Cold Day on the Coldwater River

Another year and more bugs to count at the Coldwater River.  On Saturday, May 19, 18 OBTU volunteers met at Tyler Creek campground outside Grand Rapids to begin our semi-annual 2018 macroinvertebrate survey with the Coldwater River Watershed Council (CRWC).

“Into each life a little rain must fall…” and that was definitely the case that weekend according to Marvin Strauch.  Rain during the prior week had raised water levels on the Coldwater and surrounding rivers and colored the water.  But then a new weather system moved in Friday and drenched the area overnight.

“We were a bit delayed in the morning, waiting for the rains to break,” said Strauch. “Of course, that gave us a bit more time to finish the campsite breakfast prepared by Stan Zarnowiecki.  He has really hit his stride with eggs and sausages over a camp stove!”

The survey sites were on the Coldwater River at the M-43 crossing (in the midst of the area that had previously been destroyed by the haphazard tree cutting of a drainage commission contractor), Coldwater at Freeport, and on the tributaries streams – Duck Creek, Tyler Creek, and Cain Creek.  These feeders are responsible for much of the cold water feeding the Coldwater.  The Cain Creek site was an adjustment from last year and proved to be quite a healthy site.  This survey site lies within a nature preserve – Maher Sanctuary – a lush habitat, plenty of forest canopy, with close growing native plants on the forest floor.  Not surprisingly, that site yielded phenomenal numbers of mayflies (Baetis and March Browns), stoneflies, and cased caddis.  As well, despite the rains, that site was flowing very clear.  It was a glimpse into what all streams in this area could be if properly protected.

CRWC members prepared lunch for us after the count was completed.  As well, each OBTU volunteer was given a framed print of the Coldwater River.  It was an acknowledgement of our 14 years of cooperation in working to conserve and protect this southern Michigan trout stream.

Our members spent the rest of the weekend trout fishing on western Michigan, on the Coldwater River, Tyler Creek, the Rogue River, the Muskegon and the Pere Marquette.  It was a successful conservation project and a fun weekend, though complicated by the elements.

You can view the results of our previous Macroinvertebrate surveys, as well as the environmental data on a host of Michigan streams at the MiCorps website – – select the Data Exchange tab, then View Exchange.  There are a few Coldwater Rivers in Michigan.  Select the data for sites in Kent or Barry counties.

Special thanks go out to our volunteers: Miguel and Mirella Alvarez, Steve Carlson, Dave Carlson, Art Cottrell, Jim Hohenberger, Jim Jones, Ken Krueger, Dan LaFave, Frank Martin, John Martyn, Phillip Martyn, Alex Martyn, Ed Michael, Marvin Strauch, and Stan Zarnowiecki.