Dedicated to protecting the unique characteristics and natural resources of the White River Watershed.
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March 20's Vernal Equinox officially ushered in spring, although with the changing climate, there was some doubt whether winter made more than just a passing visit.  Thanks to Krys Neuman for this photo of the White near Taylor Bridge during one of the few days it was blanketed in snow.    

There is trouble afoot for our beloved watershed and others like it across the country.  Sweeping changes have been proposed in environmental policy and funding which has staggered WRWP's Board of Directors and environmental organizations across the country.  We'll address these concerns below, tell you about new threats to our fresh water supply and update you about the usual spring activities you've come to expect from White River Watershed Partnership.  As always, we'll suggest ways you can get involved.  Whether you get wet or stay dry is up to you.
Earth Fair Expo
     If you don't have a game plan yet for honoring Earth Day, why not spend some time at the Sixth Annual Earth Fair Expo Saturday, April 22 at Montague High School?   WRWP will be there along with a few dozen other environmentally-oriented organizations from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., providing all sorts of opportunities to learn a little more about our Earth and how we can help her out.  Stop at our booth where our macro invertebrate gurus will have samples of all manner of creepy crawly critters that populate the White River Watershed food chain.  For the very curious, microscopes and magnifiers will provide an up-close and personal look at the (very dead) specimens.
What We're Up To
  • What would Spring be without our annual stream sampling for benthic macroinvertebrates?  Our Saturday, May 6 event is always looking for volunteers to traipse around the watershed in waders with our experts, gathering some of the critters who call the White River Watershed home.  Later in the day, all those specimens are transported to Kropscott Farm and Environmental Center near Fremont for sorting and identification.  If you're interested in learning how all this is done, give board treasurer Ray Schinler a call at  231-861-4624.   Rain date is May 13.
  • Last month, WRWP board members voted to award MCC student Emily Buffum a stipend of $500 towards tuition and expenses for her three-credit-hour independent study during the Summer 2017 term.  Ms. Buffum will participate in the Spring stream sampling and, later in the season, study the Curly Leaf Pond Weed, an invasive aquatic plant making its home in White Lake.
           WRWP is strongly committed to advancing knowledge of the Michigan's
           watershed's and how it's threatened by our changing environment.  To that 
           end, we are keenly interested in considering stipends for other students       
           engaging in worthy projects.
  • Work on last year's MiCorps grant is in the home stretch, with the final bits of scientific information being entered in the state data base.  That grant enabled WRWP and Muskegon Conservation District to conduct assessments of 50 road/stream crossings (RSX) within the North and South Branches and smaller tributaries of the White River in both Oceana and Newaygo counties.   The condition of such crossings have a critical influence on major streams, including fish-passage, habitat connectivity, thermal regime, and erosion/sediment.
Past newsletters have highlighted some of the invasive species now calling the White River Watershed home, but other environmental threats to water and aquatic creatures are raising concern.  The United States and countries around the world are in the midst of an aggressive campaign to phase out the use of microbeads, tiny plastic bits found in toothpaste, facial scrubs, cosmetics and used in research. 

The beads are rinsed off in the shower, carried through unfiltered municipal waste water treatment plants, and eventually find their way into streams, rivers and lakes.  The beads, found in high concentrations in the Great Lakes, absorb and concentrate pollutants and toxins and are mistakenly eaten by fish and other aquatic life.  Once ingested, they spread the poison higher up the food chain.

Most companies began to voluntarily replace the microbeads with natural exfoliates such as apricot pits, sea salt, coconut husks and almonds well ahead of the ban in the US. 

Now researchers report they have uncovered a new threat to aquatic life which may be a more serious threat than microbeads - synthetic polyester, nylon and spandex we wear in our athletic and and outdoor gear.  Every washing releases tiny plastic fibers which make their way to the Great Lakes in the same way as microbeads.  But unlike microbeads which stand a better change of passing through the digestive system of whatever ingests it, microfibers are more harmful and can become enmeshed in the tissue.  Read more about this new threat at the link below:

Trump poised to flush Great Lakes Restoration Initiative,
and slash funding for NOAA, EPA, DEQ, H2O protection

President Trump has proposed catastrophic cuts to federal program involved in environmental protections or restoration, development and safety on the Great Lakes.  Here's what's at stake:

  • EPA’s Office of Water - a $165-million proposed cut to the agency’s nonpoint source pollution program, depriving farmers of critical funds to help curb agricultural runoff.  We all know where the run-off goes: streams, rivers and lakes. 
  • Great Lakes Restoration Initiative - focuses on the most significant ecosystem problems in the Great Lakes to rectify years of abuse and environmental devastation.  The Trump Administration proposes to slash this initiative by 97-percent this year, eliminating the program entirely in the next budget cycle.  GLRI's four major focus areas include:
    • Cleaning up Great Lakes Areas of Concern
    • Preventing and controlling invasive species
    • Reducing nutrient runoff that contributes to harmful/nuisance algal blooms
    • Restoring habitat to protect native species
           There are currently more than 3,500 of these projects underway in and around the Great
           Lakes and its watersheds.
  The Trump administration believes localities must take
           responsibility for the clean-up
  • US Coast Guard - $1.3 billion budget reduction
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - nearly $1 billion from the budget for the the nation's top weather and climate agency
          Proposed budget cuts at NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard are expected to have an
          enormous impact on  Great Lakes fishery research, beach and boater safety,
          environmental protection, algal bloom monitoring,
winter ice-breaking, maritime security
          and search and rescue capabilities.

What You Can Do
Michigan's 15-person congressional delegation on both sides of the aisle has been united in its opposition to this proposed budget with two exceptions - Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI3) and John Moolenaar (R-MI4).  Both have refused to sign on to a letter pushing back against Trump’s proposals to defund Great Lakes protections.  

We encourage you to call these two congressman, along with the White House, to express your concern for the impact of these massive budget cuts on the Great Lakes.  Regardless of whether Amash or Moolenaar are our representatives in Congress, we should still expect them to support the very state they represent.
Cong. Justin Amash - 202-225-3831
Cong. John Moolenaar - 202-225-3561
Pres. Donald Trump -  202-456-1111
     If you support our mission to protect the White River Watershed, please consider
becoming a member or contributing to our Endowment Fund.
     To become a member, click on the link below.

                      We Rely On Donations From People Like You

       Our work on behalf of the White River Watershed is made possible in large part by donations from people such as you; those who recognize the importance of protecting our local ecology and safeguarding the health of the watershed for human and aquatic life for generations to come. 
     The Partnership depends on donations to conduct spring and autumn stream monitoring, assessment of Road Stream Cro
ssings, and educate the public about the impact of the changing climate on the Watershed. 
      WRWP has no paid staff, relying entirely on volunteer efforts of those committed to maintaining the health of the watershed.  Please consider making a contribution. Think of it as a gift to your offspring, a chance to pay it forward.  All donations are fully tax-deductible. Log in to access a secure website for either PayPal or credit card donations.   
Make A Donation
     Your donation to the White River Watershed Partnership Endowment Fund, at either Fremont Area Community Foundation or Community Foundation of Muskegon County, helps our all-volunteer organization fund spring and fall macroinvertebrate sampling and educational programs.  Your tax deductible gift can be mailed to:
                         FACF                                           CFM
                         4424 W. 48th St.                         4258 W. Western Ave.                         
                         P.O. Box B                                  Suite 200
                         Fremont, MI  49412                   Muskegon , MI  49440
  The WRWP Board of Directors invites you to attend our monthly meetings
every fourth Thursday at 6 p.m. in the lower level of the
Natural Resources Conservation Service, 940 W. Rex St., in Fremont.
Ted Stojak
231-893-8945 (h)
231-557-5764 (m)

Vice-Chair and Grants
Lisa Dutcher  
231-861-5579 (h)
231-720-4578 (m)

Treasurer and Middle Watershed
Raymond Schinler

Anne Pawli 
231-893-3418 (h)
231-736-5495 (m)

Technical Coordinator
Thomas Tisue
231-421-4408 (h)
630-670-2237 (m)
Events Coordinator
Tom Thompson

Trustee (Middle Watershed)
Jim Cordray
Column 2

Trustee (Lower Watershed)
Terry Clark

Trustee (Upper Watershed)
Bill Bowen

Trustee - open

Copyright © 2016, WHITE RIVER WATERSHED PARTNERSHIP, All rights reserved.

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Our mailing address is:
White River Watershed Partnership
PO Box 416
Hesperia, MI 49421

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White River Watershed Partnership · PO Box 416 · Hesperia, MI 49421 · USA

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