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Brenke Fish Ladder offers unique view of Grand River

One of the first field trips I took my kids on was to Old Town Lansing. I was hoping they would begin to enjoy the coolness of the city with its diverse landscape. And of course, being that the Grand River was in the mix, I knew Gabriel would enjoy casting into the water. It was a delight to watch him effortlessly bring up little perch, and it was endearing as he helped his struggling sister catch some as well.

The Grand River is one of three major tributaries that meets Lake Michigan. The river sprouts from natural springs in Somerset Township in Hillsdale County. The river continues to run north through Jackson, Eaton and Ingham counties, making a left-hand turn in Lansing before it continues its journey through Clinton, Ionia, Kent and Ottawa counties, where it glides into Lake Michigan. The Grand River is home to an assortment of fish that include brown trout, brook trout, carp, catfish, smallmouth and largemouth bass, salmon, pike, and steelhead.

There are 14 dams along the river. In short, dams degrade the aquatic habitat, and fish have a rough time navigating them.

Through a partnership with the Michigan Urban Recreational Bond Program, Anadromous Fisheries Restoration Program and the city of Lansing, the North Lansing Brenke Fish Ladder was built in 1981. It was named in honor of William Brenke, who helped to bring trout and salmon to Lansing.

I wonder where Mr. Brenke is today. I would have my son, Gabriel, thank him for his efforts. For he is definitely enjoying the results of Mr. Brenke’s efforts.