From early spring to the graceful transition into summer this week, CRA has been bustling with activities and moving through incremental steps to strengthen capacity and impact. Fieldwork, partner meetings, plantings, content gathering, and even adding some new faces at the office have proven valuable in advancing our commitment to restoring and protecting Northwest Michigan’s wild places.


2023 Seedling Giveaway 

Our 2023 Seedling Giveaway allowed us to connect with its longtime supporters and meet new individuals dedicated to enhancing the natural environment. Landowners had diverse plans for their seedlings, including creating a tiny backyard forest, reinforcing riverbanks, to even planting them in honor of new marriages at Cherry Basket Farm!

CRA staffers, and Board Member Nora Balgoyen (far left), at the 2023 Seedling Giveaway. The event was proudly sponsored by ITC.



Buffalo Ridge Planting 

The Wild Roots program got some help from our incredible partners at DTE Energy, planting hundreds of trees at the Buffalo Ridge Trail. The weather was cold and damp, but the feeling of transforming one of Traverse City’s favorite wild places was just the opposite!

DTE volunteers in front of the hundreds of native seedlings they helped plant in the rain.

CRA Takes on the Windy City 

During CRA’s trip to Chicago, team members Kimberly Balke and Gavin MacDonald had the opportunity to present completed and upcoming projects to the Elliott Donnelley Chapter of Trout Unlimited. The pair also met with the Trout and Salmon Foundation; both organizations have been pivotal partners for over two decades. In addition to our partner reunions, the trip allowed CRA to forge new connections with individuals and groups who share our passion for restoring and preserving Michigan’s waterways.

CRA Program Director Kimberly Balke uses a paddle to detail upcoming restoration projects.

U.S. Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Shannon Estenoz, tours Sabin Dam removal and Boardman/Ottaway River Tributary Sites

Shannon Estenoz, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, hailed the Ottaway (Boardman) River dam removal project as the ‘most inspiring she’s seen so far.’ Estenoz’s stop on the Ottaway (Boardman) was part of a multi-day tour of several restoration sites across Northern Michigan. The tour aimed to celebrate the importance of the recent $5 million America the Beautiful grant to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, including CRA as a sub-recipient, to fund several restoration projects across the state. Read the Full Mlive article here: Link. 

CRA’s Kimberly Balke and Nate Winkler detail the Ottaway’s transformation to U.S. Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife Shannon Estenoz.


Uncovering Jordan River Restoration with C3

CRA toured various Jordan River restoration sites alongside the dedicated team from the Charlevoix County Community Foundation (C3). As a vital funding partner for numerous Jordan River sites throughout the years, C3’s involvement has been invaluable. During the visit, the team observed firsthand the challenges faced at the sites, such as deteriorated culverts, signs of water overflowing onto roads during high water events, and the detrimental impact of narrow and dilapidated culverts on fish and other aquatic species due to obstructed water flow.

Representatives from CRA and C3 survey the distressed Jordan River Site ravaged by the narrow culvert.

New Resource Technicians Join CRA 

New Seasonal Resource Technicians Lydia Balke, Eddie Yago, and Andrew Kranz gear up for a busy field season at CRA!