Early Indicators

Don Henning
Editor, MRWA Riverview

When the osprey return to their nest high above the campus of Ferris State College, it is a pretty reliable indication that spring is near.

For generations of Tiger fans however, the true sign of spring, the one that you could really trust was the voice of legendary announcer Ernie Harwell reciting Chapter 2 verse 11 and 12 from the Song of Solomon. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth. The time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.

He only did it once a year on opening day of spring training, so you had to know the date and time of the first game and tune in your radio. The message was clear. If the Tigers are playing baseball, it must be spring.

Always a busy time of year for a mating pair of Osprey, Tiger prospects as well as MRWA staff as they gear up for the next phase of on the ground restoration projects. This particular spring is noteworthy for an important benchmark in our historical calendar: the twenty-year anniversary of the founding of the MRWA.

In May of 1998, Wayne Groesbeck, Gale Nobes, Greg Mund and other like-minded environmentalists met to create an organization to address pressing issues within the Muskegon River watershed. Two years later, we incorporated as a 501c3 non-profit, and with support from the Wege Foundation, hired Gary Noble as our first executive director.

A lot of water has flowed from Houghton Lake to Lake Michigan in the past twenty years, all of it a little cooler and cleaner thanks to the MRWA. Wayne shares his perspective in an article in this, the spring edition of the Riverview.

As our contribution to spring, we offer some articles appropriate to the season but first address some overdue business.

We are in fact, very pleased to welcome a new executive director to our organization. Those of you who know Marty Holtgren as a friend or colleague will understand why all of our directors are delighted that he has agreed to lead our organization. For everyone else, you will find a brief hiring announcement and profile below.

An unexpected benefit of Marty’s service will be his contribution to this and future editions of the Riverview. In February, he helped to plan a Lake Sturgeon Conference that featured expert presentation and analysis on one of our favorite residents of the watershed. His article provides highlights of the two-day conference. I think you will enjoy the insight.

As we all know, spring is the active growth season for all variety of plant life including the non-native invasive species that continue to be an issue because of their stubborn resistance to control. There is a wealth of information on a variety of websites providing help with identification and recommended strategies for containment.

Although we won’t attempt to reproduce all of that here, we will provide an article by our resident expert, Vicki Sawicki who serves as the program coordinator for the North Country Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (NCCISMA), a comprehensive resource for information, hands on support and effective tools.

Finally, you will find a letter inviting you to volunteer as a “citizen scientist” to help us conduct important scientific research in the streams within the watershed. I hope you will consider lending a hand.

As always, we welcome your thoughts. You can find the MRWA page on face book or visit our website at www.mrwa.org.