The Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve recently unveiled a project that would permanently protect forest and river in northern Marquette County through the creation of the Yellow Dog River Community Forest. The group has been working since 2013 to acquire property along the Yellow Dog River in strategic areas, some which contain habitat for rare species and public access for recreation. “The Yellow Dog River Community Forest is important to preserve and protect natural habitat and public recreation opportunities. As an avid fisherman, securing public access to the river is important to many,” says Jerry Maynard of the Marquette chapter of Trout Unlimited.
Maynard is part of the Yellow Dog River Community Forest Committee, which was assembled to help build a long term team of stakeholders that will design and oversee the management of the property. “The Community Forest Committee is a strong network of groups that will help lead the process. We will create a Community Forest Plan by reaching out to the community at large and ask for their vision and input. We really want to make this a project that provides a wide variety of benefits to those who use the area,” says Jim Nankervis, Ishpeming Township Supervisor and member of the Yellow Dog River Community Forest Committee.
Upon completion, the project aims to protect up to 695 acres of forest, wetland, and granite mountains as well as 5.0 miles of river/tributary. The total cost of the project is $1.1 million. Recently, The Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve was awarded a grant for $400,000 from the Community Forest and Open Spaces Program, which is a program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition, the group has raised $225,000 in cash and $35,000 in donated real estate to cover the project cost. “We still need to continue our fundraising efforts to reach our goal,” says Emily Whittaker, Special Projects Manager of the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve. “Now that the project has been unveiled, we will be holding fundraising events, writing additional grants, and more. This year marks our organization’s 20th anniversary and we feel very fortunate to finally have this opportunity to ensure its future as a beautiful, scenic river.” More…
YDWP is elated to announce the issuance of a matching challenge grant for $150,000 from a private foundation in support of the Yellow Dog River Community Forest. The foundation will match all contributions on a 1:1 basis, up to $150,000 from now to March 31, 2016. “This level of support gave our project the boost that it needed. Before the grant, we had raised $700,000 and we needed to get to $1.1 million by our deadline of March 31, 2016. Once we raise our match for this grant, that will add another $300,000 to our total. This will get us close to reaching our goal,” says Emily Whittaker, Special Projects Manager for YDWP.
The proposed Yellow Dog River Community Forest, once purchased, would become a permanently protected space encompassing 695 acres along the Yellow Dog River in northern Marquette County. The forest would be cared for and managed using a Community Forest Plan, which would be created by collecting and incorporating as much public input as possible. “It is important to remember that at the end of the day, all decisions made by the community must meet the goal of the project, which is to protect the natural resources, the property, and the community’s ability to access and enjoy those resources,” says Chauncey Moran, Chairman of YDWP. Find out more about the Community Forest Project, its Natural Resources, and the Public Participation Process.
“This challenge grant comes at a perfect time, when the groundswell needs to happen and the individual can make a big difference. It’s also great for our upcoming fundraiser on February 13th at the Ore Dock Brewing Company from 5-8pm,” says Whittaker. Details about the fundraiser can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1655854761368777/
Please consider adding to the growing financial support this project is receiving and help us meet the challenge grant. Donations are accepted via cash or check by sending it to:
Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve
P.O. Box 5
Big Bay, MI 49808
You can also donate online via Paypal by clicking below
Every Spring and Fall we sample 18 sites along the Yellow Dog River, Salmon Trout River and their tributaries to record data on the bugs that are calling these waterways home. Some bugs can only survive in really clean water, while others can live in anything. We are very fortunate here in the UP to have a large diversity of all of our bugs. Our Fall Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program (VSMP) begins on September 29th and will run until all 18 sites are finished. Want to learn more? Visit our event page- 2015 Fall VSMP!
We have been sampling for over 10 years on the Yellow Dog and 3 years on the Salmon Trout. If water quality starts changing we have these records to prove it. All of our techniques have been learned through MiCorps. “The mission of MiCorps is to network and expand volunteer water quality monitoring organizations statewide for the purpose of collecting, sharing and using reliable data; educate and inform the public about water quality issues; and foster water resources stewardship to facilitate the preservation and protection of Michigan’s water resources.” Visit their website MiCorps for more information.
Over the years we have been blessed with the amount of hard working individuals returning each season to dedicate their time to make this program possible! Thank you to all the volunteers who have showed us support and excitement to ensure the completion of all sites! You are all amazing and we could not do everything we do without each and every one of you!!!