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Tag Archive | "Rogue River"

What’s “bugging” you in our streams?


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Volunteers needed for stream insect monitoring

In many cases we think bugs are a nuisance, but bugs in a stream can be very useful. Stream insects are a good measure of water quality. Unlike fish, stream insects cannot move around much so they are less able to escape the effects of sediment and other pollutants that diminish water quality. Stream insects can also be easily identified.

Trout Unlimited National, Cannon Township and Michigan Trout Unlimited will be holding a Stream Insect Monitoring Event on Saturday, May 7, 2016 from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at the Rockford Community Cabin, 220 North Monroe Street, in Rockford. Volunteers will be assigned to a monitoring group with a team leader. Each group will collect and identify insects from different stream sites in the Rogue River and Bear Creek watersheds. You don’t need any experience with stream insects to participate and all ages are welcome.

What will you need? Please RSVP to Nichol De Mol at 231-557-6362 or ndemol@tu.org if you would like to attend. Lunch will be provided for all volunteers. Please bring waders if you have them and dress for the weather conditions.

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Barrels and Brews at Cedar Springs Brewing Company


 

This photo was taken at a rain barrel workshop in Rockford. Cedar Springs residents have a chance to make their own this spring.

This photo was taken at a rain barrel workshop in Rockford. Cedar Springs residents have a chance to make their own this spring.

Save the dates—April 26, May 23

Are you interested in protecting the Great Lakes at home, or looking to save money by reducing your water bill? Then don’t miss Cedar Springs Brewing Company’s first ever rain barrel workshops!

Trout Unlimited has been successfully conducting rain barrel workshops in the Rogue River watershed since 2013. This spring, Trout Unlimited’s Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative teamed up with the new Cedar Springs Brewing Company to host two rain barrel workshops for the citizens of Cedar Springs and everyone who would like to protect their local water resources.

Want to know more about rain barrels? A rain barrel is a system that collects and stores rainwater from your roof that would otherwise end up in your local waterways as polluted stormwater runoff. The average rain barrel will keep 1,815 gallons of stormwater out of our lakes and rivers each year. Saving water not only helps protect the environment, it saves you money and energy. A rain barrel collects water and stores it for when you need it most—during periods of drought—to water plants, your garden, or wash your car. Additionally, rainwater is naturally “soft” and devoid of minerals, chlorine and other chemicals found in city water, so it is a better alternative for your plants.

The workshops will be held on Tuesday, April 26 and Monday, May 23 at Cedar Springs Brewing Company at 6:30 p.m. The workshop includes everything you need to set up your barrel and takes around 45 minutes. Rain barrels are $30 a piece and you must sign-up for a workshop at rainbarrels.wmeac.org. We look forward to seeing you out there!

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Trout Unlimited study finds Rogue River vital to economy


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Spending by visitors engaging in river-related recreation activities leads to more than $7 million in economic activity during the four-month summer season.

Spending by visitors engaging in river-related recreation activities leads to more than $7 million in economic activity during the four-month summer season.

A recent study showing the value of the Rogue River to the area economy bodes well for what can happen in Cedar Springs in the near future.

“The Rogue River is a treasured resource for many communities, offering a variety of recreational opportunities from first-class trout fishing to hiking and wildlife viewing,” wrote Jamie Vaughan, Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative Coordinator. “However, the river’s monetary value to the local economy has never been completely quantified. For this reason, Trout Unlimited’s Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative commissioned a study and teamed with researchers Erik Nordman, Ph.D. and Paul Isely, Ph.D. from Grand Valley State University to estimate the economic development impact of recreation within the Rogue River watershed.”

Vaughan said that the economic impact of river-related recreation was assessed using on-site surveys at several locations in the Rogue River watershed in the summer of 2015. Survey locations included: The Rogue Golf Club, Rockford Dam and canoe launch, Grand-Rogue River Access Site and Campground, White Pine Trail trailheads in Comstock Park, Belmont, Rockford, and Cedar Springs, as well as events such as Praise in the Park, Art in the Park, and the Rockford Farmers Market.

The analysis of the surveys focused on visitors who 1) were primarily visiting the area because of the Rogue River; and 2) live outside of the watershed. Twenty-five percent of survey respondents indicated that they live outside the watershed and the primary reason for visiting the Rogue River watershed was to participate in river-related recreation activities. Most of these visitors were from the greater Grand Rapids area, including Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, Newaygo, Allegan, and Ionia counties. About 20 percent of the respondents reported living in Rockford.  Other visitors reported residences in Lansing and Ann Arbor Michigan and as far away as Iowa.

“Our results found that the total direct spending for the four-month summer season, including both day users and overnight visitors, was more than $4.1 million. The total economic activity, which includes indirect spending, was more than $7.3 million. This led to additional earnings of more than $1.7 million and supported the employment of 64 full time jobs, which is substantial in a small city like Rockford,” noted Vaughan.

And it’s not just Rockford that benefits, or will benefit in the future. Cedar Springs is part of the Rogue River watershed, with Cedar Creek being an important tributary to the overall health of the coldwater fishery in the Rogue River. The Community Building Development Team, in partnership with the Cedar Springs Library and the City of Cedar Springs, has several projects planned for the areas bordering Cedar Creek, including a new library, community center, ampitheather, and boardwalk along the creek.

“As part of this study, surveying was done all around the Rogue River area, including the White Pine Trailhead in Cedar Springs, so this report does include the river’s impact to Cedar Springs,” said Vaughan. “With all of the incredible work that the CBDT is doing, I think this report shows just how valuable that work will potentially be to Cedar Springs. Taking into consideration the trail, the Cedar Creek projects, the brewery, etc. and how those will attract many different users of the Rogue River to Cedar Springs, I would expect to see that economic value become even greater.”

Vaughan noted that this study shows that the Rogue River and its scenic and recreational amenities attract visitors from across West Michigan and beyond. “It’s important for the quality of life of local residents and is a significant amenity that drives economic development in the region. Trout Unlimited hopes that these results will enable communities and businesses to better understand the contribution of the Rogue River to local economies and make its protection and restoration a highest priority in decision-making so that these high-quality recreation activities can continue to take place,” said Vaughan.

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Second Green Team works to improve Rogue River


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The Plaster Creek Green Team came up to Cedar Springs to help their Rogue River counterparts plant a rain garden at CS Tool Engineering.

 

This summer, Trout Unlimited’s Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative project employed a “Green Team” of eight high school students from all over the watershed to install and maintain green infrastructure practices, such as rain gardens, bioswales, and vegetated buffers. These practices use vegetation, soils, and natural processes to control storm water runoff, the leading source of water pollution in West Michigan, to create healthier urban environments.

The “Green Team,” funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is a replication of a successful program of the Plaster Creek Stewards, a part of Calvin College. The addition of the Rogue River Green Team, working in an upstream community, in a much higher quality watershed than Plaster Creek, exposed the students to matters of environmental injustice and the importance of the upstream-downstream relationship.

Bridget Flanery from Sparta, Cassidy Freeman and MaKayla Plekes from Rockford, and Troy Wilde from Kent City, made up the July team, led by local artist, landscaper and native plant specialist Georgia Donovan. Over the course of four weeks, the students implemented new projects, with Trout Unlimited, and helped local businesses and schools maintain their existing projects. The “Green Team” planted a stream buffer on Rum Creek for a Rockford homeowner, expanded a rain garden at CS Tool Engineering in Cedar Springs, and helped Sparta teacher Sue Blackall plant a native flower garden at the entrance of Sparta High School. They even visited Grand Rapids for a day to tour Catalyst Partner’s LEED Certified facilities and worked on their native gardens.

A major advantage of the partnership with Calvin College is the opportunity to expose the high school students to a college campus and demystify the experience, making them more likely to attend college when they graduate. The students took college courses with biology professor Dave Warners and they helped Calvin students carry out their summer research projects. The combination of classroom teaching, with hands-on fieldwork, has provided the Green Team participants with unique job training and exposure to many different careers in the environmental field. But more than that, the students got a once in a lifetime experience to expand their knowledge and make a difference in their community.

Bridget, a student at Wellspring Preparatory, said about her summer, “Being a part of the Green Team has been one of the most rewarding experiences; not only for myself but for the environment around me.”

Trout Unlimited and the Plaster Creek Stewards have EPA funding for two Green Teams next year as well, reaching 32 students in just two summers.

The Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative Project is funded by the Frey Foundation, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, the Wege Foundation, the Wolverine World Wide Foundation, and the Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited.

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Kayaker dies in Rogue River


 

A kayaking death in the area last weekend has authorities reminding boaters to wear a personal flotation device while boating.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, two men were kayaking on the Rogue River early Saturday afternoon, February 7, when they encountered a large body of ice on the river. The two attempted to exit their kayaks and walk over the ice, when of the kayaks began to take on water. The victim, Thomas Shepard, a 65-year-old Grand Rapids resident, was pulled under the ice shelf by the strong current and the second kayaker, Daniel Silverthorn, a 50-year-old Grand Rapids resident, attempted to render aid to his friend, but was unsuccessful. Neither subject had been wearing a personal flotation device.

After attempting to render aid, Silverthorn made contact with nearby residents, who called 9-1-1.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Department, along with the Plainfield Fire Department and Rockford Ambulance were dispatched to the area of Rio Rogue Lane NE and Roguewood DR NE about 2:34 p.m. The sheriff’s department dive team, with the assistance of the Plainfield and Cannon Township fire departments and Aeromed, conducted an extensive search in an attempt to locate and recover Shepard’s body. They ended the initial search late Saturday night after conditions became unsafe for emergency personnel.

A second search was conducted in the early morning hours of Sunday, February 8th by the KCSD, along with the Plainfield and Cannon township fire departments. During the course of the second search, Shepard’s body was located a short distance from where he had last been seen alive.

The medical examiner’s office was contacted and the victim’s family was notified of the recovery.

No foul play is suspected.

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Local non-profit looks to improve area


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By Judy Reed

 

There are a lot of plans in the works for the corner of Main and Maple Streets and the Community Building Development Team (CBDT) hopes to be a big part of it.

In addition to the new Cedar Springs Library, on the northwest corner, and the brewery on the southwest corner, the CBDT hopes to build an ampitheatre on the city’s property (the old foundry property) to the west of where the library will be. The team was at the Cedar Springs City Council meeting last Thursday, October 9, to pitch the project.

“The Community Building Development Team is a group of people who want to make the community better,” explained CBDT trustee Tom Holloway, and Pastor at Solon Center Wesleyan Church. “We believe this fits with the prior library board’s plans in 2007 of having both a library and ampitheatre.”

Holloway asked the City Council to let the group build the ampitheatre—and they would do it for free. “All we ask is for the city to maintain it,” he said, “and pay the utilities.”

He explained that they hope to develop the whole area—on both the east and west side of the trail. They are currently buying the Johnson lumberyard property to that end. Besides the ampitheatre, they are working towards helping to restore wetlands, and install walking bridges, to give kids a place to fish. On the lumberyard property, they hope to build a community center and recreation center. Other plans include a boardwalk along Cedar Creek, rain gardens, skate park, spash pad and playground equipment, campground, and fish hatchery.

They have already been working on rain gardens along Cedar Creek with Trout Unlimited, and other groups, and recently voted to take advantage of a matching 3 to 1 grant opportunity. They voted unanimously to pledge  $20,000 towards Trout Unlimited’s Department of Environmental Quality 319 Grant Proposal, which will restore and enhance wetlands in downtown Cedar Springs and elsewhere in the Rogue River watershed, if funded. The project will look to develop future conservation projects in the Rogue River watershed, including other wetland restoration projects, buffer strip plantings, and other efforts directed at improving the health of the Rogue. According to the CBDT, the grant could be worth $300,000 to $400,000 to the community.

The group’s mission is to retain the small-town character of Cedar Springs, incorporate natural features, link neighborhoods and people, enhance characteristics that already define our community, and make it easy for families, youth, senior citizens, organizations, and all community members to gather, celebrate and serve each other.

With that in mind, they’ve adopted a railroad theme for their group, since two railroads ran through the community in its early days. They have chosen an old photo for their logo. In it you can see Lute Fullington’s carriage. His livery service transported people from the trains to hotels, businesses, and homes in our area.

The Cedar Springs City Council heard the CBDT’s presentation, but no agreement has yet been made on whether they will allow the ampitheatre to be built there. Holloway said that after the library is built, they would try to match it in design.

Members of the CBDT are Kurt Mabie, President; Tom Mabie, Vice President; Betty Truesdale, Treasurer; Carolee Cole, Secretary; and Sue Wolfe, Dale Larson, Sally Howland, Nick Andres and Tom Holloway, trustees.

The public is invited to attend their meetings the third Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Amish Furniture Store, 141 S. Main Street, Cedar Springs.

 

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Registration for Rogue River Expedition Closes on May 31


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This is your last chance to sign up for this 3-day public journey of discovery to experience conditions and opportunities of Michigan’s Rogue River and its watershed. It will be held June 19 through the 21. The Expedition team will travel by land, canoes, and kayaks, and provide demonstrations, interactive displays, and exhibits in communities along the Rogue River.

* Thursday, June 19th: The Expedition will begin with an opening ceremony at the Howard Christensen Nature Center, followed by a land tour of the Rogue River’s Headwaters. The night will conclude back at the Howard Christensen Nature Center with a dinner, owl walk, and camping.

* Friday, June 20:  Participants will gather at Nash Creek in Sparta for the paddling portion of the Expedition. The Rogue River Watershed Partners and the Village of Sparta will be hosting a Watershed Showcase that is free and open to the public with water demonstrations, hands-on activities for kids, and free prizes. Expedition participants will kayak down Nash Creek in to the Rogue River and take out at Camp Rockford right at the mouth of Stegman Creek.  Participants will enjoy dinner in downtown Rockford along with live music and microbrews at Rockford Brewing Company. $1 of every pint sold that evening at Rockford Brewing will be donated to conservation and restoration efforts in the Rogue River watershed.

* Saturday, June 21: Water activities (stream insects, fish, birds) will take place at Camp Rockford and our open and free to the public.  Expedition participants will float down to the City of Rockford and enjoy lunch and a presentation by the Rockford Historical Society. A watershed booth will also be at the Farmers Market so stop by for some free stuff and watershed information.  Expedition participants will finish the last leg of the Rogue and have a wrap-up event and celebration at the park along the Grand River.

Join this journey and learn more about the Rogue River. Cost for the full trip is $75/person. For more information about the Rogue River Expedition and to sign-up please visit the website at www.swmtu.org/rogueriverexpedition.  Thank you to our major sponsors – the City of Rockford, the Rogue River Expedition Planning Committee, Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited, and Trout Unlimited.

 

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What’s “bugging” you in our streams?


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In many cases we think bugs are a nuisance, but bugs in a stream can be very useful.  Stream insects are a good measure of water quality.  Unlike fish, stream insects cannot move around much so they are less able to escape the effects of sediment and other pollutants that diminish water quality. Stream insects can also be easily identified.

Trout Unlimited National, Cannon Township and Michigan Trout Unlimited will be holding a Stream Insect Monitoring Event on Saturday, April 12, 2014 from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at the Rockford Community Cabin, 220 North Monroe Street in Rockford. Volunteers will be assigned to a monitoring group with a team leader. Each group will collect and identify insects from different stream sites in the Rogue River and Bear Creek watersheds. You don’t need any experience with stream insects to participate and all ages are welcome.

What will you need? Please RSVP to Nichol De Mol at 231-557-6362 or ndemol@tu.org if you would like to attend.  Lunch will be provided for all volunteers.  Please bring waders if you have them and dress for the weather conditions.

 

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Become a Rogue River citizen monitor


As we come to learn more about the connection we all share with our watershed, the importance of the health of our streams becomes increasingly obvious. Because everything that happens to the land within a watershed eventually ends up in the streams, monitoring the health of streams is a way to assess the health of the entire watershed. This data provides information about the quality of the groundwater and drinking water in an area as well as the ability of the watershed to support wildlife.

Unfortunately, analyzing a single water sample is not a good way to understand or characterize the health of a stream or its watershed. Instead, stream monitoring is usually done over long periods of time (at least one year) in order to capture seasonal changes as well as changes in human intervention over time (such as nutrient inputs from fertilizer and altered stream banks). To help with this effort, Trout Unlimited is looking for volunteers to become Rogue River Citizen Monitors.

Training will be held on Saturday, March 24, 2012 from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at the Rockford Community Cabin, 220 N Monroe St NE. Participants will learn how to collect and identify stream insects and be trained to collect stream temperature and flow. If you would like to participate please contact Nichol De Mol at ndemol@tu.org or 231-557-6362. Free lunch for all participants!

 

 

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Walk or run: benefits for all


According to research, natural settings increase a sense of self-worth and decrease stress. The Howard Christensen Nature Center (HCNC), nestled in the Rogue River State Game Area, is the perfect setting for a walk or run, especially on Sunday, October 23. This is the date for the first Red Pine Run that is being held to promote healthy lifestyles and to benefit the nature center. The public is invited to enjoy a beautiful Michigan fall day by running or walking the 5K (3.1 mile) trail or grabbing a friend or family member to participate as a relay team.
The course, designed by Kent City Cross Country coach Jill Evers, is a flat, scenic double loop through the nature center on well-marked trails. Each relay team member will do one loop. Participants doing the full 5K will run/walk the loop twice. The race begins at 2:00 p.m.
Refreshments and an award presentation are scheduled for the finish of the family-friendly race. Participants receive a t-shirt and awards will be given for the top two finishers in each age division.
For participants 19 years old and older, the fee is $20 for registrations received before Oct. 3, and $25 after that date. The registration fee for participants 18 years and younger is $15 before Oct. 3 and $20 afterwards. Registration forms are available on the website at www.lilysfrogpad.com. Lily’s Frog Pad Inc. manages Howard Christensen Nature Center and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Proceeds from the race will help keep the nature center buildings open for school field trips, family workshops and Snow Shoe Saturdays during the winter.
Contact Cindy at (616) 675-3158 or cindy@lilysfrogpad.com with questions. An informational flyer, directions and other information can also be found at www.lilysfrogpad.com.

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