The Thomas-Rupley family and the Benjamin Linder Co-op in Ann Arbor save water, energy and money, reduce their CO2 emissions and earn free water from HRWC.
Both entered the HRWC Saving Water Saves Energy Project’s “Pledge, Save, Win” Contest in March. Both will get their first quarter water bill paid (up to $250) for their efforts.
The Co-op’s savings, estimated at 100 gallons per day, were led by Emma Kelly, the group’s sustainability steward. Emma helped her housemates save water by installing 5-minute shower timers and providing grey water collection buckets in each shower. Residents re-use the grey water to flush toilets. Emma also focused housemates on saving at the washing machines — advising them to wash only full loads on cold water cycles.
The Thomas-Rupley family, estimated savings 31.5 gallons per day, has been living a water-saving lifestyle for some time. They made their own rain barrel for watering their garden, retrofitted their toilet to make it dual-flush and installed a low flow shower head. They also use left over drinking water for houseplants, and catch excess cold water from the kitchen faucet for use in their washing machine. The Thomas-Rupleys also wash only full loads in their clothes washer.
Entries were judged for the amount of water saved, the savings techniques and for creativity in showing and telling how savings were achieved. Extra points were awarded for saving energy-intense hot water and full participation of the entire household!
Congratulations to the Thomas-Rupleys and the residents of the Benjamin Linder Co-op! Save on!
The adventure comes to a close!
Are you interested in being a creekwalker? You can recruit your family and friends to join you on your team or ask HRWC to assign you to a team. The training is on June 10, 6:30- 8 pm. Check out this webpage and email Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer.
Guest Author: Mark Schaller
It all comes down to this, the final visit. This time, I arrived early so I could set some crayfish and minnow traps. I had seen fish on earlier visits but could never get a good look at any of them. The deepest part of the stream was where I placed the thermometer so I figured that would be a good site for a trap. I also placed a crayfish trap further upstream in a rocky area hoping to catch some more crayfish and get a good positive ID. Everything was set!
As I walked back to my Jeep, Erin was heading down the trail. After our “Hello’s” we headed back to the parking lot to get the rest of the gear. We picked up the paperwork, meter, measuring stick and my camera and headed back to the stream. Our starting point was where I placed my crayfish trap and we had 6 crayfish already in the trap. As I started to pull them out for pictures I found that 3 of them were the invasive Rusty. The other 3 were northern crayfish. They were a lot bigger than the Rusty’s so I’m hoping they are holding their own against them. Too bad; after our last trip I thought that there weren’t any Rusty’s in here.
We then started by taking the water temperature and conductivity readings. When we reached the halfway point I handed the GPS and water conductivity meter over to Erin. She wanted to see how the meter worked and I needed to get some pictures of her as well. She took about 4 more readings and then next thing we knew we were at the end of our sample area. All that was left now was for Erin to compile all the data and for me to turn it in with all the equipment. Mission Accomplished!
I have to say the creekwalking experience was a lot of fun. Walking up and down Wood Creek brought back a lot of fond memories of myself as a kid exploring all the creeks and streams of my youth.
Our big thanks go to Mark and Erin, and all our other creekwalking volunteers, from this past summer!
This past Sunday HRWC held our annual Fly Fishing Lessons; thanks to our instructor, Mike Mouradian of Ann Arbor Trout Unlimited, along with the help of experienced instructors from AATU, and Dirk Fischbach, of Bailiwicks Outdoors in Dexter. This year’s lessons were held at Gallup Park in Ann Arbor and we couldn’t have asked for better weather conditions. During each of the lesson’s instructors explained casting, knot tying, fly identification, and the entomology of fly fishing. The lessons were comprised of informative lectures, as well as, hand’s on activities where the participant’s hone their newly learned skills.
A very special thanks to all of the participants, and to the dedicated instructors for contributing their time and knowledge so that participants could understand the essentials to foster a summer of fun!
Upcoming recreation events:
Birding, Saturday, June 7, 7:30 AM, Gallup Park Canoe Livery Boat Launch
Paddle Trip, Saturday, June 21, 4 PM, Island Park to Peninsular Dam
- Huron River Watershed Walk, Thursday, June 26, 6 PM, Beckwith Preserve
More information and how to register for all of our summer recreation events HERE
Order by Monday, June 9th.
Available items are the “FreeGarden 55-gallon Rain Barrel” for $55 ($150 value), the “FreeGarden Compost Bin” $45 ($100 value), compost pails, aerators, and thermometers. Details and ordering information HERE.
This is a Pre-order sale only.
The PICK UP DAY for all pre-ordered units is Saturday June 14, 2014, 9am-3pm at the Livingston County East Complex parking lot located at 2300 E. Grand River Ave in Howell.
This is your opportunity to purchase high quality products while taking advantage of high volume pricing. Hosted by the the Livingston County Solid Waste Program, this sale is made possible through the Livingston County Drain Commissioner, Brian Jonckheere, and the Livingston County Board of Commissioners. Further information is available at www.livgov.com/dpw or by calling the Solid Waste Program at 517-545-9609 during normal business hours or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Details and ordering information HERE.
Look out for cooler summer temperatures and high water levels in the Great Lakes this summer. Also keep a lookout for ticks as populations are booming in some locations. Read a couple of articles on how river flows, both high and low, can impact communities and ecosystems. Finally, read the latest on two hot local topics – the proposed Lyndon Township sand mine and the oil and gas prospecting taking place in Scio Township.
Extensive Great Lakes ice and El Niño equals cooler Michigan summer Forecasters are predicting a cooler than average summer this year. Historically, years with high ice cover on the Great Lakes also have cooler summers and this year had some of the highest ice cover on record. Meteorologists also predict a delay in the typical severe storm season for Michigan. We may be seeing some severe events into June. Another outcome of this year’s Great Lakes ice cover is that lake levels are expected to be significantly higher in recent years.
There’s a tick boom in Michigan – Here are 5 things you should know There is a population boom of blacklegged ticks in Michigan this year. This is the species of tick that can carry Lyme disease. It is good to know how to identify a deer tick and how to remove it correctly.
Ann Arbor canoe liveries temporarily shut down river trips due to high water in Huron River Following a series of larger rain events in mid-May, several canoe liveries shut down operations because of high water levels which result in fast flows and otherwise unsafe conditions for less experienced paddlers. Stream gages that measure flow in the river were measuring over 2,000 cubic feet per second; double the flow beyond which liveries close down operations.
A Sacred Reunion: The Colorado River Returns to the Sea In national news, we celebrate a momentous occasion this month. For the first time in well over a decade, (and one of only a few occurrences since 1963) the Colorado River has reached its outlet at the Sea of Cortez. The fact that the river has run dry in its lower reaches for so long serves as an illustration of how over allocation of our freshwater resources has cascading impacts for both wildlife and people. The river is reaching the sea due to a recent agreement between the US and Mexico. The agreement allows for a five year experiment that implements a pulse flow at a critical time of year. While this is not a permanent solution to a very complex problem, it is a heartening step in the right direction.
City attorney for Chelsea responds to sand mine public hearing For those of you following the dialog around a proposed sand mine in Lyndon Township, this latest article shares that the application for the mine has been tabled for six months. Delaying a decision on the application will allow the City of Chelsea and Lyndon Township time to update ordinances and do more research into impacts of the mining operation.
Area lawmakers express concern over oil, gas drilling proposed for Scio Township In other local extraction news, opposition to proposed oil and gas drilling in Scio township continues to grow. Several local legislators have submitted a public comment asking the State to deny a permit for an exploratory well. Read the letter and learn more about the issue in this article. The public comment period on the permit is still open.
River and creek sampling
Thanks to 108 volunteers who contributed a total of 643 volunteer hours, the 2014 River Roundup was a great success! The weather was perfect for our volunteers as they split into 21 teams and traveled to 42 different creek and river locations across the Huron River Watershed to assess the aquatic benthic macroinvertebrate community. This study is one of the most effective ways that HRWC has to keep its finger on the pulse of the stream. From the data collected at this semi-annual event, we get a better understanding of which creeks and rivers are getting better, which are getting worse, and how we can direct our management activities.
You can see all the results in April 2014 River Roundup Report.
- Emily checks out a crayfish! credit: Max Bromley
- Bruce collects insects in South Ore Creek. credit: Dick Chase
- Picnic tables! Volunteers love these. (Mill Creek at Warrior Park in Dexter) credit: Eric Bassey
- Sampling the Huron River by Riverside Park in Ypsilanti. credit: Kristen Baumia
- Hay Creek winds through wetlands and forests. credit: David Amamoto
- Sorting the bugs on ID Day! credit: David Amamoto
- "What the heck is it?"--Paul Steen. credit: David Amamoto
In a nutshell, the health of the watershed as judged by our macroinvertebrate sampling is holding steady. Of the 62 sites that we monitor to judge this, 28 sites have had no statistically significant changes over time, and 6 sites are too new to make this judgment.
Fourteen sites are declining, and these include locations on Chilson Creek, Davis Creek, east branch of Fleming Creek, Norton Creek, and South Ore Creek. The majority of the declining sites are in Livingston County. Eight of the declining sites are in Livingston, two are in Washtenaw, and three are in Oakland.
Fourteen sites are significantly improving. Twelve of the improving sites are in Washtenaw County, including Boyden Creek, Horseshoe Creek, the main and west branches of Fleming Creek, Huron Creek, the Huron River in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Malletts Creek, and several places on Mill Creek. One site is improving in Livingston County (Mann Creek at Van Amberg Road), and 1 site is improving in Wayne County (Woods Creek at the Lower Huron Metropark).
1. Malletts Creek is an urban creek in Ann Arbor that has been the focus of restoration efforts for well over a decade. Last fall, we noticed a more diverse insect community in Malletts Creek than had ever been seen before. We are happy to report that this spring we once again saw a healthier insect community than ever before. From 1993-2013, volunteers have found an average of 5 insect families in spring samples, but in 2014 volunteers found 9 insect families. One of these insect families is a finger-net caddisfly, which is common in healthy streams but has never been found in Malletts Creek until now. The increase in insect families over time is statistically significant.
Our congratulations go out to all of the partners involved in fixing Malletts Creek! An increase in the diversity of aquatic insects reflects an increase in the overall water quality, water stability, and habitat quality. This is a major accomplishment!
2. The volunteers who sampled in Boyden Creek along Delhi Road pulled in a bonanza of caddisflies! They found 5 different types of caddisflies: the common net-spinner (Hydropsychidae), the square barked case- maker (Lepidostomatidae), the northern caddisfly (Limnephilidae), the finger-net caddisfly (Philopotamidae), and the rock case-maker (Uenoidae). They also found two families of stoneflies and two families of mayflies. We have been seeing good changes in Boyden Creek for several years now, and this sample was one of the best taken this spring.
The volunteers who sampled at Greenock Creek near South Lyon were not impressed with the size and abundance of the leeches they pulled out of their trays, nor were they impressed with the total abundance and diversity of the overall insect community. Greenock Creek was never a very healthy creek, but conditions have significantly worsened here since monitoring began in 1993. The creek is located downstream of Nichwagh Lake, which is impounded by a dam. Water exiting the lake and entering the creek is quite warm, regularly reaching 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, which is too warm for many types of aquatic life. It is quite possible that dissolved oxygen levels are very low in the creek also (even in the non-summer months when the water is not as warm). This is something that HRWC will look into.
The adventure continues!
You can read Mark Schaller’s first post here about his experiences with HRWC’s Creekwalking Program.
Are you interested in being a creekwalker? You can recruit your own family and friends to join you on your team or ask HRWC to assign you to a team. This year’s training is on June 10, 6:30- 8 pm. Check out this webpage and email Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer.
Guest Author: Mark Schaller
Now that the initial visit and thermometer placement was out of the way it was time to schedule the second visit. Like our previous trip, real life issues came up for most of the team, and Erin and myself continued our team of two.
We decided that Erin would handle the writing duties while I took the reading and pictures. This time around we were supposed to check for signs of wildlife and pick up any garbage. After her last losing battle with mosquitoes Erin came prepared this time. Long sleeve shirts and real insect repellent were in order. She even sprayed me down to try to keep the bugs at bay. It didn’t work.
Woods Creek was pretty much in the same state as the last time we were here. We entered at the first bridge and got to work. We took a few temperature and water conductivity readings and not much had changed. Since I didn’t have to concentrate on the readings, I spent more time checking out what signs of life there were. Erin is more of an herbologist than I am so she kept track of the plant life. She was rattling off plant names and I just took her word for it. I’m not a vegetarian.
Like last time I spotted some smaller bait fish but couldn’t get a good enough look at them to see what they were. When we got to the water thermometers I saw some larger fish hiding underneath the stump but again I couldn’t get a good look to see what they were. What I did see were a lot of crayfish. These guys I was very interested in. I wanted to know if they were native crayfish or the non-native rusty variety. For the rest of the walk I tried to catch one and for most of the walk my efforts were pretty futile. Just as I was about to grab one it would take off and disappear in the silt. Even with my advance warning system screaming every time one ran across her foot, I still couldn’t corner one long enough to grab it.
Eventually I caught one and it wasn’t a Rusty. So far so good. I was able to catch a couple more and they were all native crayfish as well. I don’t know what kind exactly, but they weren’t Rusty crayfish. I’m sure the Rusty’s will eventually work their way into this creek but for now no sign of them.
One of the other things we had to do during this trip was pick up garbage. I’m glad to say that there wasn’t much. I expected to find plastic worm containers, fish line, and empty cans. All I really found was some pieces of broken glass and an old shirt. Nice to see that there wasn’t much trash!
Stayed tuned for the third and final part of Mark’s creekwalking experience.
Inspire River Protection With Art!
Come decorate the curbside connections to the Huron River! Ann Arbor artist David Zinn and Karim Motawi will lead the crowd in chalking four of our downtown stormdrain inlets into works of art. We provide the chalk, you bring the creativity!
When: Friday, June 13, 2014, 6-8pm
Where: The Ann Arbor Mayor’s Green Fair, at the Liberty and Main intersection and the Huron River Watershed Council booth in front of the Melting Pot.
Presented by HRWC in partnership with the 14th Annual Mayor’s Green Fair and the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission.
We depend on stormdrains to keep our streets from flooding during storms. Yet, these devices also direct litter and polluted rainwater straight into the Huron River. We’ll show and tell the stormdrain connection and recruit families to adopt their neighborhood stormdrains, keeping them for rain only by removing litter, leaves and other debris in the spring, summer, and fall months.
Can’t make it to the Green Fair? Do your part by Adopting A Stormdrain in your neighborhood . . . learn more about it HERE.
This past weekend we held our first Birding event, as well as, our first Paddle trip of the summer. We were delighted to have Dea Armtrong, Ann Arbor Ornithologist, at both of the events. Dea was able to offer insight through her expertise of the birds in our watershed during the Birding event and the paddle trip. Thanks to all of our participants in both events, Dea, and Huron River guides Ron Sell and Barry Lonik.
Friday, the Birding participants met at Gallup Park in Ann Arbor. Dea led our walk throughout the park and guided participants to look and listen for local migratory birds. The range of Birding experience among participants varied from first timers, to seasoned veterans. Nearly sixty birders used their eyes and ears to spot a variety of different birds.
Saturday, we traveled to Bruin Lake Campground in Gregory, MI. Our trip was led by Huron River guides Ron Sell and Barry Lonik. Dea joined us as well; she helped point out and identify many of the birds we would encounter on our trip. After 3.5 hours paddling her bird count totaled 47 species! You can view her bird count HERE.
Upcoming Recreation Events:
- Huron River Watershed Walk
Saturday, May 24
Frog Island Park to Waterworks Park Ypsilanti, MI
- Fly Fishing Lessons
Sunday, June 1
Gallup Park, Ann Arbor, MI
Saturday, June 7
Gallup Park, Ann Arbor, MI
Visit our Facebook for more photo’s of this weekends events HERE.
Visit our Summer Recreation page for information on all events HERE.
River and RiverSide Recreation! Take Your Pick June 7-8!
In addition to the fabulous line-up of Huron River Summer Recreation Events hosted by HRWC, there are a number of opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy the River.
June 7. Flat Rock to Oakwoods Metropark Pedal & Paddle. 10am-2pm. Pedal a family-friendly one mile from Huroc Park to Oakwoods Metropark on the newly completed paved Flat Rock-HCMA Connector trail then jump into the Huron River for a 30-minute paddle.
Group pedal kick-off, 10am at Huroc Park, 28600 Arsenal Road, includes bike inspections, a scavenger hunt, local bike vendors and a Trikke carving vehicle demo. While at Oakwoods, park your bike in a secure corral and join the National Trails Day Celebration (ends at 4pm) where the afternoon will be filled with a wide variety of activities for the entire family including hikes, kayaking demos, birding walks, geocaching, “how-to” discussions, prize drawings, entertainment, and much more.
All activities are free, but onsite kayak rentals are $10 for 30-min (until 2pm). Hosted by Riverside Kayak Connection, Huron River Watershed Council, Downriver Linked Greenways, City of Flat Rock, Friends of Oakwoods and Oakwoods Metropark.
June 7. Hudson Mills Metropark to Village of Dexter Run. 9am. Celebrate the Grand Opening of the newest segment of the Border-to-Border (B2B) trail with a 10k race and fun run/walk that will be enjoyable for all ability levels – bring the whole family! The race will start at Hudson Mills, North Territorial Road entrance. The 6.2-mile scenic route will take you along the Huron River to the finish line in the Village of Dexter at Mill Creek Park where you can enjoy entertainment and refreshments after the run. Free shuttle buses will transport participants back to the starting point. Pre-register online or at the event beginning at 7:30am
June 7 and 8. Schultz Outfitters Fly Fishing Demo Days. 10am-6pm Sat, 10am-5pm Sun. This event brings together some of the most respected talent and brands in the fly fishing industry for two days of FREE education and fun. There will be on-stream casting and fishing demonstrations in the park each day, along with classes and seminars at Schultz Outfitters fly shop, a used gear trade and deals galore!
So, get outside and ENJOY your River! More recreation opportunities are posted at huronriverwatertrail.org.