Archive for the ‘History’ Category
HRWC staff picks of favorite watershed spots, celebrating 50 years of river protection and restoration work.
A favorite spot for me on the Huron River is the delta where the voluminous waters fan out and feed western Lake Erie. There’s something satisfying about witnessing the transition from river to Great Lake, and picturing the individual stories of how – and in what shape – those droplets traveled from their places of origin. I am reminded, then, that all of our collective actions in the watershed are woven into the waters flowing past me and I hope that we’ve done justice to the blue.
The river delta flies under people’s radars as a destination, especially for those who live outside the Downriver area. Few signs or road markers give away the location of the river’s terminus. The 40-minute drive from my house to this spot means that I don’t visit as often as I would like. But, in the past couple of years have I come to appreciate the last few miles of the river and its confluence with the lake for its natural beauty, as well as its historical significance and new opportunities for trail-based recreation. Besides, where else on the Huron River can you see a massive barge traversing the Great Lakes, or paddle into big water?
The expansive view of water, land, and sky is always changing and always beautiful. The marshlands and forested floodplains of Point Mouillee and nearby islands provide critical habitat for plants and animals as well as stopover locations for migrating birds and waterfowl. The delta sits within the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, a binational refuge covering nearly 6,000 acres of islands, coastal wetlands, marshes, shoals, and waterfront lands along 48 miles of Detroit River and western Lake Erie shorelines.
An old log road built during the War of 1812 remains under West Jefferson Avenue and is now known as Hull’s Trace – the newest addition to River Raisin National Battlefield Park. The National Park Service presence is increasing appreciation for this area through its educational programs both on- and off- the water, and reestablishing connections with the Wyandotte Nation that has deep roots here. The anonymity of the Huron River delta is slowly giving way as the National Park Service develops operations and as the Huron River National Water Trail gains paddling and fishing fans.
Drop me a line if you visit the delta and share your photos with HRWC on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the tag #huronriver50.
HRWC is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year!
Tell us your favorite watershed spot HERE.
Appreciate the River, Sunday July 12, by joining HRWC for some fun or heading to YOUR favorite spot with friends.
Nearly absent from much of Michigan due to the effects of DDT and other pesticide use, Michigan’s Osprey population continues to recover year by year. In Southern Michigan, monitoring efforts are in place to track the revitalization of this species. (See the Fall 2012 issue of The Huron River Report to hear about HRWC’s staff outing to visit ospreys nesting at Kensington Metropark). Historically, Osprey chicks have simply been banded each year as part of a National effort to monitor the species.
This year, in addition to banding, three osprey chicks from area nests will be outfitted with “Backpack” satellite telemetry units. These units were funded by grants from DTE Energy and American Tower Corporation and will help scientists track the young birds’ daily movement and seasonal migration patterns.
The exciting part is that anyone can follow along and find out where the birds are at any time on the DNR’s website. The DNR plans to use this website for educating youth and bringing wildlife into the classroom.
Please contact Holly Vaughn to schedule an osprey education program in your classroom: (248) 359-9062.
As reported last September, HRWC is compiling all of our data on a creekshed scale, looking specifically at our creeks and the land that affects them. We are synthesizing all of our knowledge on these creeksheds and putting them into easily digestible and colorful 4 page reports.
There are now seven creekshed reports available, including the Woods Creek report, which was just finished.
Woods Creek, located near Belleville, is the healthiest lower Huron River tributary. There are several ordinances protecting the creek and there are many invested citizens who live in the watershed, including the Woods Creek Friends.
The Huron: Rivers of Michigan Series
By Kit Lane
Reviewed by Grace Shackman
Kit Lane has saved Huron River enthusiasts a great deal of time by collecting all the facts she can about our river. The Saugatuck-based author has written more than twenty books on Michigan history including one on John Allen, Ann Arbor’s co-founder, and four on other rivers in the state.
The book starts with an explanation of how the Huron was formed, followed by pre-settlement travelers’ accounts and information on early river communities. Lane explains why dams were built and discusses the issue of removal. Her chapter on environmental concerns goes into detail on the founding and work of the Huron River Watershed Council.
Lane includes specific information helpful to river users such as boating conditions, variety of rapids, parks, and trails. The second half of the book is devoted to a trip down the Huron listing all the public places where people can stop.
In the course of the book Lane answers several questions I’ve always wondered about. One is whether LaSalle really did use the Huron River when he took a trip across the state in 1680. Lane thinks he did and using a translation of his journal identifies where he stopped. Another is why the river wasn’t used by early settlers to move their supplies. The answer is it was too shallow after Rawsonville and the rock bottom didn’t allow deepening. One criticism, in two places she says that Ann Arbor was founded in 1823, when it was 1824, a fact she does get right in her book about John Allen.
Grace Shackman writes history articles for several local publications as well as teaching Washtenaw history and architecture at Washtenaw Community College.
The Huron: Rivers of Michigan Series, is 168 pages, with black and white maps, old postcard views, newly shot photographs, and a full index with bibliography. It retails for $18.50 and is available for purchase locally at the West Side Book Shop, 113 West Liberty, Ann Arbor.
HRWC would like to thank author Kit Lane for sharing her book with us and Grace Shackman for writing this review.