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River Care Advisory Committee Sets 2004 Spending Plan

March 23, 2004

In mid-March the newly formed River Care Advisory Committee announced the Regional River Care Spending Plan that will support on-the-ground projects of the Conservation Resource Alliance (CRA) in 2004. The spending plan calls for using $144,000 in River Care funds, which will be matched with approximately $900,000 in grant funds, to improve habitat on 11 rivers in northwest Michigan.

The River Care program is designed to empower local people to find and address the most severe man-made problems that are threatening fisheries, wildlife habitat and water quality in northern Michigan's rivers. Projects in 2004 will include sand traps on the Jordan River and Bear Creek, in-stream fish cover projects, addition of large woody debris, road crossing improvements, stream bank erosion control, and access improvements on high-priority rivers such as the Pine, Pere Marquette, Manistee, Betsie, Boyne, and Little Manistee.

CRA launched the River Care program in 1998 to engage corporate and private funding partners to help provide proactive monitoring, maintenance and management of northern Michigan rivers and waterways. River Care is composed of a Permanent Fund, designed as an endowment for future needs, and a Working Fund established to help meet current priorities. These funds give CRA the flexibility to respond when problems arise, and help meet "local matching" requirements of grants. To date, CRA has raised nearly $1 million for River Care. River Care Advisory Committee chairman, Pat Kelly, says, "This funding was not available 5 years ago to help our region's rivers. We're very excited that River Care funding will help us stay ahead of problems that threaten our rivers. We can't afford to lose these resources; they are the backbone of northern Michigan's economy." Kelly says that CRA particularly appreciates the financial support from the many partners and members, scattered widely across the Great Lakes.

The River Care Advisory Committee was established to make recommendations about regional priorities for CRA's River Care Program so that it can maximize the positive impact that the program will have on the region's watersheds. Committee members serve a 2-year term and have knowledge of and concern for, all of northern Michigan's rivers and ecology issues. The following people currently serve as the charter members of this committee: Jerry Heiman, Jeff Graft, Bob Stuber, Tom Rozich, Keith Charters and Pat Kelly, who functions as a liaison with CRA's board of directors.

The Conservation Resource Alliance is a private non-profit organization headquartered in Traverse City, Michigan that has been coordinating large-scale, practical, natural resource protection projects throughout the region since 1968. For more information about CRA memberships or the organization contact Matt Thomas, CRA Development Coordinator at (231) 946-6817, or e-mail at rivercare@chartermi.net .


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