SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — Officials are celebrating the conclusion of the Little Rapids Restoration Project, which is boosting water flow on the St. Marys River near Sault Ste. Marie.

The project included building a new bridge to replace two deteriorating causeway culverts between Sugar Island and the island ferry dock.

It re-established the flow of water to the Little Rapids for the first time in more than 50 years. The upgrade is expected to benefit fish populations, sport fishing and wildlife in the area.

Lake Superior State University is monitoring the ecological effects.

Jon Allan of Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes says the project moves the St. Marys River closer to eligibility for removal from a list of highly degraded areas in the eight-state region.