Spring into Conservation!
Spring time is here and hopefully warmer temperatures will soon come! With the warm season approaching, CRWC is gearing up for one of our busiest times of the year. “Adopt-A-Stream” monitoring, “Stream Leaders” – student water quality monitoring, and various stewardship and recreational events are in the planning for the upcoming months. Additionally, restoration projects scheduled to take place during the 2013 summer months are in the planning phases and CRWC is excited for another active work season to help restore and enhance our local freshwater resources.
A project that we are especially excited for is a continuing effort from the 2012 year, a stream bank stabilizing project at Yates Park in Rochester Hills. This site had experienced severe bank erosion caused by lack of vegetation on the stream bank and severe heavy foot-traffic from park users. CRWC and the city of Rochester Hills were able to restore a stretch of the bank with funding from Miller/Coors (the beer company). In 2012, the bank was restored and native plantings were installed to help stabilize the soil and provide habitat for aquatic (e.g. fish) and terrestrial (e.g. birds and butterflies) animals. CRWC is planning for an additional spring and possibly fall planting of native vegetation in 2013. This will help supplement and replace any plants that may not have survived over the winter months.
Public education and cooperation is a vital component when it comes to restoring natural areas in populated places such as the Clinton River watershed, so CRWC puts forth great efforts to educate citizens about the work we do, and more importantly, the benefits we get from it. Yates Park is one of the most popular parks in the watershed due in part to its close proximity to Yates Cider Mill. Fisherman and paddlers alike use it for its excellent river access and recreational users visit the park just to enjoy the natural surroundings and a view of the beautiful Clinton River.
Recently, CRWC staff has noticed impacts from foot traffic at the restoration site in Yates Park, and while we understand this is a popular area for spring-time fishing, we want to ensure the efforts made to restore the stream bank are not undone simply by a lack of communication from us. Plants that were installed in 2012 are still delicate, and survival drastically decreases when they are stepped on. The city of Rochester had installed a fence to help minimize traffic in this area, but had also created a river access path at the upstream end of the project site (see photo below). This access provides a great path to the river to wade and fish for spring steelhead (migratory rainbow trout). It also provides a great access to launch a kayak or canoe!
If you are a user of the park, please think about the potential impacts caused by foot traffic and use designated access areas to minimize your eco “foot print”. The Clinton River watershed provides us with great opportunities to interact and recreate with nature so let’s try to have conservation in mind while doing it to help protect for future generations.
See you on the river!