Muskegon River Watershed Assembly Receives Tree Planting Grant

Written by Mary Hansen,
MRWA Project Manager

Last fall, the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly (MRWA) was awarded a grant for more than $300,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).  This grant will allow the MRWA, along with 6 partners to plant 882 trees over 300 acres in 4 counties within the watershed.

Partners include:
1. The city of Evart
2. Mecosta County Parks
3. Newaygo County Parks
4. The city of Newaygo
5. Bridgeton Township in Newaygo County
6. West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission (WMSRDC) in the Greater Muskegon area and Fremont.

Planting trees in the watershed delivers multiple benefits:

  • helps restore the historic tree canopy that once graced the watershed to cool the waters necessary for the health of native fish species
  • reduces toxic run-off through filtration,
  • prevents soil erosion and
  • adds natural habitat.

Planting has begun with the first of two spring plantings in Bridgeton Township.  In early May, Mellema Nursery LLC in Fremont delivered 49 trees to Bridgeton Township and contracted with the township to provide equipment and assist with planting. The Mellema crew planted eleven Autumn Blaze Maple trees in front of the township hall in a highly visible area that was previously void of trees.  Those trees have made a big difference to the visual appeal of that location and their brilliant color will be eye catching this fall.

Below the Bridgeton Township hall is the boat launch and not far away is the Maple Island boat launch; both are access points to the Muskegon River and both launches are highly visible to the public and boast heavy pedestrian traffic during the summer months.  Both launches became home to several varieties of trees including Sugar and Autumn Blaze Maples, Swamp White Oaks, Juneberry and White Pine trees.

Also in May, Mecosta County Parks received delivery of their tree order in the form of Redbud and Dogwood trees for Paris Park and School Section Lake Veterans Memorial Park.  Springtime in Paris will never be the same with these beauties gracing the northbound corridor of Northland Drive along the entryway to the park and office.  Visitors to the area will be treated to the spectacular springtime bloom of pink and white blossoms.

Coincidentally, as trees were being delivered to the park at School Section Lake, a veterans memorial was being erected and was in need of greenscape.  No question where these trees needed to be planted!  They now grace the memorial overlooking the lake and will be a joy for park attendees to see for years to come.

Planting trees carries forth the MRWA mission:  the protection, restoration and sustainable use of the Muskegon River, the land it drains and the life it supports.

To find out how you can help or to learn more about tree planting, visit .