Posts Tagged ‘HRWC events’

Save Water, Save Energy, Win Free Water

That’s right! HRWC will pay the April water bill for three lucky families in the Huron River watershed, up to $250 each!Pledge, Save, Win

HRWC’s “Pledge, Save, Win” Contest encourages watershed homeowners to make the connection between water and energy. Saving one, means saving the other. Up to 13% of our nation’s electrical energy goes to pumping, treating and heating our water supplies.

There are just three steps for entering.

1 —  GO to www.h2oheroes.org, to watch a 60-second public service announcement.

2 — PLEDGE to do one or more activities to save water daily.

3 — REPORT what you did to save water by March 31, 2014. Reporting can come in the form of stories, videos, photos or other creative ideas. Winners will be selected based on creativity and effectiveness.

To help jump start your family’s efforts, www.h2oheroes.org has many tips and tools, including an online savings calculator, and a map to verify that you live in the boundaries of the Huron River watershed if you don’t know.

Winners will be announced by April 15, 2014.

“Pledge, Save, Win” is a campaign of the Saving Water Saves Energy Project, funded by a grant from the Masco Corporation Foundation.

Fall Creek Monitoring: Beautiful colors and beautiful bugs

River and creek sampling

South Ore Creek at Bauer Road is shallow creek flowing through wetlands and forests.

South Ore Creek at Bauer Road is shallow creek flowing through wetlands and forests. credit: David Amamoto

Thanks to 137 volunteers who contributed a total of 548 volunteer hours, the 2013 Fall River Roundup was a great success!  Our volunteers split into 25 teams and traveled to 50 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 from 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 Fall 2013 River Roundup Report.

Current Watershed Health

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, 30 sites have had no statistically significant changes over time, and 6 sites are too new to make this judgment.

12 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.

14 sites are significantly improving.  11 of 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, and several places on Mill Creek. 2 sites are improving in Livingston County (Horseshoe Creek at Merrill Road and Mann Creek at Van Amberg Road), and 1 site is improving in Wayne County (Woods Creek at the Lower Huron Metropark).



1. For many years HRWC has held up Millers Creek in Ann Arbor as an example of what can happen to an urban creek- the stream flow is flashy, the channel is incised, the riparian vegetation is shrubby invasive plants, and there is little life in the creek.  In 2009 HRWC finished up a green infrastructure project in the headwaters of Millers designed to reduce the amount of stormwater rushing into the creek, and at the same time the City of Ann Arbor finished a major streambank stabilization project where the creek crossed Glazier Way.

The efforts spent restoring Millers Creek seems to be paying off.  The sample taken in Millers Creek at Glazier Way contained the most insect families ever seen since sampling began in 1993. While the overall trend since 1993 is unchanged, from 2004 when the creek was at its worst (3 insect families), until now in 2013 (12 insect families), there is a statistically significant increase.  Insects that are particularly susceptible to pollution and disturbance have yet to be found here however, and we will continue monitoring in hopes that these insects will make their way back to the stream.

Fall sampling results for Millers Creek @ Glazier Way over the past 20 years.

Fall sampling results for Millers Creek @ Glazier Way over the past 20 years.


2. Starting in this past January, HRWC has been sending volunteers to two new stream sites on Portage Creek near Stockbridge.  This is a long drive from Ann Arbor and we appreciate the volunteers who have made this journey. This Roundup, volunteers in the Portage Creek at Rockwell site found a treasure trove of insect diversity.  Twenty insect families were found which puts this new site up there with the very best places we go.  We will look forward to visiting this site again in the future!

Portage Creek @ Beckwith Nature Preserve... a new sampling site!

Portage Creek @ Beckwith Nature Preserve… a new sampling site! Picture taken January 2013.



Norton Creek @ West Maple Road looks like it has nice habitat, but the water quality is very poor.

Norton Creek @ West Maple Road looks like it has nice habitat, but the water quality is very poor. credit: Ron Fadoir

Norton creekshed in Oakland County is a Detroit suburb and industrial hub. Historically, the creek has suffered from numerous impairments and has seen little improvement as the area has become increasingly suburbanized.

In terms of the macroinvertebrate community, samples taken here have always had terrible diversity and low abundance, but in recent years things have gotten worse.  When sampling started in Norton Creek at West Maple Road in 2000, it was normal to find between 8 and 10 insect families.  However, volunteers during the past four fall River Roundups have found 3, 4, 4, and 3 insect families.  Two of the insect families found are actually water striders, which are only semi-aquatic as they live on top of the rather than in the water.

These poor samples have made Norton Creek the worst location of all of those that HRWC monitors. For more information on Norton Creek, see our Norton Creek page and associated creekshed report.  http://www.hrwc.org/norton


What’s next?

On January 26th, HRWC staff and volunteers will gather for the 19th annual Stonefly Search.  This event is very similar to a River Roundup except that we are only looking for stoneflies.  Some of these little guys can be found year round, but there are a couple of stonefly families that are only reliably found in the winter months, and they are great indicators of healthy water.   We hope you and your family and friends will join us for this fun outdoor event!  Register here! http://www.hrwc.org/volunteer/stonefly/

Lampyridae, Tabanidae, and Belostomatidae: OH MY!


Beware the Belostomatidae

Want to meet the Lions, Tigers, and Bears of the Huron?

We’re happy to show them off – but you’ll have to help us hunt them down! (Though ours are a tad smaller, as they are aquatic insects.)

Join us on Saturday, October 12 for HRWC’s autumn River Roundup. You can bring a small group of friends or we’ll put you on a team with other awesome HRWC volunteers. The outing takes about 4 hours and starts at either 9:00 or 10:30 am (you get to choose!). We’ll send you to some really cool spots around the watershed to track down some of those critters. When you return we’ll have a nice snack to share over your stories in the wild!

For info and to register, please check out www.hrwc.org/volunteer/roundup.

*Lampyridae, Tabanidae, and Belostomatidae are, respectively, fireflies, horse flies, and giant water bugs – OH MY!!


River Scouts Successes Continue


Cleaning up the Huron from Dexter Huron to Delhi Metropark

Cleaning up the Huron from
Dexter Huron to Delhi Metropark

This spring saw two nice river cleanups and a clearing workshop. In April we hosted a guest presenter from the Friends of the Rouge to help train new and experienced HRWC volunteers. William Craig who co-created the Clean and Open method taught how to take out enough woody debris for river paddling, while leaving as much debris as possible for healthy stream ecosystems.

Earlier in May we had two river cleanups. A dozen volunteers paddled from Dexter Huron to Delhi Metropark. Simultaneously, another dozen folks on floatboats put in at Flat Rock and picked up debris down to South Rockwood.

A Little Work To Do…

Downriver Cleanupphoto by Jimmy Chang

Downriver Cleanup photo by Jimmy Chang

Woody Debris Removal. We need a few more folks to help our newly trained woody debris removers. No experience necessary, but a willingness to get dirty and wet while being safe and helpful!

Stream Walks. Join us on June 9 (2pm) to learn how to walk the Huron’s tributaries and identify problems you see along the way.

If you’re interested in either of these contact Jason, jfrenzel@hrwc.org.

Thank You!

A HUGE thanks to REI for financially supporting the River Scouts programs over the past three years, and continuing that support this year! Thanks goes to Green Oak Township for allowing us to use your conference rooms! Thanks to Bill Craig for sharing his expertise and experience. Thanks to Schultz Outfitters for coordinating the Flat Rock cleanup (and buying hotdogs!). Thanks to the City of South Rockwood and Delhi Metropark for picking up the trash after we delivered it! Thanks to the Huron River Fishing Association for showing up in force! Thanks to Skip’s Canoe Livery for loaning boats for the Metropark cleanup! Thanks to Whole Foods for the snacks! And, of course, thanks to all the volunteers for your hard work, inspiration, and perspiration!!!


Stonefly Fun

January Stonefly Search photo by John Lloyd
January Stonefly Search; photo by John Lloyd

Saturday turned out to be a lovely day for HRWC’s Stonefly Search. 110 volunteers returned safely from the field after successfully accomplishing their mission. These hardy souls endured the snow, enjoyed the sun (briefly), had fun breaking through the ice, and learned about the Huron and the critters who live here. Interesting finds included a slumbering frog, mute swans, and Canada geese (not to mention lots and lots of insects). Look for a detailed report from Paul Steen regarding the Stonefly results. Until then, here is a bit of verse to paint a picture of how the day went for many…



Winter Stoneflies in Arctic Michigan

By Dave Wilson


We don our coats and boots, go forth to break the ice

In frigid, frosty weather that no one could say is nice

We flounder through the streams in search of a great prize

Taeniopterids and Capniids, precious winter stone flies


Winter stones are quite the thing

Though one surely might be wondering

How these tiny creatures could ever be so bold

As to live and thrive in this bitter winter cold


Paul tells us that in winter these critters really thrive

Cold water holds the oxygen to keep them all alive

And winter is helpful in another major way

The cold keeps fierce predators so very far away


Quite sensitive to any water pollution,

Winter stones provide a quick solution

If we find ‘em we can be sure

That the stream is sweet and pure


The critters are small and rather dark

In this frigid weather they have a lark

Scamper about in the ice and snow

There’s no other place for them to go


To ID them here’s what you do

Look for wingpads four and cerci two

Along the flanks no gills are found

And on each leg two claws astound


The ice is thick, the water chills,

With cold I’m fed up to the gills

But none could say that we are quitters

We’ll search ‘til we find those little critters


Believe me, I know whereof I speak

You’ll find out fast if your waders leak

One hears screams of pain from the bravest jocks

When that icy water hits their socks


Collectors and runners can stay in motion

Stay warmer thus, I have a notion

But picking requires that one stand still

Can be quite bleak, cause many a chill


Don’t go on ice unless waders you wear

If you’re not wearing waders your weight it won’t bear

If you should venture this dumb thing to do

I guarantee you’ll surely break through


Let me warn you right now; listen up and take heed

Bring twice the wraps you think that you’ll need

That usually turns out to be about right

So that you are not left in a piteous plight


A jug of warm water is always quite pleasing

Helps to keep that D-net from freezing

And stout rubber gloves keep collectors’ hands dry

Help a great deal when frostbite is nigh


On these trips a truly most gracious amenity

May help the participants keep some of their sanity

A big jug of cocoa sure hits the spot

Beloved by all if it’s nice and hot.









Year of Water

Laura Rubin to give talk on the health of the Huron River watershed at Washtenaw Community College

WCC faculty members are creating a greater understanding of environmental issues with a yearlong series of awareness events and activities focusing on Michigan’s waterways. WCC’s

Laura Rubin, HRWC Executive Director

Laura Rubin, HRWC Executive Director. Photo: H. Buffman

“Year of Water” officially kicked off in July and August with a few awareness activities for students. Join HRWC Executive Director Laura Rubin as she gives an overview of the health of the Huron River watershed as part of WCC’s ongoing commitment to support and sustain the environment and their year-long focus on water.

Date: Thursday, November 29, 2012

Time: 6-7:30pm

Location: Great Lakes Training Center, Room 202 (Campus Map)

Free and open to the public.

A number of other activities are planned throughout the year. Click HERE for a WCC news article about the “Year of Water”.

The Return of Brew for the River!

Laurie & Ron Jeffries

Part 2 of 5: Jolly Pumpkin’s Hummocky Lick

Last week at Wolverine Brewing was super sweet!!! Wire in the Wood played an amazing set, ET and Oliver were superb hosts, and many new and old supporters had a great time. 69 Brew Passports are out there, we hope they all get turned in five weeks from now!

This week, we’re quite excited to visit the amazing folks at Jolly Pumpkin. Join us on Thursday, August 16 at 5:00pm. JP is located at 311 South Main Street, between Liberty and William. Ron and Laurie Jeffries, Brewmaster and General Director, along with Maggie Long, Executive Chef, will be showcasing their local artisan foods and brews. Ron specializes in open-fermented, oak-barrel aged, artisan beers. Often referred to as sour beers, due to their uniquely crisp and tangy aspects, these beers utilize specialty yeasts and long maturation processes. This is definitely the place I bring my friends who enjoy unique/local foods, as well as folks who love experiencing new and complex tastes and aromas!

Ron has crafted this year’s Hummocky Lick Sumac Sensation, which was named for a great little Huron River headwater creek, and two Michigan staples. As Ron notes, “Hummocky Lick starts light and grassy as a breezy field of spring wheat, turns lightly sour and tart with cherries, and finishes with a hint of clove and tamarind from the friendly sumac berry”.

For some fun info about this Hummocky Lick mashup see this pdf.

Hope to see you on Thursday!


H2O Heroes Celebrate the River

At Huron River Day on Sunday!

H2O Hero, John Dingell, Laura Rubin

H2O Hero, Congressman John Dingell and HRWC's Laura Rubin enjoy Huron River Day!

Over 70 H20 Heroes pledged to save water and energy with the help of a 5-minute shower timer at Sunday’s 32nd annual Huron River Day in Ann Arbor. The crowd braved the record warm weather to talk with HRWC volunteers and staff and get a photo with the H2O Hero, meet Congressman John Dingell, try a Huron Mystery Geocache Challenge hosted by the Michigan Geocaching Organization (MiGO), and enjoy food, music, paddling on Gallup Pond, a classic small boat show and plenty of family friendly activities.

HRWC was there presenting information on the Saving Water Saves Energy project and other initiatives like RiverUp! and the Huron River Water Trail. It was inspiring to see so much enthusiasm and excitement for the Huron River.

Thanks to the HRD Committee for organizing such a great event, to Bob and Beth Hospadaruk and Steve Fritz of MiGO, to HRWC volunteers Korinne and Joe Wotell for helping with the HRWC booth, and to Congressman Dingell for his support of HRD.

Hope to see you next time at HRD 33!

H2O Heroes Hit The Road

Pam + H2O Hero“Would you like to save the world? One drop at a time?” our masked H2O Hero asked attendees of the Home, Garden and Lifestyles show this past weekend. Awash in his blue cape, our H2O Hero made his debut, engaging the community in lively dialog about how to Save Water, Save Energy and Save Money.

We talked to over 700 people, sending them home with bright red stop-sign-shaped 5-minute shower timers and the idea of holding a “shortest shower” competition in their home. There was a lot of good-natured family finger pointing when we asked who might linger the longest in the shower. Many water and energy-bill paying parents nudged their teens in our direction, so that they might buy in to our water saving tips. Short shower skeptics were able to hold, compare and understand the benefits of installing a low flow shower head, aerator or faucet nozzle. We showcased fixtures from many makers, calculated the water and energy savings and payback for each, and explained the EPA’s WaterSense label which assures homeowners of both performance and efficiency.

We met a lot of H2O Heroes – people who have installed Energy Star appliances, high-efficiency toilets, planted native species….people who are saving water in small and big ways! The discussions were terrific. If you missed this opportunity to meet our H2O Hero, don’t despair. He will be on hand again.  Visit with the HRWC on Earth Day (April 22), at the Mayor’s Green Fair (June 8) and Mission Zero Fest 2012 (June 9 &10.) We want to hear how you are saving water at home and at work.

Stonefly Search Support

Volunteers and Staff Searching for Stoneflies

Volunteers and Staff Searching for Stoneflies

Winter Stonefly Search is Saturday, January 28, 2012. You’re invited to come on your own or bring a small team of friends and family for a unique wintertime activity in/on the Huron River.

As part of a long-term river study, each January, HRWC looks for “winter stoneflies,” which grow, feed, and find their mates in the coldest months when most fish are too sluggish to eat them. Stoneflies are very sensitive to changes in water quality and habitat. Like canaries in a coal mine, they tell researchers a lot about the health of the river.

Trained volunteer collectors take each team to two of HRWC’s 70 designated study sites throughout the Huron River system, where the group helps search through stones, leaves, and sediment taken from river bottoms. All equipment is provided. Participants are encouraged to dress for the weather. Volunteers meet in Ann Arbor and car pool to their assigned sites.

Participants must register to be assigned to a team. Children are welcome to attend but must bring their own adult.

DATE: Saturday, January 28, 2012

WHERE: Meet in Ann Arbor. Then car pool to two streams in Livingston, Oakland, Wayne and/or Washtenaw Counties.

WHEN: Two starting times: January 28, 2012 at 10:30AM or NOON. Takes 4 – 5 hours (2-3 hours outdoors).

DEADLINE: Registration closes on January 20, 2012.


First time volunteers, please fill out both forms:



Returning volunteers, please fill out the registration form only:


MORE INFO: Please email Jason at jfrenzel@hrwc.org, or check out this article: http://www.annarbor.com/lifestyles/hrwcs-annual-winter-stonefly-search-a-chance-for-anglers-others-to-learn-about-stoneflies-and-stream/

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