Category: News & Events
Community Engagement Internship (position filled)
| February 4, 2021 | 3:37 pm | News & Events | Comments closed


Community Engagement Intern; part-time at $15/hour for 2 years; approximately 4 hours per week for 2 years with an additional 6 hours per week for approximately 16 weeks each spring; flexible start date (February/March); potential remote position with some in-person requirements


The Community Engagement Intern will support a range of activities furthering The Watershed Center’s mission to advocate for clean water in Grand Traverse Bay and act to protect and preserve its watershed. S/he is responsible for supporting the staff’s outreach activities, coordinating trash clean-up events, creating content for social media, and coordinating volunteers. This position requires a genuine enthusiasm for The Watershed Center’s mission and the ability to project that enthusiasm to others. Strong attention to detail as well as interpersonal and communication skills are essential to effectively interact with and build trust and confidence among our audiences.


  • Reports to: Executive Director
  • Supervises: none
  • Works with: Grand Traverse BAYKEEPER®, Program Director, Legal Counsel
  • External stakeholders: elected and appointed government officials, contractors, citizen advocates, donors, volunteers, public


  • Coordinate trash removal events over the course of a week at several sites along the Grand Traverse Bay shoreline and the Boardman River
  • Work with landowners to obtain necessary permission to host trash removal events
  • Coordinate local marketing and promotion for trash removal events, including press releases, social media, event calendars, and media alerts
  • Recruit, track, and coordinate volunteers for trash removal events
  • Inventory, order, provide, and maintain necessary equipment for trash removal events
  • Create original content for TWC’s social media channels, website, newsletters, and print materials
  • Assist with other essential tasks as needed, including water quality monitoring, data entry, advocacy tracking, and watershed education.


Success is measured by the degree to which:

  • Required work is completed on time and budget goals are met
  • Written communication is clear, concise, professional, and free from error
  • Reported level of satisfaction from stakeholders and public averages good or better
  • Supporters, volunteers, staff, and Board are satisfied with work products


  • Experience in copywriting, editing, and proofreading preferred
  • Experience with graphic design and production of marketing materials preferred
  • Experience creating story maps and proficiency using ArcGIS preferred
  • Interest in and familiarity with environmental policy (especially water quality policy) and local government processes preferred
  • Extremely detail-oriented with strong organization and research skills
  • Excellent prioritization and multi-tasking abilities
  • Exceptional time management skills and ability to meet deadlines
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Exhibit professionalism with superior social and interpersonal skills
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong computer skills (familiar with Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Creative Suite, Word-Press, Salesforce)
  • Strong experience utilizing social media
  • Able to work flexible hours


Please email resume and cover letter stating your suitability for this position to Christine Crissman at Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis until the position is filled.

The Watershed Center is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate in employment, promotions, or compensation based on sex, age, race, religion, color, national origin, marital or veteran status, or disability.
13th Annual Freshwater Summit Sessions October 2, 9, 16, & 23, 2020
| September 21, 2020 | 12:52 pm | News & Events | Comments closed

Registration Available Through The Watershed Center

TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan – The Freshwater Roundtable is proud to announce a series of sessions that make up the 13th Annual Freshwater Summit. Sessions for the Freshwater Summit will be held virtually on October 2, 9, 16, and 23 from 10:00 – 11:30am.

“We were unable to host an in-person event this year, but still wanted to gather as a community of learners,” said Christine Crissman, executive director of The Watershed Center. “We are looking forward to tapping into state and local expertise to discuss current challenges and opportunities facing local and regional freshwater efforts.”  

Presentations include permitting, planning, and stabilization of shorelines during high water levels; quagga mussel, lake trout, whitefish, and avian botulism research in Good Harbor Bay; equity concerns with water access and management; and lightning talks about local initiatives.

“In Michigan, and especially in this region, our lives are defined by water; commercially and recreationally,” said Dennis McCauley, president of the Great Lakes Environmental Center, Inc., sponsor of the Freshwater Summit. “We feel it is valuable to bring together professionals and interested residents alike to talk about water quality and water use issues that are impacting our economy, our shorelines, and our lives.”

A full agenda for each session and registration information is available online at Registration is free and open to the public.

The Freshwater Summit is a product of the Freshwater Roundtable and is organized by The Watershed Center, NMC’s Great Lakes Water Studies Institute, Michigan Sea Grant Extension, Great Lakes Environmental Center, Inc., Inland Seas Education Association, NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, Grand Traverse Conservation District, Conservation Resource Alliance, and Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council. The 13th Annual Freshwater Summit is sponsored by the Great Lakes Environmental Center, Inc.

Grand Traverse Region Beach Testing Begins June 10
| June 3, 2020 | 3:08 pm | News & Events | Comments closed

The Watershed Center to Sample 26 Local Beaches Through September 2

TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan – June 8, 2020 – The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay will begin its annual beach testing on June 10. 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 2.

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, The Watershed Center Facebook page, the Grand Traverse County Health Department website, and the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department website and Facebook page. 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.”

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, The Watershed Center also reminds beachgoers to practice “social distancing” while at beaches this summer in accordance with CDC and Health Department guidelines. While current research suggests there is a low risk of exposure to viable Coronavirus pathogens in beach waters, its main route of exposure is airborne and beach goers are still at risk of contracting the virus if social distancing measures are not followed. 

Beach goers are also reminded not to swim near storm drains, especially during and immediately after a rain event, 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)
The Watershed Center Receives $400K Grant to Enhance Green Infrastructure Storwmater Program in Elk Rapids
| April 14, 2020 | 7:28 pm | News & Events | Comments closed

TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan – April 14, 2020 – The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay has received a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) to enhance a stormwater program in the Village of Elk Rapids focusing on green infrastructure. Funding will be used to install an underground infiltration trench and retrofit street side bump-outs into rain gardens to infiltrate 2.8 million gallons of stormwater runoff each year. 

“We are excited to use this investment from the EPA to continue developing a stormwater program in the Village of Elk Rapids,” said Sarah U’Ren, Program Director at The Watershed Center. A significant amount of stormwater is generated by the roads, parking lots, and rooftops on the west side of the village, which can contribute excessive sediment, nutrients, pathogens, and toxins to Grand Traverse Bay. “The goal of this project is to reduce the volume of stormwater and its associated pollution inputs, which we will accomplish by using green infrastructure systems including underground infiltration and bioretention,” U’Ren continued.

Proposed work includes installing an underground infiltration trench under a section of Cedar Street to infiltrate stormwater coming from the upper section of the system. This trench will store and infiltrate over 80% of the Cedar Street stormdrain system’s total drainage area. Additional work includes retrofitting four existing paved bump-out areas along Dexter Street into rain gardens. The rain gardens will be in a highly visible location and will serve as a local demonstration of green infrastructure installation in the village.

“The Watershed Center provides strong leadership for green infrastructure projects that protect water quality in our uniquely situated community,” said Village President James Janisse. “We are grateful to our funders and are honored to showcase these efforts to others this fall. Even with projects of this significance, we are always looking forward to what we can accomplish next.”

A long-term partnership between The Watershed Center and the Village of Elk Rapids has led to the adoption and installation of green infrastructure policies and practices throughout the village. The Watershed Center is currently working on plans to retrofit a grassy area adjacent to Edward C. Grace Memorial Harbor into a bioswale and existing flower beds on River Street into rain gardens using funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

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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

Our Office is Closed, Our Efforts Continue
| March 16, 2020 | 12:57 pm | News & Events | Comments closed

Our highest priority is the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, and community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although our office is currently closed, staff continue to work remotely and are available by phone (231.935.1514) and by email. We do miss interacting with our community face-to-face and send well wishes to all our supporters. In the meantime, we continue our work at full speed and remain committed to protecting clean water locally.