Michigan United Conservation Clubs’ (MUCC) On the Water (OTW) program is kicking off its summer season with a Saginaw Bay cleanup.

On July 11 at 9 a.m., volunteers will meet at the Bay City State Park. An event coordinator will sign people in and give directions for the cleanup event. This event is tailored for a diverse set of user groups — paddlers, beachgoers, duck hunters, air boaters and anglers will join together to help protect one of Michigan’s most cherished resources.

Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay encompasses roughly 1,150 square miles of freshwater. The bay is home to some of Michigan’s best perch and walleye fisheries, as well as providing recreational access to hundreds of thousands of boaters, paddlers and recreationists each year.

Given the propensity of use on the bay, it often becomes littered with trash throughout the summer season. This cleanup event is intended to bring passionate conservationists with varying interests together to protect the freshwater resource.

On the Water Coordinator, Emma Nehan said she is excited to get back in the swing of things after pausing the program during COVID-19 restrictions.

“Saginaw Bay is the heartbeat of many different user groups and species,” Nehan said. “Hosting a cleanup of this resource will positively impact game and nongame species, as well as the bay’s aesthetical appeal and usability.”

Volunteers will split into groups after introductions and will be given trash bags and other equipment to clean areas of Bay City State Park or Saginaw Bay. Participants will be encouraged to clean up different areas of the bay using an access map OTW will provide.

After working through the morning, volunteers will meet back at Bay City State Park where lunch will be provided along with a volunteer-appreciation gift.

Those with boats are encouraged to bring their vessel so a larger area can be covered throughout the bay. With this in mind, please watch the weather report beforehand and use common sense when dealing with bay conditions.

The event will be hosted in its entirety outdoors; please dress appropriately. Volunteers should preregister for the event at MUCC’s website. Preregistration will help the host determine the number of lunches to purchase. 

MUCC Executive Director Amy Trotter said that Saginaw Bay is a special place for many of the organization’s clubs and members, and she is excited to see groups come together in the name of conservation.

“Many of our walleye and perch anglers rely on Saginaw Bay for the bulk of their fishing, and duck hunters on the bay spend countless days pursuing the migration over the bay,” Trotter said. “To do an event that will positively impact a freshwater resource this big and this many user groups is really special.”

On the Water is funded through a Consumers Energy Foundation Planet Grant. In total, OTW has held nine field events and one educational event removed 1,810 pounds of litter and hosted 228 volunteers. MUCC thanks the Consumers Energy Foundation for its dedication to conservation and willingness to reach broad user groups through freshwater cleanups.

If you have questions or comments about the event, please contact Emma Nehan at enehan@mucc.org.

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