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Little Manistee Annual Meeting

05-Jul-2016

MANISTEE, MASON, LAKE AND WEXFORD COUNTIES –  Over 100 from Michigan and the nation will join to learn about the development of a first-ever watershed plan for the storied Little Manistee River and much more on Saturday, July 9, 2016 at Skinner Park, near Irons, Michigan.

It’s the Annual Meeting of the Little Manistee Watershed Conservation Council where participants will also learn about erosion sites, the status of a dam removal project, volunteer projects involving river protection and habitat restoration.  In addition to private and public riparian owners, including the National Forest Service, the river attracts thousands who fish for resident Brook or Brown Trout and migrating Pacific Salmon and Steelhead, enjoy the river by kayak or canoe, or visit the DNR’s weir and egg-taking station that supplies hatcheries in the Great Lakes basin with fertilized Steelhead Trout and Chinook Salmon eggs.  The meeting is open to the public.

“We hope everyone with an interest in the river and watershed will join us on July 9 to learn and identify ways that they can help protect and manage a river and watershed of historic proportions,” said Joyce Durdel and Armas Soorus who co-chair a committee that will coordinate development of the watershed plan.  “This is an opportunity for us to plan the health and well-being of our river and watershed that is crucial to the quality of life for people who live here or visit this special place.  A watershed plan is only a valuable tool if it includes the broadest participation possible in development as well as implementation.  The meeting is a great opportunity to find out what this plan can mean for the Little Manistee and the lands and waters that drain into it.”   A fund has been established at the Manistee County Community Foundation to accept charitable donations to complete the watershed plan.  Donations can be made online at www.manisteefoundation.org.

There will be a special presentation by Jack Bails, a nationally respected fisheries and water quality expert and Senior Policy Fellow with Public Sector Consultants.  Bails will present the process, purpose and schedule for developing the State and Federally approved watershed plan.  Bails formerly served as Deputy Director for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Chief of the Department’s Environmental Enforcement Division.   Public Sector Consultants was selected by a Watershed Planning Committee to coordinate and guide completion of the plan, just as they have done for the Greater Bear (Bear Lake and Bear Creek) watershed plan and the Portage Lake Forever Watershed Plan.

“The Little Manistee is an amazing and special watershed system,” Bails said.  “The watershed deserves a plan to ensure its qualities are protected and preserved and that it is wisely used by everyone in perpetuity.”.  “I look forward to outlining the process to complete the plan and ways that everyone can participate.”

“There are lots of great reasons to attend our Annual Meeting and become involved with conservation efforts involving the Little Manistee River,” said Tim Phillips, President of the Little Manistee Watershed Conservation Council.  “The vision of the Council is to leave as an enduring legacy the wild nature, natural beauty and sustainable environment of the Little Manistee River Watershed.   There may never be a better time for people who care to become actively involved, from riparian owners to people across the country who have a passion for what we affectionally call the ‘Little Man!”