From the Desk of…

Julie Chamberlain, Executive Director Muskegon River Watershed Assembly

Julie Chamberlain, Executive Director
Muskegon River Watershed Assembly

From the Desk of Julie Chamberlain
Executive Director, MRWA

A lot can happen in the next few weeks so I hesitate to offer my congratulations for surviving another Michigan winter. As you know, it is very easy to get ahead of yourself when it comes to the timing of Michigan’s seasons. Remember when we were kids hoping for one more snow day in April? Yet, it feels like spring to me so, throwing caution to the winds, join me in celebrating the season.

Everyone can agree on one simple fact: it is a great season to live in Michigan, full of hopeful anticipation caused by rising temperatures. We are encouraged to haul out the canoe and plan the first paddle of the year; maybe put a patch on those leaky waders with the trout opener just around the corner. On the other hand, you can just enjoy the warm sun on your face on a day when you can leave your jacket at home.

For MRWA staff, it is typically time to get busy on the plans we have made the last few months and this year is no exception. We have work in progress to complete and new projects to start.

For our project manager Dixie Ward, the spring thaw means it is time to get her feet wet.  Jobsites on the main stem of the Muskegon River as well as major tributaries throughout the watershed need attention.

“As usual, improving riparian habitat is a main goal at sites this spring.  This year, Biology students from local schools will get their hands dirty, helping us plant native trees, shrubs and other plants along streambanks and on riparian lands. It should be a great experience for them, with tangible benefits for the watershed.”  – Dixie Ward- MRWA Project Manager

Therefore, with the calendar in mind, in the spring issue of the River View, we will present some topics appropriate to the season.

First, we will hear from a new contributor, Joel Betts, who will offer scientific evidence that something as basic as a rain garden that you plant this spring can have very positive and long term impact on the watershed.

Elizabeth Monarch, seasonal botanist continues our series on invasive species with an article that highlights three common, easy to identify plants that may be growing on your property. Now is the time to deal with them.

And finally since spring marks the spawning runs of many native species, we’ll  take an in depth look at one of the most interesting creatures to inhabit our watershed: the lake sturgeon. We have enlisted the support of subject matter experts to share their knowledge. Our thanks to:

  • Marty Holtgren, DNR Biologist.  
  • Stephanie Ogren, Science Education Manager , Grand Rapids Public Museum
  • Corey Jerome  Fisheries Biologist with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians

Additionally we are fortunate to have contributions from two of our board members: Vice chair, Wayne Groesbeck, and Governance committee chair George Heartwell. We hope you enjoy the articles and as always, we would love to hear from you on any of these topics.