that the recommended initiatives contained in the Plan will account for the impact of those initiatives on residents, habitats and the ecological status of the River.
  • Serve to foster and sustain partnerships with shared responsibilities among public and private stakeholders who share the value that the Boardman is a “common resource” that connects everyone.
  • Identify/prioritize opportunities for multi-modal access to the River.
  • Enhance ecological and aesthetic River conditions, take advantage of and integrate iconic structures and identify new sites and structures that serve as destination or centers of programming to attract year-round access.
  • Integrate existing river walks and pathways with new connections between sites and destinations that link the River to the city in ways that are physical, visual, aesthetic and psychological.
  • Be consistent with best riparian and aquatic science, best water and land management practices and must be harmonious with the River.
  • Make nature-based stormwater best management practices (BMP’s) a priority.
  • Help ensure that new or rehabilitated developments along the River are compatible with the City’s renewable energy goals.
  • Establish that development sites, destinations and structures must protect the health, aesthetics, accessibility and health of the relationship between the river and residents/visitors.
  • Manage invasive vegetation and protect and retain existing native vegetation and add native vegetation where possible.
  • Prohibit further hardening of the shorelines that are inconsistent with the Plan.
  • Ensure that the natural flow of the River is enhanced and not curtailed or impeded by any element of the Plan.