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Grayling, MI (May 2023)—If you’ve ever dipped your toe into a sparkling Michigan stream or cast a line in one of our state’s magnificent rivers, you know how unforgettable the experience can be. Memories are made on the banks of these freshwater treasures, and ensuring their sustainability is so important for communities, and the aquatic wildlife that call them home.
Traverse City, MI (January 2023)—Think of the most pristine Michigan rivers you’ve seen. Imagine the clear blue-green water with brook trout and sculpin able to swim and spawn freely within. Now imagine crumbling overpass structures and outdated boiler pipes impeding these aquatic passageways. Picture tons of sediment from rain and snow melt accumulating over dozens of years and woody debris piling up over fish and insect habitats. These are the kinds of problematic environments that the Conservation Resource Alliance (CRA) has been repairing and restoring to health for more than five decades.
Detroit, MI (April 2022)—In 2003, a small group of local leaders presented a bold vision for Detroit’s waterfront. The vision was inspired by the belief that all Detroiters should have safe, clean, accessible, and welcoming places to gather on the river. From this vision, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy was born, and a plan emerged for a five-and-a-half-mile public space spanning the Ambassador Bridge to the MacArthur Bridge at Belle Isle. Today, the riverfront welcomes more than three million visitors annually.
Grayling, MI (June 2020)—From fishing and canoeing to kayaking, swimming and picnicking at the water’s edge, the recreation on our Michigan rivers is priceless. Yet hundreds of our precious water resources are struggling to stay resilient. Sometimes that means that these rivers are backed up by dams or sediment, making them susceptible to flooding or difficult for fish to traverse. These types of issues can affect the health of our waters, fisheries and the outdoor fun we have with our families.
Traverse City, MI (September 2020)—In 1995, scientists warned that the Great Lakes were dangerously close to an “ecological tipping point.” They suggested that if nothing was done the entire ecological ecosystem would collapse. To reverse course, the same scientists suggested concurrent paths to resiliency: 1) restoring the rivers and tributaries that flow into the Great Lakes, and 2) preserving coastal wetlands.
Grayling, MI (March 2020)—Clean water and healthy fish and wildlife populations are critical in making Michigan a great place to live, work, and visit. For 46 years, non-profit organization Huron Pines has been working to enhance and protect our valuable river resources in Northern Michigan. One of its priorities includes reconnecting coldwater brook trout streams, providing immediate benefit for rivers and aquatic life, and the communities that surround them.
Michigan is a state defined by water. While it is known for its connection to the Great Lakes, it’s also home to some of the most outstanding rivers in the United States: from the Au Sable, Manistee and Pere Marquette rivers in the south to the Presque Isle, Ontonagon, and Paint rivers in the Upper Peninsula. While boasting some 51,438 miles of rivers and streams, just one percent of these waterways are protected nationally as “Wild and Scenic.” Those that are designated need ongoing stewardship.
When local fisherman and landowner Ross Nave thinks back to 30 years ago, he remembers the Milligan Creek area surrounding his home as a trout haven. “In its days, the Milligan brought a lot of people to Northern Michigan just to fish. We don't see those folks anymore,” he says.
The Nature Conservancy has been working to protect the lands and waters in Michigan and the Great Lakes region for more than 60 years. From preserving waterways, coasts and forests to championing the policy and science that make those initiatives more impactful, the organization’s work is critical to the ecological and economic health of the region.