OTW Holds Successful Virtual Cleanup on Muskegon River funded by Fremont Area Community Foundation

Volunteering with the OTW program is a rewarding and fun way to give back to your natural resources while taking care of the watershed you enjoy. Our projects are hosted all across Michigan, and we have hosted volunteer events from the Upper Peninsula to the suburbs of Detroit. The OTW program gives individuals the opportunity to directly enhance aquatic habitat and local watersheds like streams, lakes and wetlands.

For the month of August MUCC’s OTW collaborated with Ferris State University, Muskegon River Watershed Assembly and the Newaygo Parks and Rec Department to hold the first virtual Muskegon River Trash Bash. This event was funded through a Fremont Area Community Foundation grant. The goal of this event was to remove trash from the Muskegon River for the entire month of August. 2020 is the first time this in-person event was held virtually to accommodate social distancing guidelines put in place due to COVID-19.

Throughout the event, we were able to engage 106 volunteers. 27 of the 106 volunteers directly affected the Muskegon River in Newaygo County. Each volunteer spent an average of three hours on the river, removing litter and debris from the banks and stream itself. This event produced an estimated 318 volunteer hours.

Volunteers were able to remove 188 bags of trash weighing roughly 10 pounds per bag for a total of about 1880 pounds of trash removed from the Muskegon River. Throughout the month-long event, volunteers were involved in Mecosta, Muskegon, Newaygo and Osceola. With volunteers covering numerous points of the watershed, we were able to positively affect 644 acres of aquatic habitat along the Muskegon River. This event was an amazing success!

MUCC’s OTW program wants to thank Fremont Area Community Foundation through the Ice Mountain Environmental Stewardship fund for its dedication to conservation and willingness to reach broad user groups through freshwater cleanups. To check out all future OTW events here!

Currently, MUCC is seeking large scale funding to continue our On the Water Program through 2021. Collaborators on this project will continue to assist in fund development and letters of support for future grant applications.  Project partners have also established a foundation of collaboration and understanding between agencies, which bodes well for work on future projects in the region.

If future funding does not materialize due to the current funding climate, the OTW program will leave behind a positive lasting impact on the watersheds and communities. The environment and natural resources of Michigan will still have long-term ecological benefits from the completion of this project and the overall program.

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

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