Huron Pines is partnering with Presque Isle Conservation District for a day of planting trees near South Shore Park in Rogers City. Volunteers will help install 500 native saplings. As these trees grow, the canopies and roots will absorb excess rainwater and filter out pollutants to protect the health of Lake Huron.
The event runs from 10am to 2pm May 7. RSVP here.
Trees improve water quality by absorbing stormwater with their roots, which act as a filter to pull out pollutants like oil and road salt instead of letting it flow across the ground into the lake. Polluted runoff can result in beach closures and degraded fish and wildlife habitat, all of which impacts recreation, tourism and the environmental health of a community. This project is part of a larger effort between Huron Pines and its conservation and municipal partners in Rogers City to improve the tree canopy in and around the city limits.
“By planting trees, we’re capturing more stormwater and building up coastal defenses against stronger storms and flooding,” said Samantha Nellis, Water Program Director for Huron Pines. “This planting will also add to the genetic diversity of tree species in the area and help maintain the natural processes that stabilize sand dunes at the site. All of this helps Rogers City be more resilient to storms and changes in temperature and precipitation.”
Tree species chosen for the planting day include balsam fir, northern white cedar and white birch. These species already occur to a limited extent at the site but the addition of these saplings, which are several feet tall, will encourage forest growth and contribute to natural seeding.
“A key decision when planting trees is selecting a site based on soil conditions, climate and the wind environment,” said Brittany VanderWall, District Forester for Presque Isle Conservation District. “If a site isn’t right, it will be very difficult for trees to establish themselves. We know all three species are growing here already and, by planting many more, we’re sowing the seeds of a future forest.”
The planting site is located off Business Loop US-23 near the intersection of St. Clair Street and Calcite Road. It borders Rogers City Little League Fields and is owned by Carmeuse mining company, which allows respectful access by the public.
The event will take place rain or shine unless thunderstorms are forecasted, at which point it will be rescheduled. Volunteers are encouraged to dress for the weather and bring a refillable water bottle, work gloves and a spade. Volunteers can choose from a variety of tasks including digging, raking, mulching and using wheelbarrows.
In May 2021, volunteers joined Huron Pines and Presque Isle Conservation District in planting 55 trees at Herman Vogler Conservation Area, a 270-acre recreation preserve northwest of Rogers City. That effort helped improve the water quality of Trout River and establish a more diverse forest.
Support for this event is provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Sustain Our Great Lakes Program and the Consumers Energy Foundation. It is part of the Huron Pines Protect Wild Places program.