Volunteers needed for electrofishing, habitat creation & cleanup

The month of September is filled with opportunities to assist Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited with our Grand Rapids Community Foundation Grant.  The opportunities include work on the Cedar Creek and electrofishing various cold water systems in Kent County.

We need two to three volunteers to assist Aaron Snell with electroshocking per event. If anyone is interested in helping, please send me a few dates that you are available between now and mid-September. Aaron’s schedule is flexible so he can accommodate as many volunteers as possible. The watersheds include but are not limited to Ball Creek, Bear Creek, Butternut Creek, Cherry Creek, Coopers Creek, Duck Creek, Duke Creek, Indian Mill Creek, Mill Creek, Nash Creek, Spring Creek and Walter Creek.  If you’ve never been electrofishing, it is a lot of fun….and very humbling as an angler!!
For those interested in getting their hands dirty to do some hands on work that promotes healthy trout habitat, this is your chance.   The main focus for restoration this summer is Cedar Creek, in downtown Cedar Springs.  SWMTU has already used in-kind excavating and tractor work from some city employees to clear out trash, debris and dead black willow logs that jammed the stream, flooded downtown and impaired habitat.  We also removed several tons of broken concrete.

The next goal is to install some fieldstone riprap along a 100 foot section in Veterans Park, install some cross vanes and other habitat features throughout the city portion of the creek and plant some 12′ trees along the southern bank for shade.  We also have to create a false bank to narrow a wide stretch.  It should be fun work, and since it’s public land we can all fish it next year to evaluate it.  A neighbor reported a 19 inch brown taken from near this area last opener.

Friday, September 2 (right before Labor Day weekend) Josh could use three to four volunteers at the Pigeon River to work on some habitat work we are doing in conjunction with the Drain Commissioner and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  There are several sites to work on here, most notably a large erosion site which we plan to re-grade, riprap, cover with topsoil, re-seed and cover with straw mats.  There is also some timber work to complete as well.  SWMTU installed some timber habitat there in 2008, and Dr. Neil McDonald from GVSU electroshocked a 20.75″ brown from it that Fall, so the work we do there has recruited fish.  Please respond if the morning or afternoon is better for that day.  Josh has the whole day open.

Friday, September 9th and Saturday the 10th Cedar Creek restoration work days.  Josh could use at least five volunteers for each day of work, and we could potentially work both of these days.  The location is in downtown Cedar Springs on City property where Cedar Creek crosses Northland Drive.   We have to install a false bank, some riprap, and other habitat features.  Josh has each day open, so he can work with volunteers’ time schedules.  Usually Saturdays we work from 9 am to 1 pm or so, lunch is provided.  Friday we can schedule per people’s time schedules.

Friday, September 16th Install habitat features in Cedar Springs.  Josh would like at least five volunteers for this day as well.  This will be work that has an immediate impact and, as mentioned earlier, we can all fish it at a later date.  Josh encourages volunteer feedback for times on this day as well.

Tuesday, September 30th River cleanup day in downtown Cedar Springs, from 10 am to 12 pm hosted by Chris Burns, City Manager of Cedar Springs.  The emphasis is to remove bottles and other small trash from the riparian corridor.  She could use some help that day for just a few hours.

Please contact Marc Montpetit if you are interested in assisting with these volunteer opportunities at [email protected]

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