Momentum for the restoration and protection of clean water and our region’s great outdoor opportunities continues to build. Huron Pines was recently awarded $7,500 from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Restoration Fund of the Bay Area Community Foundation to help residents in the Au Gres River Watershed improve land and water stewardship practices and to involve the public in watershed planning and restoration activities. This project kicks off in 2016 and is the next step in the larger Northern Saginaw Bay Restoration Initiative, an ongoing effort to protect clean water, enhance wildlife habitat and strengthen communities throughout Arenac, Iosco and Ogemaw counties.

“The continued investment in the Northern Saginaw Bay Restoration Initiative by the Bay Area Community Foundation—totaling $22,000 since 2012—demonstrates a strong commitment to our local communities and for natural resources such as clean water and healthy wildlife.” explains Josh Leisen, a Watershed Project Manager at Huron Pines. “Huron Pines will use this support to organize public meetings, engage local K-12 students in outdoor education opportunities and provide technical and financial assistance to residents of the Au Gres River Watershed who want to better manage their property to promote clean water and healthy wildlife.”

Contributions from local organizations like the Bay Area Community Foundation have been absolutely critical to Huron Pines’ success in leveraging more than $1.5 million dollars in federal funding for the Northern Saginaw Bay Restoration Initiative. The federal money brought into the region through this project provides an economic boost for the local communities, county road commissions, businesses, farmers and other landowners that participate in the process to protect our natural resources.

Over the next couple years Huron Pines and partners are planning to complete lots of restoration work in the Au Gres River Watershed.  Huron Pines has secured $235,000 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation—Sustain Our Great Lakes Program to improve five road/stream crossings, stabilize eroding streambanks and work with farmers to improve stewardship practices on agricultural lands. The Bay Area Community Foundation funding complements this federal funding by boosting the amount of education, outreach and private land stewardship work that will be completed as part of the project.

“The importance of long-term protection of water quality and natural resources cannot be overstated” says Bay Area Community Foundation’s President and CEO Eileen Curtis.  “By supporting conservation outreach and restoration efforts of organizations such as Huron Pines, the Bay Area Community Foundation helps strengthen communities and rural economies in the region by helping to safeguard the natural resources on which they depend.”

Listen to a radio clip about this project courtesy of Mr. Great Lakes. 

Huron Pines is a nonprofit conservation organization and equal opportunity provider with a mission to protect the Great Lakes by conserving the forests, lakes and streams of Northeast Michigan. For more information about the Northern Saginaw Bay Restoration Initiative contact Josh Leisen, Huron Pines Watershed Project Manager, at (989) 448-2293 ext. 16 or

The Bay Area Community Foundation has a mission to fulfill a wide array of donors’ charitable wishes throughout Bay and Arenac counties by building permanent endowment funds and serving as a leader for community improvement through effective grantmaking and collaboration. More information about Bay Area Community Foundation can be found at or by calling (989) 893-4438.

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