Archive for the ‘Fishing’ Category
Friday, February 22, 6pm
Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor
Support HRWC by watching films!
The 2013 Fly Fishing Film Tour is coming to Ann Arbor to share stunning films from places as diverse as the jungles of Thailand, northern California, Alaska, the Potomac River and even the “trophy waters” of Michigan’s own Au Sable River. These films are guaranteed to deepen your love of fly fishing or inspire you to learn the sport.
Take a look at the F3T Trailers, then get your tickets. If you’ve ever spent time fishing or paddling the Huron River or even helping HRWC look for stoneflies or other macroinvertebrates at one of our Roundups, you won’t want to miss this!
Discount tickets are available for HRWC members — $13 each (regularly $15).
Buy two tickets and F3T will donate half the proceeds back to HRWC.
Discount tickets available at:
4 East Cross Street
1100 North Main Street, Suite 210-A
Ann Arbor, MI
734-769-5123 x 602 (Pam Labadie)
The HRWC Auction Team has been hard at work, compiling our largest collection of fabulous items for your bidding pleasure! This year we have over 40 items listed online at BiddingForGood and all proceeds benefit HRWC’s efforts to restore and protect the watershed.
Bids on the River is online now until November 26 and is the perfect shopping opportunity for the holidays or any occasion.
Here are our team members’ picks:
Rebecca: I wish my kids were little again, because I would be all over the “Fun With Bugs” workshop being offered by our very own Paul Steen. Actually, this would be great for not-so-little kids and anglers too. Learn all about the bugs in our watershed and why they are critical to the local ecosytem. Got someone with entomological tendencies? Coolest. Gift. Ever.
Margaret: It’s a toss up between Unadilla Boatworks’ “Build A Boat” workshop and Schultz’s Outfitters Fly Fishing Lessons (4 on offer!). I think both are great experiences directly connected to recreation on our river. Ron Sell and Mike Schultz support HRWC efforts in raising awareness of responsible use of our water resources while enjoying the recreational opportunities offered in the watershed.
Meg: How do I choose? I want to bid on them all! But, if you’re going to force me to pick one…I think I’ll have to go with Jolly Pumpkin & Melissa Ferrick Package. I can almost never pass up the food and beer at Jolly. And while I can’t say I’m a hardcore Melissa Ferrick fan, per se (I just listened to her music for the first time today), I am a lover of good music and I know that good times are always had at The Ark. Good food, good beer AND good times. How can anyone pass that up?
New items added since the auction opened include a rain barrel from Downtown Home & Garden, a rap workshop from Rap For Food, a “Bucket of Balm” from North Wind Naturals and a Bake Class from Zingerman’s!
The auction closes on November 26, so start your bidding soon and check check back often. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to purchase a beautiful gift for yourself or a special someone and support HRWC with just a couple of clicks!
In 1972, the Huron River Watershed Council was a seven-year-old organization with a staff of one part-time director caring for a river that changed color (and odor) depending on which industry was dumping waste water into it.
Forty years later, a full-time Executive Director oversees a staff of ten professionals who study, plan, implement and facilitate for the benefit of the Huron River and its communities. Quantifying the impact of the Clean Water Act of 1972 on this watershed is challenging yet undeniable.
Since the 1990s, when the US EPA began awarding grants through the provisions of the Clean Water Act, HRWC has received about 24 grants valued at over $3,000,000 that reach into all communities of the watershed with the unifying goal of making the river more swimmable, fishable and drinkable. These grants have restored creeks, protected high quality streams, and developed forward-looking plans that commit stakeholders to restoration and protection actions.
Add to those impressive numbers the low-interest loans and grants awarded to HRWC’s partners for drinking water, waste water and storm water infrastructure improvements, and the investment in the Huron River watershed through the Clean Water Act is unmatched. Of course, the Act provides more than financial resources; it gives citizens and communities a tool to advocate for and expect clean water.
In this auspicious year of presidential and local elections, learning about the Clean Water Act is an important step to understanding its reach and value. The US EPA, the federal agency primarily responsible for implementing the Act, highlights the 40th anniversary, as well.
HRWC is honored to share the podium on October 18th at a 40th Anniversary Celebration of this landmark legislation with one of its architects, Congressman John Dingell, on the banks of the Huron River in Flat Rock.
Everyone is invited to be a part of history at Huroc Park (Arsenal and Huron Streets) where the Congressman will make remarks and be joined by other speakers including HRWC Executive Director Laura Rubin and Elizabeth Riggs for RiverUp!
Rain or shine, friends of the Huron and fresh water everywhere will come together to celebrate the Act’s legacy and share hopes for the future.
This past Saturday, I went to the ribbon cutting ceremony in Dexter for the Mill Creek Park, a 1.4-acre public park located in the heart of the downtown business district. Wow, is it beautiful. I know the beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the Mill Pond was a weed-choked, stinky pond. Now we have an open central park with an amphitheater, trails, fishing piers and overlooks, boat access, benches, and pretty flowers and trees. And then there’s the creek. Anglers have spotted brown trout jumping this past week!
And the increased activity is palpable. Runners, walkers, and cyclists go by on the path, connecting to the downtown, the trails to the library, and to the river where there are trails completed or near completion both upstream and downstream to HCMA parks. There were a half dozen anglers and people learning to fly fish as Colton Bay and Ann Arbor Trout Unlimited folks were giving fly fishing demonstrations. And then the people ambling in from downtown Dexter. People who had just been to the farmers market, the bakery or running errands who came to the water edge to rest and watch.
The Mill Creek dam removal in 2008 sparked the idea of a central park in Dexter. Restoration included some in-stream and bank activities to enhance habitat, direct the stream, and slow flows. The Village of Dexter went to work establishing a vision for a vibrant, beautiful, and well connected park in downtown Dexter. The project includes an amphitheater, boardwalk, two boat launches, two observation and fishing decks and benches along the path.
The project cost $1.24 million with most of the money coming from grant funding. The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund provided $450,000, the Waterways Infrastructure Program gave $50,000, Washtenaw County assisted with $200,000 in funding, and DTE provided $4,000.
Congratulations to the Village of Dexter and Paul Cousins, Village council member and HRWC board member, who took the lead on the project. At the ribbon cutting on Saturday, Allison Bishop, Community Development Director at the Village, told me that she is receiving numerous calls from residents saying that Dexter is turning in to one of the coolest places to live and is very vibrant. The river is one of the “coolest” things we have going for us in SE Michigan and when we restore it by removing dams, improving access and recreation, and opening up economic opportunities, we are seeing a real river (and community) renaissance.
and more work to come:
A second phase of the park’s construction will probably begin within the next five years. A path to connect Hudson Mills Metropark to Mill Creek Park is slated for this fall/winter.
We glimpse the future under a changed climate
Weeks of air temperatures above 90 degrees F have lots of people talking about extreme weather and the role of climate change. Such extreme heat yields myriad human and environmental effects. A previously unexplored effect is the stress that court-established water levels on lakes will have on the Huron River system under drought conditions that are projected by climate scientists to occur with greater frequency over the next 30-50 years.
State laws at odds
Michigan law prohibits reduced river flows under Section 324.301 of the 1994 Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act. The section states that diminishing an inland lake or stream is prohibited without a permit. ”Diminish” means to reduce flows to a creek, as happens when gates of a lake level control structure are closed.
However, read a bit further and you’ll see that Michigan law allows for reduced river flow under Section 324.307. Under this law, lake residents are allowed to obtain a regulated lake level by building a lake-level control structure that maintains a lake’s water level while reducing flow to downstream lakes and rivers. Lake residents are motivated to pursue lake levels to make it easier to boat, recreate in the lake, and build docks that they can reliably use despite changes in weather conditions. Many lakes in the watershed, including in-line lakes that are impoundments of the Huron River, have court-ordered lake levels.
Lake residents are able to obtain these designations through a process with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Once a lake level is set by a judge, then the county government (often the Drain or Water Resources Commissioner) is responsible for altering the outflow of the water from these lakes via structures so that the the lake is able to maintain a constant depth. Dams are one type of structure used to control flows. Other structures like the one pictured above also are present in the watershed.
Typically, though not always, the DEQ gives section 307 precedence over section 301, meaning that permitted lake-control structures are allowed to diminish the downstream lake or stream in order to maintain their lake levels.
Keeping a lake level in drought conditions
Maintaining a court-ordered lake level may go unnoticed during periods of normal or wet weather. But this manipulation of a natural system has the potential to stress the ecology of the lake during drought periods. Since the county is obligated to maintain a certain water level it is possible that they would need to “hoard” incoming water and only allow reduced flow — or even no flow — downstream. The graphics below show a simple input and output system to illustrate the issue.
Under typical flow conditions, the amount of water entering a lake will equal the amount of water leaving the lake, plus any additions from rain, and minus any water lost through evaporation. Under drought conditions, the amount of water entering the lake is already reduced from low stream flows, no additional input is provided from rain, and the amount of evaporation can be significantly high. As a result, it is possible that the county would have to close the gates altogether to maintain the lake’s court-ordered water level, and no water or very reduced flows will reach downstream to keep the fish alive or provide water to the next lake or river section downstream.
How can the situation be improved?
For the waterfront resident
Given the current hot and dry conditions in southeastern Michigan, waterfront residents likely are seeing reduced water flow especially if living downstream of a lake with a court-mandated lake level. Understandably, this imbalance of “water power” may feel unfair and residents could be looking for a fast and easy solution to secure more water for their section of the river or lake. Such a solution doesn’t exist. Aggrieved residents have sought justice through our legal system. Typically, these cases are eventually dropped since droughts end and rain, and consequently higher water flow, mute the problem.
Yet, droughts are predicted to become more common and more severe over the next several decades, and we may see a resurgence of court cases.
A measure of relief may be found in the operation of the structures. Some lakes have an ungated pipe or dam bypass that drains downstream, so that some amount of water is always flowing downstream, even when the dam’s gates are completely closed. However, such a bypass is not a requirement in obtaining the establishing a legal lake level. Building this in a requirement would be an important and wonderful safeguard to ensure that some level of water is always going downstream.
And for the river
The DEQ has the responsibility to examine the problem with stream flow as it relates to drought and mandated lake levels. In particular, giving the priority of maintaining lake levels over allowing for run-of-the-river flows is dangerous for the survival of downstream ecosystems when facing drought situations.
After speaking with DEQ staff, I am happy to report that the issue is on their radar and under consideration. HRWC will keep an eye on this complex issue at the state level, and work with local partners to find workable solutions to this increasingly urgent problem.
The future of fish
This past week I had the opportunity to attend a two-day workshop exploring the connections between streams, climate change, and fish populations. The centerpiece of this workshop was a climate change-fish vulnerability model developed by a partnership between the US Geological Survey (USGS), Michigan State University, and state agencies in Michigan, New York, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. This model makes predictions of how likely stream fish populations are to change under a range of climate change scenarios. The information can be used by water resource managers trying to understanding which fish and which streams are most at risk from climate change.
Nuts and bolts of the fish vulnerability model
Global circulation models (GCMs) are used by climate scientists to make predictions about how the Earth’s climate is going to change in the future. There are a wide variety of GCMs, all based on differing assumptions, and as a result they produce different results in terms of the predicted rates of climate change. Interestingly, all of the models do share some commonalities:
- The Earth is warming
- Winter is going to warm more than the summer
- Winters will be wetter
- The northern US will warm more than the south
- Inland areas will warm more than along coastlines
- Extreme events will be more common
The fish vulnerability model produced by the USGS and its partners uses ten of these differing GCMs and combines their climate predictions with predictions of fish presence and absence. An example is the best way to show how this works. Let’s say a particular stream holds brook trout currently. Due to temperature increases and changes in water flow by 2050, this stream is predicted to have lost the fish under GCMs #1-7. However, under GCMs #8-10, the fish is still expected to remain in the creek. Therefore, 7 out of the 10 climate change scenarios predict that the fish will be eliminated from this creek by the year 2050. The fish’s vulnerability to climate-change is said to be 70% for this particular stream.
The USGS and its partners ran this model across the Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota for 14 species of fish (i.e. brook trout, brown trout, mottled sculpin, northern pike, smallmouth bass, common carp, etc). For each fish and on every stream in these states, they have produced a predicted vulnerability for that species- the percentage chance that the fish will disappear in the future.
If the model predicts a fish to be missing from a stream under all 10 of the GCMs, this means that even under lenient climate change scenarios, this fish will disappear and managing this stream for the preservation of the fish is most likely to be a lost cause. The predicted vulnerability of this fish in this stream is 100%.
If the model predicts a fish to be present in a stream under all 10 GCMs, this indicates that this fish is very resilient against climate change, or that the stream is not expected to change much, even under the most severe climate change scenarios. Managers can leave these streams alone; the predicted vulnerability of this fish in this stream is 0%.
However, if the model predicts that under some GCMs the fish will leave, and under other GCMs that the fish will stay, then water resource managers have something to work with. This model result means that the stream may be borderline for the fish in the future, and managers have a chance to keep the fish there if they can work towards making the stream more “climate change resilient”. Management activities should center on promoting rainfall infiltration and groundwater recharge. Activities like building rain gardens, maintaining and expanding our natural areas, and reducing the amount of impervious surface will provide greater opportunity for rain to percolate into the ground rather than running overland to the stream.
Groundwater is the key to climate change resiliency because in the summer when fish populations are most stressed due to high water temperatures and low rainfall, groundwater inputs maintain flow and cooler temperatures. Groundwater temperature is usually the same as the average annual air temperature because of the length of time the water spends underground. Therefore in the summer, groundwater is relatively cold as compared to surface water. Also, groundwater is released consistently to the stream, unlike sporadic rainfall, thus giving constant flow even under drought conditions.
The USGS is in the process of developing a web-based map to display their model results so that the information can be readily used by water resource managers. This web-based map and the model results are not ready for public consumption, but I will post a link from this blog when it is.
It was a great day for fly fishing on the Huron River and for meeting new anglers. The event raised $2,000 for HRWC and will be used for the RiverUp! project. HRWC greatly values fly fisherman for their stewardship throughout the watershed. Many times, they serve as our eyes and ears out in the field when we cannot be there. Our thanks to Schultz Outfitters, Ann Arbor Trout Unlimited, and Jolly Pumpkin Cafe and Brewery for supporting this event!
Congratulations to all of the winners of the Tournament!
First Place Team: James Hughes & Jim Schultz, Total of 696 Points
Second Place Team: Jen Mironas & Kurt Kopala, Total of 646 Points
Third Place Team: John Schultz & Brandon Scero, Total of 542 Points
Biggest Fish: Joe Piontek, 16″
Most Fish: Kurt Kopala, 18
To view a photo gallery of the event taken by local Photographer Haley Buffman of Source to Sea Photography, click HERE.
There are many summer recreational events coming up at HRWC including a walk along the river, paddle trips, a lake swim, a geocache event, and Huron River Day. If you are interested in any of these events please contact Emily to register at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join HRWC at the Quiet Water Symposium, March 3
QWS, the largest one-day show of its type in the nation, celebrates non-motorized outdoor recreation. This year’s program will include entertaining presentations on paddle sports, bicycling, camping, boat building and other outdoor skills.
- Michigan State University Pavilion, Lansing
- Saturday, March 3, 2012
- 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM.
Interactive displays manned by knowledgeable enthusiasts and experts on topics such as boat building, camp cooking, cycling, kayaking and protecting our watersheds and environment will also be featured. Speakers include Kevin Callan, Cliff Jacobson, Doc Fletcher, Gary and Joanie McGuffin and many others. Vendors will be available to help you chose the right gear or classes with which to get the proper start.
For information please visit www.quietwatersymposium.org
“Up to 500 carp died over the weekend at Kensington Metropark’s Kent Lake and portions of the Huron River, likely due to a virus called spring viremia of carp, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.”
The spring viremia virus is only known to affect carp and poses no threats to humans or other animals. However, the rotting corpses are being cleaned up by Metropark Staff to minimize the odor and prevent possible E.Coli contamination.
See this article from the Livingston Daily.
What fish are in your backyard, your neighborhood lake, or your favorite paddling spot? Do we have endangered fish species in our watershed? Are the fish different in a dammed pond than a free-flowing river? These are some of the questions that we hope we can answer with the new Fish of the Huron River interactive map.
The amount of fish data contained on this map is still relatively low, given the size of the Huron River Watershed, and we hope to continually add more. We want your fish data- whether you are government, non-profit, academic, or an individual angler. Let’s create the most comprehensive watershed-based fish database out there. Please contact Paul at email@example.com if you are interested in helping.
The map is best viewed on a full screen- CLICK HERE.