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Frey Foundation Awards $175,000 for River Care and Wild Link

September 1, 2002

The Conservation Resource Alliance (CRA) is pleased to announce a second phase of funding from the Frey Foundation for the River Care and Wild-Link programs in select Charlevoix and Emmet County watersheds. The Foundation is awarding CRA a three year grant of $175,000 of which $100,000 is designated as a 3:1 challenge grant for implementation and river restoration activities. This grant will continue momentum initiated through the first phase of funding spent from 1999 to 2002. The target watersheds include the Bear River, Boyne River, Crooked River, Maple River, Lower Jordan River, Carp River, and St. Clair Lake/Six Mile Lake.

Anticipated projects will include a variety of erosion control activities, road crossing enhancements, recreation access improvements, fish habitat improvements, and wildlife corridor projects. CRA will continue to work with the regional network of partners in Charlevoix and Emmet Counties, including Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, Little Traverse Conservancy, Friends of the Boyne and Jordan Rivers, MSU Extension, and Emmet and Charlevoix Conservation Districts.

CRA and its regional watershed committee partners first launched River Care in 1998 in the 13-county region of northwest Michigan. The goal of River Care is to empower local river restoration groups with technical and financial support, and to build local partnerships on rivers where none exist. Through River Care we are establishing both a Permanent Fund and Working Fund used to support conservation projects on our region's prized rivers, lakes and surrounding watersheds. Our goal is to raise $5,000,000 by the year 2005. The Trout and Salmon Foundation, Serra Family Foundation, Oleson Foundation, and other individuals, families and businesses have and continue to support River Care. The Frey Foundation leads the way with $80,000 going to the Working Fund, $60,000 going to the Permanent Fund, and $60,000 going to Wild-Link over the next two years.

Wild-Link is the second focus of the Frey Foundation grant. The Wild-Link effort focuses on managing our region's ecological corridors that follow streams, lakes, and wetlands and are heavily used by wildlife for food, water, breeding and travel needs. CRA biologists and other conservation partners work with private landowners in the ecological corridors to design habitat management plans that will improve and maintain the wildlife values of their property. Selective tree cuttings, shrub and tree plantings, nesting boxes, food plots, and brush piles are among the prescribed activities. In the past, some Wild-Link landowners have incorporated conservation easements into their plans to guarantee the natural and aesthetic values of their property for future family members and owners. Mr. Edward McMahon, Director of American Greenways with The Conservation Fund, claims that, "Wild-Link is designed to catalyze widespread activity among private landowners whose properties intersect critical wildlife habitat areas. In the judgment of The Conservation Fund, this project could serve as a national model for combating wildlife habitat fragmentation and creating meaningful wildlife habitat and movement corridors."

Established in 1968, the Conservation Resource Alliance (CRA) is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining the natural beauty of our land and waterways, while nurturing the economic vitality of northern Michigan. CRA has had an especially active role in watershed restoration in the last 10 years, working with a variety of local partners in streambank stabilization, road/stream crossing repair, fish and wildlife habitat, and erosion inventory projects.

The Frey Foundation, based in Grand Rapids, is one of Michigan's largest family foundations. Grants are provided primarily to nonprofit organizations in western lower Michigan, for projects to enhance children's development, protect natural resources, promote the arts and expand philanthropic and civic action. The Frey Foundation was endowed in the late 1980's from the estate of the late Edward J. and Frances T. Frey. Mr. Frey was longtime chief executive officer of Union Bank (now Bank One) and founded Foremost Insurance Company in Grand Rapids. It was the next generation, David G. Frey, Edward J. Frey, Jr., John M. Frey and Mary Caroline (Twink) Frey that developed the family foundation that operates today.


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Conservation Resource Alliance

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10850 Traverse Highway, Suite 1180
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231-946-6817

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