Conservation Resource Alliance
Call 231-946-6817


CRA a Godsend for Area Rivers

November 3, 2005

Conservation Resource Alliance is a conservation group that has been around for nearly 40 years, yet few people could name or probably tell you what they do. But, thanks to CRA, our area rivers are in much better shape and wildlife ecological corridors are a reality in northwest Michigan.

Like the company that says, "You may not have heard of us, but you have heard of so-and-so. We're part of that, part of this and they wouldn't be the same without us." While it may sound like an old Beetle song, the bottom line is that they have been behind most of the major river restoration programs during the last four decades, and most of us don't have a clue.

At their annual meeting last weekend both DNR Director, Becky Humphries and Natural Resources Commission chairman, Keith Charters, thanked them for all they've done for our natural resources, particularly rivers.

"Our rivers in the 13 counties of Northwest Michigan, and the state as a whole, are in much better shape because of 37 years of service by the Conversation Resource Alliance," said the NRC chair. "I can't imagine where we'd be today if it weren't for them."

Humphries pointed out how important such partnerships are today.

"Partnerships with organizations like the Resource Alliance are extremely important to the well being of the DNR, especially in these times of shrinking budgets and downsizing."

While it may sound like political glad-handing, both of these longtime outdoor advocates were right-on in their remarks.

Established at a time conservation was just becoming vogue, CRA, a private non-profit organization, is part of a nationwide network of Resource Conservation and Development Councils. Staffed with wildlife biologists, fisheries biologists, engineers and field technicians, they work with landowners to plan, locate funding, cut-through red tape and implement programs to enhance the habitat value of the region and area rivers.

River restoration has been ongoing for some time, but did you know that behind all the successful restorations CRA pulls together the grants and funding needed to complete such projects as well as coordinating manpower, contractors and work bees through their River Care Program.

They just finished a three year $650,000 restoration effort last month on the Betsie River, according to project manager Kim Balke.

"That was pulling together funds from various state departments and grants and getting matching funds from CRA, Benzie County Road Commission, Trout Unlimited Pine River and Adams Chapters, and various individual River Care partners," she explained. "It's time consuming, but well worth the effort when you can pull together those kinds of funds."

The project included stabilization of 13 eroding streambanks, placement of 500 lineal feet of woody debris for fish habitat, replacement of three outdated road/stream crossings and a drainage tile and creek restoration project all within the Betsie watershed. It was part of a larger project that started in 1990 to stabilize all major steambanks leading to Homestead Dam; 72 banks in all, according to Balke.

"We started 14 years ago just below Grass Lake and have worked our way down to Fred's Landing, which about completes the inventory we initially identified. But, there's still plenty of ongoing tasks to improve the habitat of the river that will keep us busy in future years," she added. "On the Betsie one of our long term goals is to eliminate sand loading and re-establish shade cover to protect and restore the steelhead fishery below the Homestead Dam."

Such projects are also going on all across the 13 county region, according to Ann Beyer, CRA director. In addition to the above named rivers, CRA currently has projects ongoing on Beaver Island, Big Sable River, Antrim County's Chain of Lakes, Grand Traverse Bay, Manistee River, Little Manistee River and Pine River.

"Our River Care Program is an initiative designed to support long-term community driven conservation activities on high-value watersheds in northwest Lower Michigan," she explained at the annual meeting.

And, now you know who is behind much of the restoration of area rivers, and, as Charters indicated, our restoration efforts wouldn't be as far along as they are without CRA. It's been a long recovery period from the damage inflicted over a century ago on many of our rivers during the logging era.














Archives
2019
May (1)
June (1)
July (1)
2018
May (1)
2017
May (3)
June (2)
July (1)
2016
May (2)
June (2)
July (1)
2015
May (2)
June (1)
2014
May (3)
June (5)
July (5)
2013
May (1)
July (4)
2012
May (2)
2011
May (1)
June (4)
2010
June (2)
2009
May (3)
June (1)
2008
May (1)
June (1)
July (3)
2007
May (5)
July (3)
2006
June (2)
July (3)
2005
June (1)
July (5)
2004
May (2)
June (1)
2003
May (8)
June (4)
July (3)
2002
May (4)
June (2)
July (3)
2001
1999
June (1)

Become a CRA Member

Our partners and supporters, like you, are what really make a difference. Your support of our organization and projects are what make the biggest impact. We appreciate your investment. Together, we do great work. 

E-Newsletter Sign-up

Sign up for our e-newsletter to keep current with news and other happenings at CRA!

Conservation Resource Alliance

Bayview Professional Centre
10850 Traverse Highway, Suite 1180
Traverse City, MI 49684
231-946-6817

SIGN UP