Posted by Chuck Chase on Jun 09, 2017
Adrian Morning Club Rotarian Dave Maxwell introduced today’s speaker, Steve May, former Lenawee County Drain Commissioner and now the Executive Director of the River Raisin Watershed Council, who shared these items with us during his very informative presentation.
The Council, Steve said, works to educate the general public and students with a special emphasis on the watershed and water quality issues. The Council also monitors water quality by sampling macroinvertebrate populations at twenty sites throughout the watershed. This educational program is made possible by our strong task-force of volunteers.
The watershed encompasses 735,000 acres which is roughly the size of Rhode Island. It spans 5 counties and 63 municipalities of which 75% of them contribute to the watershed accounting for about $23,000 per year in revenue. They have 6 corporate sponsors. Among the activities the watershed participates in include: the Lake Hudson Outdoor Jamboree, Adrian’s Art-A-Licious event , the Rotary River Raisin Cleanup, the Americorp team, and the Boat Wash at Wamplers Lake, just to name a few.
Most recently, the River Raisin Watershed Council has been placing signs begun installing signs around Lenawee County, Steve said, as a way to raise awareness of the river. These signs were installed with the help of the Lenawee health network grant through the Connecting Lenawee Group. motorists and residents will see more signs popping up, specifically near the River Raisin crossings.
The watershed has been split up into regions, Steve said, and they are holding regional meetings periodically (Feb and again in the fall) where regional ideas and issues are discussed. They also have had an Adopt a Stream Program for the past 15 years for about 20 sites within the watershed targeted to “water quality”.
A 3-year grant they received has allowed the watershed to work in the south branch to reduce phosphorous loading in conjunction with the Michigan State Water Institute, and Adrian College. It has been used to monitor runoff from farms in the area. Another new 3-year $480,000 grant to assist with the runoff issue was also awarded last year through the Erb Family Foundation (Detroit-based Erb Lumber) which funds ¾ of an employee. The RRW has been meeting (Shop Talks) with local farmers on this issue going from farm to farm looking for people to host these events and discuss ways they can become part of the solution.
When the Americorp group was in Adrian last year, Steve said, they were able to clean up a 2-mile stretch of the river removing 75 tons of debris over a 6-week period! Another team will be visiting again on July 13 for 6 weeks!
Should you wish to donate to the RRWC (320 Springbrook Ave., Suite 102 Adrian, MI 49221; Phone: (517) 264-4754 Email: the levels are as follows: Individual:  $25, Non-Profit:  $50, Corporations: Supporter:  $100 - $499/Partner:  $500 - $1,000/Sponsor:  $1,000 +, Municipality: Population based annually. Should you wish to join their Volunteer Task Force you may also contact them at the e-mail address shown above. They rely on a strong base of volunteers with a wide variety of skills and interests. Thanks, Steve for a great presentation!