From the Office of the Director

From the Office of the Director
Marty Holtgren, PHD
Executive Director, Muskegon River Watershed Assembly


Dear Friends and Partners,

Speaking for the staff of the MRWA during these difficult times, we find our thoughts turning to you – the family and friends we are fortunate to work beside in protecting the watershed.  We hope you are safe and we thank you for your encouraging notes.

We also recognize that organizations of all descriptions – global corporations, family owned businesses and local non-profits like the MRWA – face major challenges.  We all must make critical decisions to ensure that our people are safe while our organizations remain financially solvent. Additionally, we must respond appropriately to current executive directives, while understanding that life and death issues are a reality for many of our friends and colleagues.

I wanted to share with you the actions that we have taken.  Because the MRWA is entirely supported by grant funding and individual donations we have cut spending and ceased “discretionary activities” in response to dwindling revenues and directivities from the State of Michigan.  As the Director, I have decided to reduce my hours to a day or less per week until the situation stabilizes.  Much of my work consists of face-to-face meetings, which at this time is obviously not possible. In the interim my efforts will focus on ensuring that we comply with our grant obligations and that we are ready to continue our work when we are able.

We have further reduced our payroll through temporary layoffs including many of our support staff.  Mary Hansen, our hard-working project manager who is entirely grant funded, will take an indefinite leave until we are able to safely bring her back. I have had substantive conversations with all of our grant providers and they assure me that the funds are secure. We look forward to the day when they are able reinstate the grants and Mary can resume her work to the benefit of the organization and the watershed.

Our office manager, Pat Jarrett, whose work is funded through operations and is essential to the solvency of the organization will continue to work with reduced hours.

These are difficult choices but necessary for the long-term health of the MRWA.  Please know, that we await the time when we can safely reunite the MRWA team and continue our work with you in protecting and improving our shared watershed.   Meanwhile we wish all of you a safe and healthy outcome.