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River Care In-Stream Habitat Program Ramps Up

March 31, 2004

River Care In-Stream Habitat Program Ramps Up To benefit Michigan's world-class trout, salmon, and steelhead fisheries, the Conservation Resource Alliance (CRA) is launching some exciting new projects to replace large woody material lost during turn-of-the-century logging. Woody material provides cover and shade for fish, and benefits many reptiles, amphibians, and other wildlife. Corporate partners Ford Motor Company Fund and Scientific Anglers/3-M recently made contributions to CRA's River Care program that will help fund additional in-stream projects in 2004. Pro angler, and product development specialist Bruce Richards of Scientific Anglers, says, "CRA's work on stream habitat is right on target. A pro-active program like River Care is the only way to heal the historical damage we did to Michigan's world-class trout streams." Scientific Anglers manufactures high performance fly lines and other flyfishing equipment at their plant in Midland, Michigan. Ford Motor Company Fund has been a lead supporter of River Care since 2000. Some of CRA's current in-stream projects focus on the Pine River, a premier Blue Ribbon Trout stream, which recently gained designation under Michigan's Natural Rivers program. CRA and a committee of dedicated partners have been addressing severe erosion and sediment problems on the Pine since the late 1980s, raising over $600,000 to complete this work. To follow the large-scale erosion control work, CRA enlisted the help of the Pine River Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Michigan DNR's Fish Division to construct island, half-log, and log-jam structures that simulate the kind of in-stream habitat offered by the Pine before the logging era. The targeted stretches of river are lacking woody debris that is important for fish cover. To create an island, volunteer crews first modify a LUNKER© structure, or construct a box from rough-sawn oak to serve as a base. Natural wood from the stream is then placed on top, anchored by vertical rod. Field stone is used to weight down the structure. Within 2-3 growing seasons, the islands are revegetated with shrubs and other plants. Anglers have positive reports of fishing on and around the older structures. Half-log structures are constructed of a slab of hardwood that is spaced from the stream bottom with wooden blocks and secured using re-rod. Log jams are constructed using whole trees or portions of trees and secured using duck-bill anchors and cables. River Care is a comprehensive initiative to engage corporate and individual supporters to ensure the future of long-term conservation on 20 of northern Michigan's most important rivers and watersheds. To learn more or to become involved, visit CRA's website at www.rivercare.org.


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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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