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Top 10 of 2013

January 10, 2014

Staff recently reflected on the last year of work and we came up with a 2013 ‘Top 10’ list of memorable moments and milestones. From trudging through thick alder stands in chest-high water to witnessing the sunset over Lake Michigan on the sand dunes, we saw many unforgettable scenes here in Northern Michigan.


10. Outstanding Volunteers including Pam Grassmick

“We never would have been able to get as much done on Beaver Island without Pam,” reflected Wildlife Biologist Eric Ellis. CRA has been busy on the island helping to install Chimney Swift towers and surveying sensitive ecosystems. Having local volunteers be the eyes and ears on the ground is a huge help to our staff. “Pam has been our liaison with local townships, helped us find housing during survey work, connected us with local landowners – even ferrying our survey crew to a remote island. She’s saved us thousands of dollars in travel and staff time.” So thank you Pam and all of our volunteers!

9. Major Funding for the Betsie and Platte Rivers

CRA received a $335,000 Sustain Our Great Lakes grant this summer for work in Benzie County. This funding will help replace four road–stream crossings, and place in-stream large woody debris in key tributaries to restore fish access and habitat along 10 stream miles. See a map of Benzie County where these projects are happening.

8. Making Tracks on the Little Manistee

Biologist Nate Winkler recalled, “It wasn’t a walk in the park but it was great to get a close look at the watershed and the impact we’ll have here.” He was referring to inventorying the Little Manistee Watershed for erosion. With some stretches containing nearly impenetrable alder, the survey took a healthy dose of patience and perseverance. It paid off however with a $65,000 grant through the Great Lakes Basin Fish Habitat Partnership to improve aquatic habitat.

7. Biennial Celebration at Black Star Farms

“It was a blast!” declared Administrative Assistant Jill Rowley. CRA and friends spent a wonderful fall afternoon with over 100 of our supporters and partners at our Biennial Celebration. We ate, we drank, and we shared in the success.

6. Pere Marquette and Pine River Investment

CRA launched a $1.75 million project in 2009 in partnership with the US Forest Service and Lake County Road Commission. Eight major stream restoration projects were completed focusing on replacing and improving road/stream crossings in Lake County in the Pere Marquette and Pine River watersheds. This project was initially launched through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and we celebrated its completion last year. Read the details at Pere Marquette and Pine River Road Crossings Improvement Project.

5. Arcadia Dunes

“I’m going to miss going out there,” said Biologist Nate Winkler. Nate spent the better part of many weeks at Arcadia Dunes working to restore the natural habitat. CRA coordinated the replacement of seven road/stream crossings in the watershed and wrapped up aquatic habitat enhancement with large woody debris this year. A must see for birders – this site is one to remember. Read more at Arcadia Marsh Restoration.

4. Flowing Well Restoration

The final touches were put on the former Flowing Well Trout Farm property in Kalkaska County in 2013. Our staff has been restoring the 1,720 acre property since 2008 and crossed the finish line last year. In all, we removed 12 dams and applied a variety of conservation practices including invasive species removal, creation of reptile and amphibian habitat, and native plant restoration. We reconnected 31 miles of stream through this project. Read more at Flowing Well Finale.

3. Upper Great Lakes Connectivity Wrap-up

Biologist Chris Pierce wrapped up a major series of projects throughout northern Michigan last year. "This suite of projects was a unique opportunity to address multiple conservation issues throughout our region." Projects included road/stream crossing improvements, dam removals and instream habitat enhancement. These on-the-ground community based projects opened up approximately 150 miles of habitat for native fish species and restored more than 30 miles of instream habitat and 220 acres of riparian corridor habitat. Check out the summary at Northwest Michigan Stream Connectivity.

2. Knockout Partnership

A coalition of conservation partners in northern Michigan literally broke barriers in several key watersheds through a joint project funded through the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act. Through dam removal, road/stream crossing improvement and habitat restoration, partners reconnected streams and improved habitat in many of the highest quality streams feeding the Great Lakes. Read more at Breaking Barriers.

1. Boardman River Reopening

CRA and the Boardman Dams Implementation Team celebrated the reopening and rebirth of 2.5 miles of the Boardman River last year. With the Brown Bridge Dam now gone, the ultimate goal is to remove Boardman and Sabin dams and to modify the Union Street Dam. Once completed, the project will return about 160 miles of river to its natural state, and, according to the DNR, is the largest reconnection project in the Great Lakes region. Details on what's next for this project are at Boardman River Restoration.


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Conservation Resource Alliance

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10850 Traverse Highway, Suite 1180
Traverse City, MI 49684
231-946-6817 info@rivercare.org

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