Conservation Resource Alliance
Call 231-946-6817


Preserve the Pere Marquette

June 19, 2002

Orvis joins the Conservation Resource Alliance and its partners, T.U. and the U.S. Forest Service, to preserve this blue ribbon trout stream.

Legendary for its beauty, trophy steelheads, and strong-shouldered browns, the Pere Marquette River in Michigan is wildly popular with anglers and outdoor enthusiasts. A federally-designated wild-scenic river and a state-designated natural river, the Pere Marquette is the only free-flowing river in the Lake Michigan watershed. In spite of the PM's national reputation, erosion now threatens to destroy this prized waterway.

The Conservation Resource Alliance (CRA) has a thirty-year history of resuscitating rivers using a combination of permanent streambank erosion control; replacement of large woody debris lost during the logging era; fish habitat improvements; project sign placement at the most popular public access sites on the river; tree and shrub plantings and other wildlife projects; maintenance, monitoring, and evaluation.

These steps have been employed by CRA on other Pere Marquette initiatives with visually dramatic solutions and marked increases in fish recruitment the end results.

The intent of CRA is not to litigate to prevent development, but to foster locally-driven solutions that will preserve or develop land in a positive manner for all parties involved. Instead of promoting further regulations or lawsuits, CRA's aim is to foster partnerships in order to understand consequences, alter behavior, and create win-win cooperative efforts.

The Pere Marquette watershed covers 755 square miles and includes 380 miles of mainstream and tributaries. The river care work to be funded by Orvis concentrates on the headwaters of the PM on the Baldwin River, a fast, cold tributary that is considered the most critical spawning ground for the river system.
This stretch of the Baldwin and its confluence with the PM is known for its exceptional brown trout opportunities.

For this initiative on the Pere Marquette project, $10,000 in customer donations will be matched by Orvis and the Wolf Creek Charitable Foundation. The project will repair the habitat along 600 lineal feet of stream by stabilizing steep, eroding streambanks with fieldstone, log terracing and tree/shrub plantings, and improving in-stream habitat. Whole trees with root wads

intact will be incorporated into the site to resemble natural logjams that were prolific in the stream before the logging era, and provide for fish hiding and resting cover.

The threat to the Pere Marquette River watershed stems from logging practices characteristic of Michigan in the 1800s and early 1900s. It is estimated that more than 14 sawmills operated along the shores of Pere Marquette Lake.

Many areas were completely cut over, and fires that consumed the organic soils often followed. Loggers used the high, steep, sandy bluffs bordering stream channels as log slides.

The sandy composition of the soils, steep slopes of the embankments, steady recreational pressures, and resulting active erosion prevents the river's streambanks from revegetating and stabilizing naturally.

With this project, Orvis will be cooperating with CRA and project partners on a total of $650,000 worth of habitat improvement work throughout the PM watershed over the next two years.

How you can help: Orvis' support provides the missing link in major habitat work on the important Baldwin River headwaters area. To encourage your support and to leverage your contribution, Orvis has teamed up with the Wolf Creek Foundation to provide an incredible 2-to-1 match for the first $10,000 of customer donations to the Pere Marquette project. This means your $200 tax-deductible donation will result in $600. Please help us preserve this angling legacy by sending your generous tax-deductible contribution, payable to CRA:

Conservation Resource Alliance
Dept. ER, Orvis
Historic Route 7A
Manchester, VT 05254


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Conservation Resource Alliance

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

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