Inspiring Then and Now: A Brown Bag Reunion with Initiators of The Watershed Center
| June 25, 2019 | 6:40 pm | Point of (Water) View Blog | Comments closed

This July, The Watershed Center will celebrate our 25th anniversary. Looking back, we have accomplished countless projects and initiatives that have kept our water clean, giving us ample reason to celebrate. But we didn’t do this alone. To celebrate properly, we wanted to go back to the beginning and reconnect with those that made our work possible.

In the early ‘90s, some forward-thinking, engaged community members started meeting over brown bag lunches to talk about the most unique natural water body in this area – Grand Traverse Bay. Newly formed and well-established environmental organizations sat around a table with elected and appointed officials, planning groups, municipal staff, state agencies, educational organizations, engineers, and many others. They talked about common areas of interest, accomplishments they should celebrate, barriers they were facing, and what they could do together to affect change and have a positive impact on the health of the watershed. These conversations led to joint grant applications, policies and ordinances being adopted, shared funding and resources, coordinated projects, common messaging, and the formation of The Watershed Center.

A few weeks ago, I invited as many of the original cohort as I could find to reconnect over another brown bag lunch. They shared memories of the people and organizations involved in the early days, laughing and remembering stories that haven’t been told for many years. We talked about the numerous successes we have collectively accomplished and what challenges we are still facing. With a renewed sense of enthusiasm and devotion to enhancing the environmental health of our community, we even began talking about what we might want to collaborate on next. Even though 25 years may have passed, our community is still profoundly dedicated to protecting our valuable water resources and tackling any obstacles that threaten its health.

Throughout the twenty years I have lived and worked in this community, I have been involved in numerous partnerships, collaborations, and networks. The environmental community up north is full of passionate, dedicated people working for influential organizations; so many, in fact, that we can often be confused with one other. However, each one of these groups respects each other’s work and recognizes the greater impact we have from working together. I believe this culture of collaboration was fostered by those brown bag lunches and continues to strengthen today.

The Watershed Center began with a vision for collaboration that will make and keep our water clean. The board, staff, and volunteers here have worked hard in pursuit of that, but we have been supported along the way. So many of the original brown bag lunch attendees are colleagues I continue to talk with, rely on, have projects with, and highly respect today. That spirit of collaboration has not faded; something that can be seen by the successes of our collective work. I am truly humbled and inspired by each of them and am so grateful I could sit with them again to talk, laugh, learn, and continue to strive to keep our water clean for generations to come.

Christine Crissman is the Executive Director of The Watershed Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grand Traverse Region Beach Testing Begins June 19
| June 14, 2019 | 12:43 pm | Community News | Comments closed

Contact:
Sarah U’Ren
The Watershed Center
suren@gtbay.org
231.935.1514 ext. 2

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

GRAND TRAVERSE REGION BEACH TESTING BEGINS JUNE 19

THE WATERSHED CENTER TO SAMPLE 26 LOCAL BEACHES THROUGH SEPTEMBER 11

TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan – June 14, 2019 – The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay will begin its annual beach testing on June 19. Twenty six area Lake Michigan and inland lake beaches in Benzie, Grand Traverse, and Leelanau counties will be tested for harmful E.coli bacteria every Wednesday through September 11.

Beach test results will be available by noon on Thursdays and posted shortly thereafter on the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy’s (EGLE) BeachGuard website, as well as The Watershed Center Facebook page and the Grand Traverse County Health Department website. If test results show high bacteria levels, local Health Departments will post advisories at impacted beaches and the beaches will immediately be re-tested until results return to acceptable levels.

Elevated bacteria levels, including E. coli, at beaches pose a threat to public health and cause illness, especially in young children and people with compromised immune systems. The presence of E.coli in surface water indicates fecal contamination is present at the beach, which includes a host of other harmful viruses and bacteria. Beachgoers are encouraged to take simple actions to reduce the risk of E. coli at beaches, such as not feeding ducks and other birds, disposing of diapers (including swim diapers) in trash cans, and having young children take frequent bathroom breaks.

“Every year, we are proud to be able to offer this service within the watershed,” said Sarah U’Ren, Program Director at The Watershed Center. “Our weekly testing for E.coli bacteria is an integral piece of our efforts to keep our residents, visitors, and beaches healthy.”

The Watershed Center also reminds beachgoers not to swim near storm drains, especially during and immediately after rain, as water from the storm drain may contain E. coli and other harmful pathogens from animal feces that are washed into the drains during a storm. The risk of elevated E. coli levels after a rain event decreases as sunlight breaks down the bacteria in open water.

Funding for beach monitoring comes from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency BEACH Act Funds, as well as EGLE’s Clean Michigan Initiative, the City of Traverse City, and Acme Township. Testing will be conducted at the following beaches:

Lake Michigan

  • Empire Beach
  • Frankfort Beach

Grand Traverse Bay – West

  • Bryant Park (Traverse City)
  • Sunset Park (Traverse City)
  • Senior Beach (Traverse City)
  • Clinch Park (Traverse City)
  • Volleyball Beach (Traverse City)
  • West End Beach (Traverse City)
  • Greilickville Harbor Park
  • Suttons Bay Beach
  • Suttons Bay Marina Park Beach
  • Northport Beach

Grand Traverse Bay – East

  • East Bay Park (Traverse City)
  • Traverse City State Park
  • Acme Bayside Park
  • Sayler Park (Acme)

Inland Beaches

  • Almira Township Park (Lake Ann)
  • Bellows Beach (Crystal Lake)
  • Beulah Beach (Crystal Lake)
  • Gilbert Beach (Long Lake)
  • Interlochen State Park (Duck Lake)
  • Neddows Beach (Lake Leelanau)
  • South Bar Beach (South Bar Lake)
  • Taylor Beach (Long Lake)
  • Twin Lakes Park (North Twin Lake)
  • Whitewater Township Park (Elk Lake)

 

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The Watershed Center is a non-profit organization that advocates for clean water in Grand Traverse Bay and acts to protect and preserve its 1,000-square mile watershed, which covers portions of Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Antrim, and Kalkaska counties. Learn more at www.gtbay.org.

 

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Registration Now Open for the Kids Swim for Grand Traverse Bay
| June 5, 2019 | 5:30 pm | News & Events, Point of (Water) View Blog | Comments closed

May 31, 2019
Contact:
Shelli DiFranco, Director of Community Engagement,
The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay
231-935-1514 ext 5
sdifranco@gtbay.org

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Registration Opens Tomorrow for Kids Swim for Grand Traverse Bay


Traverse City, Michigan −
Celebrate clean, healthy water in Grand Traverse Bay with a fun half-mile point-to-point open water swim aimed at swimmers ages 12-17 on Friday, August 9 at 6pm. Registration for the second annual Kids Swim for Grand Traverse Bay opens tomorrow, Saturday, June 1 at 8am EDT at www.swimforgtbay.com.

 

What:              Registration opens on Saturday, June 1 for the second annual Kids Swim for Grand Traverse Bay. Registration fee is $25 per swimmer; unlike the Swim for Grand Traverse Bay, the Kids Swim does not have a fundraising component.
When:             Registration opens Saturday, June 1 at 8am EDT for the Kids Swim, which will take place on Friday, August 9 at 6pm.
Where:            Registration is available at www.swimforgtbay.com
Who:               Youth swimmers looking for a fun event with their teammates and friends
Why:               The Kids Swim is a family-friendly companion event to the Swim for Grand Traverse Bay and was launched in response to community interest. The Kids Swim is hosted by The Watershed Center, a nonprofit organization based in Traverse City, Michigan that advocates for clean water in Grand Traverse Bay and acts to protect and preserve the Bay’s 1,000 square mile watershed.
For more information, visit www.swimforgtbay.com.

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Registration Opens Today for 2019 Swim for Grand Traverse Bay
| May 1, 2019 | 12:21 pm | News & Events | Comments closed

May 1, 2019
Contact:
Shelli DiFranco, Director of Community Engagement,
The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay
231-935-1514 ext 5
sdifranco@gtbay.org

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Registration Opens Today for 2019 Swim for Grand Traverse Bay

Traverse City, Michigan − Celebrate clean, healthy water in Grand Traverse Bay with a 2-mile point-to-point open water swim on Saturday, August 10 to benefit The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay. Registration for the fourth annual Swim for Grand Traverse Bay opens today, Wednesday, May 1 at 8am EDT at www.swimforgtbay.com. There will be a separate media advisory with details on registration for the Kids Swim for Grand Traverse Bay.

What:              Registration opens on Wednesday, May 1 for the fourth annual Swim for Grand Traverse Bay, benefitting The Watershed Center. Registration fee is $45 per swimmer; please note that swimmers are expected to meet or exceed a fundraising requirement of $150.

When:             Registration opens Wednesday, May 1 at 8am EDT for the Swim, which will take place on Saturday, August 10.

Where:            Registration is available at www.swimforgtbay.com

Who:               Swimmers looking for a timed event, triathletes wanting to practice in open water, recreational swimmers wanting to set a personal goal, or anyone passionate about clean water and wanting to make a difference at the local level are encouraged to participate.

Why:               The Swim for Grand Traverse Bay benefits The Watershed Center, a nonprofit organization based in Traverse City, Michigan that advocates for clean water in Grand Traverse Bay and acts to protect and preserve the Bay’s 1,000 square mile watershed.

For more information, visit www.swimforgtbay.com.

# # #

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The Watershed Center to Host Community Forum on PFAS
| April 5, 2019 | 6:55 pm | News & Events | Comments closed
Contact:
Shelli DiFranco
The Watershed Center
sdifranco@gtbay.org
231.935.1514 ext. 5

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THE WATERSHED CENTER TO HOST COMMUNITY FORUM ON PFAS
FREE EVENT PLANNED FOR THURSDAY, MAY 9

TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan – April 5, 2019 – The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay is hosting a free community forum where residents, business owners, and community members can hear from public health experts, environmental specialists, and leaders who are working to protect our drinking water from PFAS, a group of chemicals increasingly being found in water supplies throughout the state. The event will be held on Thursday, May 9 from 6-7:30 p.m. at West Middle School, 3950 W. Silver Lake Road in Traverse City.

The forum will feature Steve Sliver, Executive Director of the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team, and local experts on PFAS in our region.

“PFAS are an emerging threat to drinking water everywhere, including in our watershed,” said Christine Crissman, Executive Director of The Watershed Center. “The more we learn about the topic, the more concerned we are. Michigan has recently completed a testing effort and will soon be setting drinking water standards for the state.”

The forum will include presentations followed by a panel discussion and question and answer session with the audience. Morgan Springer, News Director at Interlochen Public Radio, will moderate the event.

The forum is sponsored in part by Global Remediation Technologies, Inc. and Great Lakes Environmental Center. The community forum is not sponsored by Traverse City Area Public Schools.

# # #


The Watershed Center is a non-profit organization that advocates for clean water in Grand Traverse Bay and acts to protect and preserve its 1,000-square mile watershed, which covers portions of Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Antrim, and Kalkaska counties. Learn more at www.gtbay.org.

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