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’ first ever rain barrel workshop! Trout Unlimited has been conducting rain barrel workshops in the Rogue River watershed since 2013, successfully distributing 131 barrels to the local community. This summer, Trout Unlimited’s Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative teamed 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. Want to know more about rain barrels? 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 11th, 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. We look forward to seeing you out there! 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.
This summer, the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative in Michigan partnered up with a professor and his graduate students from Grand Valley State University to study brook trout movement in the watershed. Dr. Mark Luttenton, Biology Graduate Program Coordinator, and his students, Justin Wegner and Graeme Zaparzynski, set out to evaluate the response of brook trout to a range of water temperature regimes, specifically summer water temperatures that surpass the temperature for maximum growth (13° C) and upper thermal preference (16° C). They also sought to understand the extent to which brook trout moderate internal body temperatures behaviorally by seeking coldwater refuge and how it relates to diet and fish bioenergetics. To do so, they implanted 10 brook trout with a temperature sensitive radio transmitter. The transmitter will allow them to track their movements using telemetry and communicate core body temperatures throughout the summer. Every other day, the researchers will locate each fish and collect water temperature data to inform their findings. Trout Unlimited suggested Cedar Creek in Cedar Springs for the study and facilitated a partnership with the local chapter Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited and the Cedar Springs Community Building Development Team, whom helped fund the project. On June 23rd, the research team along with excited community members and local press gathered at Cedar Creek to watch the surgical implantation of the radio transmitter and subsequent release of the tagged brook trout. The Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative will use this data to prioritize restoration efforts in the watershed to focus on key trout habitat in the coldwater creek, particularly where groundwater inputs have been identified by the GVSU students. 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.
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 […]
Trout Unlimited recently received a $66,172 grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) under the Clean Michigan Initiative Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Fund and Section 319 of the Clean Water Act to educate planning commissions on the placement and proper use of storm water practices in the Rogue River Watershed. This project is part of the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative program, a multi-year collaborative integrated watershed restoration project established in the watershed by Trout Unlimited in October 2010. This funding from the DEQ adds to funds contributed to this project by the Frey Foundation, Wege Foundation, Wolverine World Wide Inc., Schrems West Michigan Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and Robert DeVilbiss. The Rogue River Watershed features an outstanding combination of cold, cool and warm waters, which makes it an extremely important trout fishery in southern Michigan. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources estimated that angling trips to the Rogue River bring in about $485,000 per year. However, the Rogue River Watershed lies in the urban shadow of one of the fastest growing areas in Michigan. The pressures from growth and development could negatively impact the productivity and diversity in this watershed. Fluctuating water temperature is a serious issue in the Rogue River. Warm stormwater runs off impervious surfaces (roads, rooftops, sidewalks) and can force the Rogue’s various trout species to hide out in the cooler waters of its tributaries. Stormwater pollution is a challenging water quality problem. Unlike pollution from industry or sewage treatment facilities, which is caused by a discrete number of sources, stormwater pollution is caused by the daily activities of people everywhere. Rainwater and snowmelt run off streets, lawns, farms, and construction and industrial sites and pick up fertilizers, dirt, pesticides, oil and grease, and many other pollutants on the way to our rivers and lakes. Local units of government play an important role by deciding on the extent to which stormwater pollution can be controlled in their community. The project’s goal is to develop a stormwater guidebook to educate planning commissions and professional planners on placement and proper use of stormwater management techniques in the Rogue River Watershed. This project is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2012. If you have any questions about this project or the […]