ENVIRONMENT: River Care Fund exceeds ’99 expectations

TRAVERSE CITY – Merely six months after it kicked off, the Conservation Resource Alliance’s River Care Fund has a balance of $60,000, exceeding expectations of everyone involved.

“We couldn’t be more pleased–we had a goal for 1999 of $50,000,” said CRA’s development coordinator Matt Thomas. “Contributors to the River Care Permanent Fund enjoy knowing that their gift will continue to propagate tangible projects, such as field stone placement, plantings, stairways, road crossing improvements, canoe landings and fish habitat structures.”

The fund is earmarked to protect the natural features of the world-class rivers and waterways in northwest Michigan, such as the Pere Marquette, Manistee and Betsie rivers. After the fund reaches a target level, CRA will draw earnings to fund priority projects, often channeling the funds directly to a local “friends of” group.

The River Care Program will also benefit from a portion of sales on each special edition canoe or kayak sold by Larry Bordine, owner of Grand Traverse Boatworks. His handcrafted cedar strip boats are engineered for beauty and functionality and can be modified to the buyer’s preferences.

Also throwing support behind CRA is Jackson-based Consumers Energy Foundation, which recently granted $5,000 to support CRA’s work. Consumers has been a major force behind the large-scale erosion control project that CRA is currently completing on the Big Manistee River.

CRA’s River Care Program has also gained widespread support from Trout Unlimited, The Conservation Fund, the state DNR and the U.S. Forest Service.

Formed in 1968, CRA is a private, non-profit organization coordinating river and watershed improvement projects throughout northwest lower Michigan; www.alloutdoors.com/rivercare or 946-6817.