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Local Groups Raise Money for Pine River

September 15, 2006

The Pine River is a marvelous local resource well known for its cold water, scenic beauty, and trout fishery. Most people, however, do not realize that sediments from a variety of sources are degrading the river. Several groups have come together to raise funds to combat those sediments through creation of the Pine River Watershed Enhancement Fund. The fund is the creation of the Pine River Association, founded in 1970 for the purpose of preserving and protecting the Pine River and its environs.

To date, the fund has raised approximately $4,000, and recently contributed a check for $2500 to support restoration efforts on the Pine River. Specifically, funds are being used to maintain a sediment basin (“sand trap”) in Osceola County that is removing approximately 600 cubic yards of sediment annually from the river. The sand trap is simply a depression dug in the river channel that slowly fills with sand as it moves down stream, and is then excavated out when full. On average, a mile of the downstream riverbed is flushed out every year.

Each clean out costs approximately $3500, and two clean outs per year are generally required. “We have our work cut out for us”, says fund organizer Tom Kromer, “and while our efforts have paid off so far, we have a lot of work yet to do. We really want to build momentum and also work cooperatively with established groups like Trout Unlimited and Conservation Resource Alliance to avoid duplication and maximize our effectiveness.” Larry Schaftenaar, President of the Pine River Watershed Enhancement Fund adds that “watershed land owners, local residents and businesses need to be the foundation of the restoration efforts of the Pine River for it to be a long lasting project”.

Several area businesses have made contributions to the fund, including the Bristol Store, Tustin and Luther branches of Lake Osceola State Bank, Luther Hardware, LeRoy Hardware, Luther Grocery, LeRoy Farm/Garden and The Eyes Have it Sports Store. Individual contributions have also been received from many area landowners and clubs. Combining all contributions, local sources have paid for the first cleaning of the “sand trap”; hopefully this will happen every year.

A complete list of contributors, as well as information on how to make a donation, can be found at the fund’s website www.friendsofthepine.org, or by contacting Tom Kromer at (989) 772-5482 or Larry Schaftenaar at (989) 561-2077. Construction work paid for by Enhancement Fund proceeds is coordinated by the Traverse City based Conservation Resource Alliance, a non-profit organization that coordinates river restoration projects throughout northwest lower Michigan.


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