Conservation Resource Alliance
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Ford Employees Help on Local Rivers

August 8, 2001

Two groups of Ford Motor Company volunteers helped to repair eroding streambanks on the Little Manistee and Big Sable Rivers as part of the Conservation Resource Alliance's River Care program. Sixteen employees of Ford, all from southeast Michigan, built log terraces, moved fallen timbers, installed fish cover structures, and placed field stone on approximately 400 feet of exposed sand bank on the two rivers. Many of the volunteers were avid fishermen, and organizer Don Levens said, "We recognize these exposed sand banks as a really bad thing for fish. The people at CRA are fixing hundreds of erosion sites on a number of rivers, and it's a huge, expensive job. Our group is happy to pitch in on two sites this summer, and we hope to return to offer more help. We all have some responsibility to care for these waterways, and this is our way of helping." CRA, based in Traverse City, is a private, non-profit organization primarily involved with watershed management projects throughout northwest Michigan. CRA launched the national River Care initiative in 1998 to help raise funds for local watersheds, and continues to raise funds for both the immediate and long-term needs of these rivers. Ford Motor Company has made contributions supporting CRA's River Care initiative for two consecutive years. "We are excited about this opportunity to get Ford employees involved. These types of hands-on, real-work projects really raise the awareness of the general public and allow people to see how manageable it its to repair problems caused by decades of human activity," said Laura Kuehn, a biologist with the CRA. Kuehn says, "Excessive sand entering streams is the largest threat to coldwater streams in Michigan. Sediment is problematic because it fills gravel habitat that is important to insects and trout, and causes streams to become shallow, increasing the potential for water temperatures to become lethal for trout." The Ford volunteer labor will help provide local matching funds that are required to access a $142,000 Clean Michigan Initiative grant awarded to the CRA for the Big Sable River and a $100,000 Federal Clean Water Act grant awarded to the CRA for the Little Manistee River. The Conservation Resource Alliance has coordinated river restoration projects for over 30 years throughout northwest Michigan. The group enlists numerous partner organizations to assist their staff of 6 tackle high-priority problems that threaten to degrade Michigan's world-class waterways. For more information about these types of projects or how you can get involved, contact the Conservation Resource Alliance at (231) 946-6817, via e-mail at cra@traverse.com, or visit the web site at www.rivercare.org.


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Conservation Resource Alliance

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

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