Trout Unlimited involved in annual cleanup by BETH ALTENA Add 60 volunteers to a day of cleanup on the Rogue River and you get a lot cleaned up. Annual event organizer Andrew Kirsting, who began the Rogue River Cleanup in 2005 when he was just 15 years old, was amazed at how fast and how well this year’s group picked up other people’ garbage. Kirsting’s regular volunteers were joined this year on April 23 by members of the local Schrem’s Trout Unlimited, or others affiliated with the Rogue River as a Trout Unlimited Home Rivers Initiative. About 60 people had signed up ahead of time with more expected to show the day of the event. Despite high water due to recent storms, volunteers pulled a record amount of junk from the river, from whiskey barrels to vehicle tires. In another example of multiple-organizational cooperation, a donation from a nonprofit organization called American Rivers made separating recyclable materials from plain trash easier. That group donated blue bags with which volunteers sorted the cans, bottles and other material suitable for recycling. “We tried to do that in the past, but with all the bags looking the same it was hard to do,” said Kirsting. Rockford D&W donates the black trash bags and water, B.C. Pizza and the Corner Bar supplied the after-cleanup feast, and Celebration Cinema and the Coopersville-Marne Railroad donated prizes. Next year, Kirsting hopes to expand the cleanup from its usual expanse of three total miles of river to six. This year groups went both south from Richardson-Sowerby Park to Childsdale and also north to the Rockford dam. Instead of a half-day event, the entire cleanup took only two hours and was the most thorough cleanup so far, Kirsting reported. He is excited to perhaps double the group’s goal for next year and head twice as far down stream.
Local citizens are banding together to tackle litter in the Rogue River. The Rogue River Project, founded by Andrew Kersting, and Trout Unlimited, through the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative project, are working together to conduct a stream cleanup along the Rogue River on April 23, 2011. Garbage along stream banks is not only unsightly, but it also can be harmful to wildlife. Many plants and animals depend on access to the water for survival. Waste can prevent animals from reaching what they need. Sometimes animals can confuse garbage for food or a suitable home. Waste enters a stream in a number of ways. Storm drains collect storm water from our neighborhoods, parking lots and other public areas, and this water is not treated before it reaches our local waterways. This means that garbage that ends up in a storm drain is washed directly to our streams and rivers. Litter from recreational use and sometimes intentional dumping also pollutes our water resources. You can help by volunteering a few hours of your time to collect garbage along three miles of the Rogue River below the Rockford dam on April 23 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Please meet at Richardson Sowerby Park in Rockford. Morning refreshments and a pizza lunch will be available for volunteers. You will also be entered into a drawing to win free tickets to Celebration Cinema or the Coopersville and Marne Railway Company. Please wear closed-toe shoes and bring gloves if you have them. For more information visit therogueriverproject.org/default.aspx. If you are interested in attending, please contact Nichol De Mol at (231) 557-6362 or e-mail email@example.com. Special thanks to the following businesses for supporting this event: AAA Canoe Rental, BC Pizza, Celebration Cinema, Coopersville and Marne Railway, D&W, and The Corner Bar. Trout Unlimited is the nation’s largest coldwater conservation organization, with 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.
Around 70 people came to the Rockford Sportsman’s Club on Monday, March 28 to hear about the programs available to assist property owners with wetland restoration on their land. The Rogue River Watershed Council and Trout Unlimited Inc., in partnership with Timberland Resource Conservation & Development, the Kent Conservation District, the Izaak Walton League, and the Department of Environmental Quality hosted this free informational workshop. Speakers included: Rob Zbiciak, Wetland Restoration and Watersheds Coordinator for the Department of Environmental Quality; Becky Otto, Wetland Reserve Program Coordinator for the Natural Resources Conservation Service; and Gib King, a fish and wildlife biologist for the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Zbiciak started the workshop by talking about the importance of wetlands in our landscape and wetland loss in the state of Michigan. Over half of Michigan’s wetlands have been drained and converted for agricultural use or other types of development. Wetlands serve a very important role in the landscape by improving water quality, flood storage and groundwater recharge. The loss of wetlands has increased the frequency and severity of flood events. An important function of wetlands is that they reduce sediment and nutrients in surface water before it enters our streams, lakes and rivers. Restoring wetlands is one of the best conservation practices available for improving water quality and quantity. Otto and King spoke for the second half of the meeting about the two programs available for wetland restoration. The first was the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), which restores and protects wetlands converted to agricultural use. By enrolling in WRP, landowners with land that was formerly wetlands can convert these lands back to their original state. WRP provides financial assistance to restore and protect wetlands, and to enhance degraded wetlands. For Kent County, landowners can receive up to $3,689 per acre in this program. The landowner can enter into either a 30-year easement or permanent easement that will insure the land is maintained as wetland habitat. In order to enroll land in WRP, the land must be owned privately or by a tribe and cannot have changed ownership within the previous seven years unless adequate assurances can be provided by the landowner. The second program discussed […]
Fish ladder may be in Rockford’s future by Beth Altena “If you have a business in Rockford, this will make a difference to your business,” said Glenn Blackwood of Great Lakes Fly Fishing, a Rockford business. Blackwood spoke before Rockford Rotary, telling members that the Rogue River has been selected as one of only twelve rivers across the United States for a multi-year restoration project organized by Trout Unlimited (TU). Blackwood spoke in terms of business for Rotary, but might well have said if you live in Rockford, this will affect you positively. Selection process began over two years ago when TU researchers considered three Michigan rivers for restoration and protection. Because of strong support in the area by environmental groups, donations by local business and non-profit partners and the extreme value of the Rogue as a fishery, the Rogue was chosen over the Rifle and Pigeon/Black rivers. The project is a far-reaching effort that will encompass the entire Rogue River watershed from its beginning in the former Rice Lake headlands in Newaygo County on through the waterway to its influx into the Grand River. Efforts will include working with cities and municipalities along the way to the very riverbed under the Rogue’s cold waters, said Nicol De Mol, who has been hired by Trout Unlimited to head the project for the Rogue. “As a major cold water tributary to the Grand River and its close proximity to a large population center, the Rogue River is an extremely important resource in southern Michigan,” said De Mol. “The lower portion of the river, below the dam in Rockford, is fabled for its excellent steelhead runs in the late winter and early spring. The eastern tributaries, particularly Cedar, Stegman, and Duke Creeks, host significant brook, brown and rainbow trout fisheries. The scenic and fishery values of the Rogue have resulted in more than 90 miles the main stem and tributaries being granted “Natural Rivers” status under Michigan’s Natural Rivers Act.” Blackwood noted that, although the river is famous as a fishery, it has nonetheless gained 7 to 8 degrees in temperatures from earlier years. A restoration of a river in “pretty good shape but with significant room for improvement” will result in more fish, bigger fish and […]