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Tag Archive | "Rogue River"

Wetland restoration construction underway 


Local high schoolers worked on the wetland’s construction project and planted over 600 native wetland plants to further enhance the wetland’s capacity to filter polluted runoff.

Trout Unlimited and local partners recently began construction of two wetland restorations in downtown Cedar Springs. Wetlands provide vital, valuable services such as filtering pollution from stormwater runoff, providing fish and wildlife habitat, and controlling floodwaters. The wetland restoration sites, though both small, are a high priority for water quality improvement due to their proximity to Cedar Creek and their location in urban downtown Cedar Springs. Cedar Creek is one of the coldest tributaries to the Rogue River and supports healthy populations of brook, brown, and rainbow trout, but is at risk due to the continued development of the watershed and wetland loss. 

SouthPeat Environmental LLC and Dean’s Excavating completed construction on the first wetland restoration near the Cedar Springs Library. Trout Unlimited’s Green Team of local high schoolers also worked on the project and planted over 600 native wetland plants to further enhance the wetland’s capacity to filter polluted runoff. The second wetland, just upstream, is due to be completed by the fall. The Department of Environmental Quality awarded Trout Unlimited over $200,000 of grant funding for this urban wetland restoration initiative in the Rogue River watershed. The City of Cedar Springs and the Cedar Springs Community Building Development Team has contributed $22,000 to this project.  

These wetlands will not only improve water quality of Cedar Creek and the Rogue River but also provide the Cedar Springs community many opportunities to experience nature through enjoying the birds and butterflies, observing the blooms of native flowers throughout the seasons, and hearing the songs of spring peepers and other wildlife. 

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Presenter collects E-coli data from Rogue River 


 

Molly Rippke, Aquatic Biologist Specialist, DEQ, testing for E.coli in the Rogue River, at 12 Mile Road. Photo courtesy of Gretchen Zuiderveen, Rogue River Watershed Partners.

This summer, Molly Rippke, on behalf of the DEQ, is determining what the E-coli levels are in the Rogue River.

The Rogue River Watershed Partners sponsored one of their “Tuesday Talks” at the Cedar Spring Brewery this year on March 27. Rippke, an Aquatic Biologist Specialist with the Department of Environmental Quality, gave a memorable talk and power point presentation about E.coli. She focused on answering these four questions:  What is E-coli? How does it get into rivers? Why should we care? What can we do about it? 

Once a week, for five consecutive weeks, Molly Rippke, with the help of an intern, is testing the Rogue at the same seven locations, starting at 22 Mile Road and ending at Twelve Mile Road. They deliver the samples collected at each site to a laboratory in Lansing that same day. In addition, the team measures the dissolved oxygen content at these sites, a measure of special interest to those who fish the Rogue.

The DEQ does similar monitoring on the rivers in Michigan as a matter of routine every five years but this is the first time E.coli has been measured on this scale in the Rogue River.  Testing is done in order to evaluate whether the bacterial level in the river is safe for partial or full-body contact. Because human health is the priority, the DEQ  responds to reports from the public that question the safely of a river’s E-coli levels, regardless of the five year schedule.

 E.coli (short for Escherichia coli) comes from the feces of warm-blooded animals, and is a common problem in rivers. E-coli enters rivers through pasture runoff, illicit sanitary connections, failing septic systems, urban run-off, and manure land-applications in agricultural areas. 

If you’d like to learn more about E-coli, go to this website:  www.mi.gov/waterquality.gov, and click on surface waters.

The testing phase is not finished yet, so the results are not available.

However, the RRWP plans to post the resulting data when it become available, at their website: rogueriverwp.org. 

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Health advisory issued regarding PFAS in foam on Rogue River


Photo of foam at Rogue River on April 6, 2018. Photo taken by AECOM during the sampling event.

by Judy Reed

An unusual foam has appeared on water bodies in Michigan located near known sources of PFAS, including the Rogue River near the Rockford dam. And if you are someone who likes to swim in or use the Rogue River for recreational purposes, you’ll want to make sure you don’t swallow that foam floating on the water.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHH) and Kent County Health Department (KCHD) issued a health advisory on Tuesday, June 5, with that warning after testing came back from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on June 4.

According to a report from the MDHH, surface water samples from the Rogue River and its tributary Rum Creek were collected in October 2017, and a sample of foam observed on the Rogue River near the Rockford Dam was collected in April 2018. Concentrations of PFAS in the foam were high relative to concentrations in the surface water.

Because of the amounts of PFAS found in that foam, MDHHS and KCHD have concluded that swallowing the foam may pose a human health risk. Therefore, the two agencies are advising people to take precautions against swallowing the foam while using the river recreationally.

The MDHHS advised that neither contact with skin, nor incidental ingestion of, PFAS-containing water during recreational activities in the Rogue River are expected to pose a risk to human health. It was mainly ingestion of the foam that posed the health risk.

The report noted there are other potential exposure pathways of PFAS near the Rogue River, including the consumption of locally-caught non-migratory fish or the drinking of water from wells that have an elevated concentration of PFAS. So avoiding contact with river foam alone may not ensure you won’t be exposed to PFAS.

The MDHHS has issued Eat Safe Fish guidelines for the Rogue River due to a variety of chemicals, including PFOS and mercury. See Michigan.gov/eatsafefish for more info on that.

In the meantime, the MDEQ will continue to monitor the foam on the Rogue River.

 

 

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What’s “bugging” you in our streams?


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 and Michigan Trout Unlimited will be holding a Stream Insect Monitoring Event on Saturday, October 14, 2017 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 watershed. You don’t need any experience with stream insects to participate and all ages are welcome.

What will you need?  Please RSVP to Nichol DeMol at ndemol@tu.org or 231-557-6362 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. Children under 16 years old need to be accompanied by an adult.

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What’s “bugging” you in our streams?


OUT-Stream-monitoringIn 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 and Michigan Trout Unlimited will be holding a Stream Insect Monitoring Event on Saturday, May 6, 2017 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 watershed. You don’t need any experience with stream insects to participate and all ages are welcome.

What will you need?  Please RSVP to Jamie Vaughan at jvaughan@tu.org or 312-391-4760 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. Children under 16 years old need to be accompanied by an adult.

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Trout Unlimited, partners receive $8 million grant for habitat restoration


Trout Unlimited and partners at the Natural Resources Conservation Service working on wetland restoration.

Trout Unlimited and partners at the Natural Resources Conservation Service working on wetland restoration.

Trout Unlimited (TU) and partners have received funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The $8 million federal grant will promote conservation efforts in the Lower Grand River Watershed. In the Rogue River, as part of TU’s Home Rivers Initiative, approximately $2 million will support conservation agreements and help agricultural landowners to implement best practices to address water quality concerns.

Trout Unlimited will work with partners including the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Kent Conservation District, the Rogue River Watershed Partners, local municipalities, and schools to restore wetlands, reconnect floodplains, install buffer strips, and implement other erosion control practices to reduce sedimentation in the local waterways.

“This 5-year grant is regionally important as there are partners implementing restoration practices all throughout the Lower Grand River Watershed, including in downtown Grand Rapids as part of the river revitalization project,” said a statement from Trout Unlimited. “For that project to be successful, it is necessary to protect and restore upstream communities and watersheds such as the Rogue River, as it is a significant coldwater tributary to the Grand. Trout Unlimited is pleased to be a part of such a momentous project and excited to expand their efforts in the Rogue River watershed.”

Trout Unlimited has also been working with area schools and other volunteers on projects for Cedar Creek, right here in Cedar Springs. Cedar Creek is part of the Rogue River watershed.

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The Springs Church set to perform at Praise in the Park


ENT-Praise-in-park

On Sunday, August 14, 2016, The Springs Church will be performing at Praise in the Park at the Garden Club Park in Rockford, MI. Praise in the Park is a music only Christian event lasting approximately one hour. Located on the banks of the beautiful Rogue River, the Garden Club Park is the perfect setting to praise our Heavenly Father for all the blessings he has bestowed on us. The Springs Church will take the stage promptly at 6:00 p.m.

The Garden Club Park is located by the dam in downtown Rockford near the intersection of W. Bridge & Squires Streets. The park has served as the home for the weekly event for the past five years.

The Springs Church would like to invite all their members and residents of Cedar Springs out to enjoy the music of their Praise Team on Sunday, August 14. So bring a chair, blanket, family, friends, neighbors, and a picnic and enjoy the beautiful sounds of our Praise Team.

Coupons for discounted food and treats at downtown Rockford restaurants and additional information can be found at www.rpmoll.com/praise.

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Green team upgrades rain gardens


This group of students did some upgrading on the rain gardens at CS Manufacturing last week.

This group of students did some upgrading on the rain gardens at CS Manufacturing last week.

N-Green-team1A Green team of high school students working with Trout Unlimited did some work upgrading the rain gardens at CS Manufacturing last week (located at Fifth and Cherry Streets).

This group of students is spending the summer learning about the Rogue River and creative ways to manage its major pollutant—stormwater runoff—with green infrastructure. During their four weeks, the students will be working on public and private lands to install and maintain rain gardens, bioswales, and other native landscaping techniques in Rockford, Cedar Springs, and Sparta.

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Rogue River Green team returns to improve watershed


From left to right: Intern DeAnna Clum, students Liam Gardner, James Olsen, Max Homrich and Claire Gault visiting a garden in Grand Rapids.

From left to right: Intern DeAnna Clum, students Liam Gardner, James Olsen, Max Homrich and Claire Gault visiting a garden in Grand Rapids.

Be on the lookout this summer for eight local high school students working in their community to protect its water resources. Through a program with Trout Unlimited’s Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative, the Green Team of students are spending their summer learning about the Rogue River and creative ways to manage its major pollutant—stormwater runoff—with green infrastructure.

Rockford High School students Max Homrich and James Olsen installing a rain garden for a property owner on Rum Creek.

Rockford High School students Max Homrich and James Olsen installing a rain garden for a property owner on Rum Creek.

The June team, comprised of Liam Gardner, Max Homrich, James Olsen, and returning member Claire Gault, are led by local landscaper and native plant specialist Georgia Donovan. During their four weeks, the students will be working on public and private lands to install and maintain rain gardens, bioswales, and other native landscaping techniques in Rockford, Cedar Springs, and Sparta.

In addition to field work, the students will be working with their partner Green Team downstream in Plaster Creek—taking classes at Calvin College, working in the greenhouse with Plaster Creek Stewards, and meeting professionals in the environmental field for valuable job training. Although many of the students hope to pursue a career in aquatic ecology and biology, the knowledge they are gaining through this experience will help them make good decisions as a citizen of the planet in every aspect of their life.

If you see the Green Team working on riparian buffers to Rum Creek in Rockford, or planting a rain garden by CS Tool Engineering in Cedar Springs, or landscaping Sparta Area Schools’ campuses with native vegetation, be sure to say hi and thank them for their efforts to protect the Rogue River across the watershed.

The Green Team is supported by a grant through the Environmental Protection Agency.

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$200,000 grant will help restore wetlands


 

The 50-acre conservation easement will protect lakes and emergent wetlands in the watershed from development. Nelson Lake, just off Division, and east of Sparta, is one of the lakes in the conservation easement. Photo Credit: Pete DeBoer

The 50-acre conservation easement will protect lakes and emergent wetlands in the watershed from development. Nelson Lake, just off Division, and east of Sparta, is one of the lakes in the conservation easement. Photo Credit: Pete DeBoer

Cedar Springs and Sparta to benefit

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality recently announced more than $4.3 million in grants to protect Michigan lakes and streams from pollution, and a group working on projects in Cedar Springs and Sparta received a portion of it.

Trout Unlimited received $239,449 to restore wetlands, and to protect a 50-acre property with a permanent conservation easement in the Rogue River watershed, as part of the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative project. The City of Cedar Springs and the Cedar Springs Community Building Development Team has contributed $22,000 to this project. Additional project partners include the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, SouthPeat Environmental LLC, the Rogue River Watershed Partners, and the Kent County Drain Commissioner Office.

Specific wetland activities include restoring approximately 5 acres of wetlands in the Cedar Springs and Sparta area. Two wetlands will be restored in Cedar Springs, both on City of Cedar Springs property. One is a half acre by the fire barn, where the new library will built (between the firebarn and Cedar Creek) and two acres at North Park, just east off of Main Street (between Oak Street and Cedar Springs Mobile Estates).

Two wetlands will also be restored in the Sparta area—one acre on the corner of M37 and Main St, and 1.5 acres off of Phelps, on private property.

Once restored, these sites will play a huge role in reducing sediment in Cedar and Nash Creeks and helping to stabilize water temperature by controlling stormwater runoff.  In addition, identification and prioritization of historically lost wetlands will be done and potential wetland restoration areas in the entire watershed will be quantified for future projects.

A second portion of the project is the completion of a conservation easement, permanently protecting approximately 50 acres in the watershed. The 50-acre conservation easement is located just east of Sparta, off of Division, on private property.

This property is directly adjacent to 124 acres of permanently protected land. The area just outside of the property is experiencing development pressure. The conservation easement will eliminate all development in this area, as well as provide buffer zones to the waterways and wetland areas.

These grants will help restore impaired waters and protect high-quality waters by reducing nonpoint sources of sediment, nutrients and other contaminants. Nonpoint source pollution is runoff that picks up both natural and human contaminants as it moves across the ground and eventually deposits it into waterways.

This two year project will begin in October 2016 and will be part of the current Trout Unlimited Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative project. This project is a multi-year collaborative watershed restoration project. Local foundations, businesses and other donors have contributed funds towards the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative project. The City of Cedar Springs and the Cedar Springs Community Building Development Team has contributed $22,000 to this project. Additional project partners include the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, SouthPeat Environmental LLC, the Rogue River Watershed Partners, and the Kent County Drain Commissioner Office.

A Trout Unlimited Project Manager and Project Coordinator work to improve existing river conditions through restoration actions, work with local governments to improve municipal planning, and increase capacity to help ensure advocates for long-term protection of the Rogue.

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