GLADWIN – The Gladwin Conservation District has recently been accepted as a recipient of a grant from Michigan’s Volunteer River, Stream and Creek Cleanup Program (VRSCCP). This program is run by the Great Lakes Commission and distributes grant funds from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE, formally Michigan DEQ).
The grant funds total just over $1,500, and will be used to purchase equipment and supplies needed to run the Cedar River Cleanup in the future. This event has occurred annually on 4.5 miles of the Cedar River from Chappel Dam to Gladwin City Park since 2015. In the past it has been run by the Boardman River Clean Sweep, a group out of Traverse City. This year, Little Forks Conservancy of Midland planned to take over the coordination of the event, partnering with the Gladwin Conservation District to shift the event into more local hands.
“It is critically important to gather local support for these types of events”, says Tristan Hewitt, administrator for the Gladwin Conservation District. “Throughout the state and country, we have witnessed the positive impacts of having localized efforts engage various conservation initiatives. By involving the citizens who are directly benefitting or suffering from the ecological health of their environment, we hope to create a community network driven on conservation that will produce a positive feedback loop in the community.”
Volunteers are needed to make this event a success. The Cedar River Cleanup will take place on Thursday, July 11, 2019. Volunteers will meet at 9 a.m. at the Gladwin City Park, located at 240 S. Cayuga St. Gladwin, MI. A shuttle is being donated by Gladwin City-County Transit to transport volunteers from the park to the launch site at Chappel Dam. Volunteers will then paddle the river back to the park, collecting trash as they go. Kayaks will be provided, donated by Ike’s Mobile Kayak. T-shirts and lunch will also be provided to all volunteers.
In the past, an average of about 200 pounds of trash has been collected from this stretch of the Cedar River each year. The Cedar River is an important natural and recreational resource in the area, including one of the only stretches of Blue Ribbon Trout Stream in the Saginaw Bay Watershed. Keeping it clear of trash will help to ensure that this resource retains its high quality. The importance of this cannot be understated, as the Saginaw Bay Watershed is the largest in the state of Michigan, spanning 5.5 million acres and 22 counties. Because of the vital ecosystem services provided to both people and nature, the ecological health of this watershed is vital to the entire Great Lakes ecosystem.
For more details or to register as a volunteer for this event, email Mindee Goodrum at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 989-835-4886.