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Tag Archive | "Trout Unlimited"

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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$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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Barrels and Brews with Trout Unlimited


Sign up to create a rain barrel to store rainwater to water your plants and garden and keep stormwater out of the lakes and rivers.

Sign up to create a rain barrel to store rainwater to water your plants and garden and keep stormwater out of the lakes and rivers.

Rain barrel workshops on tap

What do rain barrels and a business making great beer have in common? Clean water for the Rogue River. A rain barrel is a system that collects and stores rainwater (stormwater) from your roof that would otherwise be lost to runoff and diverted to storm drains and streams. Stormwater is the leading source of water pollution in West Michigan. 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.

This year, Trout Unlimited is working with Rockford Brewing Company and Cedar Springs Brewing Company to host a rain barrel workshop series—Barrels and Brews—to help protect the Rogue River. Trout Unlimited has been conducting rain barrel workshops in the Rogue River watershed since 2013, successfully distributing around 250 barrels to the local community. Trout Unlimited is partnering with Plainfield Charter Township, the Cedar Springs Community Building Development Team, and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council to conduct these workshops. All workshops include everything you need to set up your barrel and take around 45 minutes. Rain barrels are $30 apiece and you must sign-up for a workshop at rainbarrels.wmeac.org.

Rain barrel workshops will be held at:

Rockford Brewing – Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. on: May 10, June 21, July 19, August 16 (12 E. Bridge St., Rockford)

Cedar Springs Brewing – Monday, May 23 at 6:30 p.m. (corner of Main and Maple, Cedar Springs)

We look forward to seeing you there!

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CTA students found what’s bugging us in Cedar Creek


Nichol DeMull, of Trout Unlimited, instructs a CTA student on how to search for insects in Cedar Creek. Photo by J. Reed.

Nichol DeMull, of Trout Unlimited, instructs a CTA student on how to search for insects in Cedar Creek. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Stream monitoring done by Creative Technologies students this week show that Cedar Creek has excellent water quality, according to Nichol DeMull, of Trout Unlimited.

CTA biology and conservation students and teachers Jim Fredenberg and Trisha Rose teamed up with Trout Unlimited this week to do stream monitoring in Cedar Creek, at Riggle Park. According to DeMull, Fredenberg contacted her about possibly participating in the activity, since the school is nearby. DeMull and Jamie Vaughn did a presentation to the students on Monday, April 18, and the students donned waders and gloves Tuesday, April 19, to collect bugs from Cedar Creek and identify them. Some students waded through the Creek to scoop up the bugs, other students helped empty the nets, and others sorted through them. They identified and counted them, and recorded what they saw on a data sheet put together by the Michigan Clean Water Corps.

Students identify and count bugs found in Cedar Creek. Photo by J. Reed.

Students identify and count bugs found in Cedar Creek. Photo by J. Reed.

According to DeMull, bugs are the evidence of stream quality. “The students found a large diversity of insects in Cedar Creek. In the cleanest rivers, lakes, and ponds you’ll find the greatest diversity of aquatic invertebrates,” she explained. “In polluted waters, only a few species of stream insects can survive. Some of the insects they found included caddisflies, mayflies, and stoneflies. These insects are sensitive to pollution and can only survive in clean water.”

She said the students identified the kinds of insects, whether they were rare or common in the stream, and used a formula to come up with the Stream Quality Score.

CTA students teamed up in several groups to monitor bugs in Cedar Creek. Photo by J. Reed.

CTA students teamed up in several groups to monitor bugs in Cedar Creek. Photo by J. Reed.

DeMull said that we can assume that the excellent stream quality extends to a certain degree in both directions from Riggle Park. “We have another monitoring location at the mouth of Cedar Creek that we have been monitoring for about 5 years now. It also has an excellent stream quality score based on the stream insects found there,” she said.

DeMull explained that there are other things outside of the water that can also affect stream quality. “Cedar Creek has the cold groundwater and stream habitats to support a diversity of insects, but the land use around the stream has a lot to do with the kinds of insects you will find at a site. As an example, if we sample in a location where all of the trees are cut down and there is no shade (warming up the water) or if there is a lot of erosion on the banks (covering up the gravel with sand) the stream quality score might be lower.”

She said that they will continue to work with Creative Technologies Academy to work on Cedar Creek. “Something that Trout Unlimited is certainly interested in is having community members become stewards of their home waters,” said DeMull.

Trout Unlimited is still looking for volunteers to help with another stream monitoring event coming up on Saturday, May 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Rockford Community Cabin, 220 N. Monroe St. 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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What’s “bugging” you in our streams?


N-Insect--monitoring-volunteers

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


N-Rogue-river

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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Students use leaf packs to monitor Cedar Creek


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Trout Unlimited’s Home Rivers Initiative is continuing to train young scientists in the Rogue River Watershed. This fall, students from Cedar Springs High School have worked with Trout Unlimited on the Leaf Pack Network, a network of citizens, teachers, and students investigating their local stream ecosystems.

N-Trout-unlimited-CSHS2Students from eight science classes have designed experiments studying stormwater pollution, lack of riparian buffer, excess sediment, and other factors to better understand their local trout stream, Cedar Creek. They created artificial leaf packs and placed them somewhere in the creek, depending on their experimental conditions. The students waited for the leaf packs to stay in the stream for 4 weeks so that they could be colonized by macroinvertebrates.

On Monday, November 16, Trout Unlimited took the students back out to Cedar Creek to collect the leaf packs and the macroinvertebrates within. On Tuesday, they worked in the lab to identify the bugs and get a stream quality score. The data, which varied from scores of excellent to fair, will be uploaded to the Leaf Pack Network, where schools from all over the country have entered local stream conditions. Additionally, TU can use the macroinvertebrate data to prioritize sections of the creek for restoration or to identify sources of pollution.

To date, the Home Rivers Initiative has worked with over 550 students on the Leaf Pack Experiment. The experiment is a great way to give students hands-on, real world research experience while raising awareness of the importance of streamside forests to the ecology of rivers and streams and to promote their stewardship.

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

 

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What’s “bugging” you in our streams?


 

OUT-insect_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, Cannon Township and Michigan Trout Unlimited will be holding a Stream Insect Monitoring Event on Saturday, October 17, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. to1:00 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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Rain Barrel Workshop at Morley Park


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

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

Would you like to save money by reducing your water bill? Would you like to help protect the Great Lakes by something you can do at home? Then don’t miss out on Cedar Springs’ first ever rain barrel workshop, September 11, at 6 p.m. at Morley Park.

Trout Unlimited has been conducting rain barrel workshops in the Rogue River watershed since 2013, successfully distributing 131 barrels to the local community. Trout Unlimited’s Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative is teaming up with the Cedar Springs Community Building Development Team and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council to host an outdoor rain barrel workshop for the citizens of Cedar Springs and everyone who would like to save water at home.

A rain barrel is a system that collects and stores stormwater (the leading source of water pollution in West Michigan) from your roof that would otherwise enter the storm drains and empty directly into local waterways untreated. 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 workshop will be held on Friday, September 11, at 6:00 p.m. at Morley Park (17 Mile and Northland Drive). 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.

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