What is Stream Monitoring?

Part of a large state (and national) effort, stream monitoring recruits volunteers to collect data about their local bodies of water. In Missaukee County, stream monitoring is done on the Clam River (via Mrs. DeMott’s science class), Hopkins Creek & Manistee River (via volunteer leads Rick & Sue Nyce). The county is home to many creeks and rivers, and we are looking to monitor more areas. Stream Team members help monitor water quality in our streams and rivers by collecting and identifying aquatic macro-invertebrates. Collecting is fun, easy, and a great activity for families, educators, clubs, and individuals! With the help of experts, identifying the samples is pretty easy, too, and supplies a peek into the health of our streams.

Join us this Thursday, March 23 to learn more about stream monitoring. No obligations, this is an informational session to educate our community on the areas that are currently being monitored, the results of those efforts, and future plans. The session will be held at the Missaukee Conservation District (6180 W. Sanborn Road) in the Community Room, 6pm to 8pm. *This is a free workshop.

Aquatic insects are collected in nets

Identification of samples can be done on site or with microscopes

photos courtesy of Au Sable Institute

World Water Day is Wednesday March 22

What is World Water Day?

  • Annual day held on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
  • An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day.
  • Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater. The 2017 theme of World Water Day is “Wastewater” and 2018 will be “Nature-based Solutions for Water”.

2017 Theme: Wastewater

This year’s theme will explore how to reduce and recycle wastewater. Globally, the vast majority of all the wastewater from our homes, cities, industry and agriculture flows back to nature without being treated or reused – polluting drinking and bathing and irrigation and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials.

Visit worldwaterday.org to learn about the issue and how you can make a difference. 

The event will be broadcast online via Water.org, the World Economic Forum, and the United Nations; other organizations will also stream it on their Facebook pages.

fact_sheet_WWD2017_EN

Spring Planting is Near. Order your Seedlings Soon!

Annual Seedling Sale is underway! Missaukee Conservation District is pleased to offer a large variety of trees, shrubs, garden crops, and seeds. This year, the district is also offering a series of workshops during March and April. These two-hour sessions are designed to help landowners select and effectively use plants for their projects whether it is reforestation, landscaping, or a brand-new hobby.

Promoting Natives

The plants offered in the seedling sale are carefully selected. This year we have focused on native species that are almost guaranteed to successfully grow in this county. With pollinators in peril, invasive species moving in, and native habitats declining, we feel it is important to promote our native species and what they can do for our area. While all the plants offered in the sale are wonderful, I am particularly drawn to Common Ninebark. The flowers are beautiful and unique. The plant is adaptable to many sites including tough clay soils and dry or wet sites. It’s amazing that such an easy-going plant is native to our region, special to native bees, and produces nutritious berries for our beloved song birds. We have also expanded our selection of garden fruits and vegetables this year. Cultivated crop plants are not native, but are very important for people and are unlikely to interfere with native habitats. Several plants were selected for their multi use. Raspberries and blueberries are excellent fresh, frozen, and in baked goods & jams. Hops are not as versatile since the only use for them is in beer brewing, but that doesn’t make them any less interesting. Small scale farming is an excellent way to reconnect with the earth and your food. Get your hands dirty this spring and summer! Plant shrubs and trees for wildlife and land improvement; plant fruits and veggies to harvest for summer meals and winter canning.

Deadline for Missaukee Seedling Sale is Thursday April 13, 2017.

  • Order online before March 31st for a chance to win a free fruit tree. Also, order early for the best selection as some species may sell out before the end of sale.
  • If you would like to receive a Seedling Sale catalog in the mail next year, give us a call to add your address to our list.
  • Seedling Sale pick-up location has changed this year; orders can be picked up on Saturday, April 29 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Baker College, south of Lake City near the corner of M-55 and M-66.
    • Several free presentations will be available during pick-up day: Pruning Saplings, Invasives in the Landscape and Food Plot Development.  Crafting Nature Art will have a small fee. Free water testing for nitrates and nitrites will also be available.
  • Call Missaukee Conservation District for more information: 231.839.7193 or visit the “Tree Sale” tab on the website.

And Now We Wait

March 20th marks the first day of spring. However, in Northern Michigan it doesn’t really feel like spring until mid-April or even early May. Spring woodland flowers (like trout lily and spring beauty) may not bloom until a month past the Vernal Equinox. Northern Michigan weather is unpredictable! So, I have a new favorite spring indicator: Bald Eagles. Of course I love spring wildflowers, but I have to wait too long to see them. I also know that even though the calendar says “spring” the weather doesn’t always agree, but this is my break in the clouds, if you will.

Right now, the Bald Eagle pair that nests at the Platte River Fish Hatchery (in Benzie County) has prepared their nest and just laid an egg last night. The incubation period for Bald Eagles is 34-36 days. So now we wait. We can also watch, though–the hatchery has a wonderful, live eagle cam. Click the link below to watch their daily activities, see how they rearrange the nest, what they bring back for dinner, listen to them call to each other, and wait. Wait, for that one (maybe she’ll lay another…) egg to hatch.

Platte River Eagle Cam

Friday, March 17th another egg appeared in the nest! Happy Spring!