Trout Unlimited has been collecting data over the past two years on several coldwater streams that drain to the Rogue River – Rum Creek, Blakeslee Creek, a small tributary of Barkley Creek, and an Unnamed Tributary to the Rogue River. This monitoring was funded by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and helped Trout Unlimited collect baseline data at sites where future restoration practices are planned. This baseline data is extremely valuable because it can be compared to data collected after the restoration practices are put into place. This comparison will help determine whether or not both water quality and habitat quality have improved and ultimately how successful the restoration practices were at each location. Data collected in 2013-2014 included measurements of stream bank condition and erosion, the amount of wood in the stream, stream canopy, water temperature, and fish and stream insect communities. One interesting finding was that the average water temperature in July at our sample sites was about 58°F indicating substantial groundwater input in to these streams. These cool temperature are critical for sensitive fish species, such as trout, which were found in significant numbers at some sampling locations such as Rum creek, which runs through downtown Rockford. However, during some heavy rain events, some of the stream sites exhibited an increase of 10°F indicating that warm stormwater runoff is affecting the temperature of these coldwater streams. Protection and improvement of these coldwater streams and the surrounding floodplain is critical to maintaining natural stream temperatures and healthy fish populations. If you would like more information about this study please contact Nichol De Mol at firstname.lastname@example.org or 231-557-6362. Funding from the DEQ adds to funds contributed to the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative project by the Frey Foundation, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, the Wege Foundation, the Wolverine World Wide Foundation, and the Schrems West Michigan Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Trout_1: Brown Trout in Rum Creek surveyed as part of Trout Unlimited’s work. Trout_2: Part of Trout Unlimited’s work included surveying the stream bed .
Johnson Controls employees and their families helped to plant 180 feet of native plants along Rum Creek on Saturday, August 25. This effort was part of Trout Unlimited’s Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative program, which began in the watershed in 2010. The project site, owned by City of Rockford resident Jack McClennen, was transformed from turf grass to trees, shrubs, flowers, and sedges that are adapted to local climate and conditions. These native plants were purchased using $1,000 from Johnson Controls’ Blue Sky Involve grant. Blue Sky Involve is Johnson Controls’ global, employee-driven volunteer program that encourages employees to form volunteer groups to work with local organizations to support environmental stewardship and leadership development projects. Rum Creek is an important waterway to protect because it is considered a “cold-transitional small river system.” These systems are defined as having fairly cold July mean water temperatures between 63.5 and 67.1 degrees Fahrenheit. Michigan’s cold-transitional small rivers represent an extremely rare coldwater resource within the Midwestern U.S. Fish populations in these transitional rivers are sensitive to small changes in July water temperature. If we make land use changes that increase the water temperature due to increased stormwater runoff, or decrease groundwater recharge through covering the natural landscape with impervious surfaces (mainly artificial structures, such as pavements, that are covered by impenetrable materials) we could see a dramatic change in the ability of these waterways to support trout. It is important to realize that while grass or lawn is not impervious, it absorbs less precipitation than a forest, or natural grass meadow. A typical lawn absorbs only 10 percent of the amount of stormwater that a natural landscape can absorb. As rain drops fall and strike the ground directly, they compact the soil underneath the lawn. The compacted soil quickly becomes saturated with water, which then has less of a chance to infiltrate into the soil. Precipitation then quickly travels as overland runoff into the nearest drainage sewer or stream, carrying with it many pollutants. Landscaping with native plants is a great way to reduce the amount of runoff and pollutants that leave your property. Native plants have deep roots (some can grow down 25 feet) and form deep channels in the soil that absorb rainwater. These extensive root […]
The section of Rum Creek across from the Rockford Community Cabin was busy with activity Saturday morning, June 23. Eighteen students from middle schools in the Grand Rapids metro area were busy collecting water quality data on Rum Creek. These students were part of the Summer Journeys program, which was founded in 2008 to help students understand, interact with and value communities. Through place-based, field-based, expeditionary educational programs, this program provides students with unforgettable experiences in a close-knit community of their peers. David Buth, a Summer Journeys program leader, partnered with Trout Unlimited to collect baseline data at future restoration sites as part of the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative program. Students investigated aquatic insects, quantified the amount of gravel on the stream bottom, placed pins on the side of the stream bank to measure erosion rates, and measured depths and widths of the stream. The future restoration sites include a native buffer planting and removal of the old Mill Pond dam. The data collected by the students will help Trout Unlimited determine whether or not both water quality and habitat quality have improved, whether or not the goals of the project have been met, and guide ongoing restoration efforts. To learn more about the Summer Journeys program, go to www.summerjourneys.org.
by BETH ALTENA According to City Manager Michael Young, as of Thursday, Nov. 4, the Wolverine Tannery demolition of significant structures was “officially over” with the exception of the wastewater treatment plant and existing shoe store. The existing shoe store will remain and open for business until the new shoe and apparel store at the southern end of the property is ready to open. Over the next several weeks, contractors will remove remaining rubble and debris and bring in fill to raise the site. The focus is now on cleanup and redevelopment of the property, Young stated.