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1300 Bluff Street
Suite 114
Flint, MI 48504
Ph: 810.767.6490
info@FlintRiver.org

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Flint River GREEN Student Summit this Friday: “Our future is in good hands.”

GREEN 1“Our future is in good hands.” 

More than 300 area middle and high school students will gather to share their scientific findings and recommendations on water quality at the Flint River GREEN Student Summit at Kettering University on Friday. 

 

Flint, MI. May 12, 2015 – During the last school year, students and their teachers from 17 school districts in Genesee, Lapeer, and Saginaw counties collaborated with mentors from environmental professions to perform water quality tests* on our Flint River Watershed’s rivers and streams. They braved the elements, pulled on waders, and hopped in the river to collect water and macroinvertebrate samples. Using scientific methods to test local streams and rivers, area students evaluate the health of their stream, research the reason(s) their stream scored the way that it did, and identify actions in practices or policies that will help them protect, preserve, and improve their local waterway. On Friday, these student scientists will present the findings along with action plans at the Flint River GREEN Student Summit from 8 am until 2 pm at Kettering University.

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The Flint River ‘Global Rivers Environmental Education Network’ (GREEN) is a nationally replicated program in its 26th year. It provides students with an outdoor hands-on experience in water quality testing. The capstone of the program is the GREEN Student Summit where students share this information with their teachers, peers, and community officials.

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Rebecca Fedewa, executive director of the Flint River Watershed Coalition, praised the teachers, mentors, community partners, and the students in anticipation of the Student Summit.  “Teachers and mentors are vital to the success of GREEN. The real world knowledge they bring from their respective fields, as well as the hands-on assistance at the testing sites, further exposes students to the value of environmental stewardship and potential career paths in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. The excitement generated through this program has lasting impacts in our communities and in the lives of all the participants.”

GREEN mentors offer assistance in both the classroom and at the testing site. Working closely with teachers, mentors speak with students about GREEN and introduce them to the tests they will perform. Mentors share knowledge about the test, the proper way to perform the tests, safety procedures, and how to interpret results. These volunteers offer insight as to what may cause a result to be high or low, as well as help students develop action plans.

GREENEach year, the FRWC surveys students about their perceptions of the watershed before and after participation in Flint River GREEN, and asks students if they believe they can have an impact on the health and vitality of their local river.  Last year, just 34% of the students entered this program believing that the Flint River is clean and healthy and 64% said they believe they can make a difference.  After participating in this science based program, more than 80% of students emerged from the experience knowing that the Flint River is healthy and 90% know they can make a difference in the health of our Flint River…and want to help.

“The dramatic upward shift in those numbers and attitudes always inspires me, especially knowing that these young people now feel empowered to make a difference in their community, working to keep our watershed clean and healthy,” said Fedewa. “Our future is in good hands.”

Flint River GREEN is generously supported by the Genesee County Drain Commission’s Our Water program and General Motors. The program is run in partnership with the Genesee and Lapeer County Intermediate School Districts, Earth Force, Michigan State University Extension and 4H, Kettering University, and the City of Flint.

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*Water quality test results for GREEN 2014 Class can be found on page 8 of the 2104 Flint River GREEN Annual Report at http://flintriver.org/blog/publications. Final result for 2015 will be released later in the year once all data are tabulated.

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Flint River Watershed Coalition: Partnering to Protect, Preserve, and Improve the Flint River Watershed. The Flint River Watershed Coalition is an organization representing individuals, businesses, community organizations, and local units of government sharing a vision of a healthier Flint River Watershed. We envision a day when the future of our drinking water is secure and the integrity of the Flint River is protected. We believe that all people should have access to the river for recreation, swimming, and fishing as well as the economic value it provides to our communities. To learn more about the Flint River Watershed Coalition and Flint River GREEN, go to www.FlintRiver.org

The Federal Clean Water Act requires select municipalities identified by the EPA to obtain stormwater permits under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program, including many in Genesee County that came together under the Genesee County Community Water Quality Consortium (GCCWQC).  Led by the Genesee County Drain Commissioners Office, GCCWQC is a collection of municipalities, school districts, county organizations, and non-profits charged with overseeing the “Our Water” public education activities required by Phase II Stormwater regulations of the NPDES permit program. They bring awareness, education, and promote stewardship on the ways to prevent stormwater pollution and keep our waters clean. Flint River GREEN is a public education program administered by the Flint River Watershed Coalition and generously supported by the Genesee County Drain Commissioner’s Office. It serves to support the Genesee County Community Water Quality Consortium compliance with the Phase II Storm Water Regulations of their NPDES permit. You can read more about the “Our Waters” program at: www.cleargeneseewater.org 

Flint River GREEN

 

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For detailed information on Flint River GREEN including current news and information about how your school or group can get involved in the program, please visit the program website.

 

What is Flint River GREEN?

GREEN = Global Rivers Environmental Education Network

  • A 6th – 12th grade citizen science, place-based education water quality program

  • Teachers and students test the water chemistry of their local streams and work to apply their results through community action projects

  • Participants are paired with expert mentors who fully support tailored classroom integration and connect the program to environmental careers

  • Students attend and present their findings at the annual Student Summit in May each year

  • Supports Michigan Science Standards/NGSS

  • Fall or spring stream testing options with opportunities to connect to other FRWC programs such as benthic macroinvertebrate sampling, paddling trips, Stewardship Day, and storm drain stenciling service learning

Testing Montrose 2

 

Building and empowering students as stewards of our water resources through scientific investigations and community engagement”

 

The Flint River Watershed Coalition, with our Flint River GREEN partners coordinates an applied curriculum for middle and high school students leaving a positive impact on the environment, now and into the future. We currently have several classrooms in a number of Genesee, Lapeer, and Saginaw County school districts involved in Flint River GREEN.

Student Summit

At the Summit, students from across the watershed meet, present their results to one another, and attend various breakout sessions led by environmental professionals from a wide variety of fields. The summit provides our students with their first professional conference experience, hones their presentation skills, and allows sharing of information from school to school.

Expert Mentors

Teachers participating in the program are provided a classroom mentor, professional development opportunities, and testing materials. In addition, participating schools in Genesee County satisfy a portion of their requirements under their Phase II stormwater regulation requirements.

Citizen Science

The monitoring results gathered by students compliment the on-going benthic monitoring conducted by the Watershed Coalition. It also provides data for use by the Genesee County Drain Commissioner in fulfilling its responsibilities relative to storm water runoff concerns and abatement.

Partners

The program is partly funded by the Genesee County Drain Office and General Motors, both of whom provide classroom mentors and summit presenters. The Genesee and Lapeer Intermediate School Districts coordinate classroom involvement. Earthforce is the national organization that supports the training and other aspects of the program. For additional information, visit the official Flint River GREEN website or contact the Flint River Watershed Coalition at (810) 767-9491.

Resources

 

To view the yearly reports, click here: Annual Reports

LEssons Learned Slide STudent PResis

GREEN NGSS

 

Thank you to our Flint River GREEN Sponsors!
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 Consumers-e

About Water Trails

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What is a water trail? 

According to the National Water Trails System, “water trails are recreational routes on waterways with a network of public access points supported by broad-based community partnerships. Water trails provide both conservation and recreational opportunities”.

The Michigan Water Trail Working Group via MichiganWaterTrails.org classifies a water trail as, “a designated route along a lake, river, canal or bay specifically designed for people using small boats like kayaks, canoes, single sailboats or rowboats. The trails, sometimes called “blueways,” are the aquatic equivalent of a hiking trail (or “greenway”). Water trails feature well-developed access and launch points; are near significant historical, environmental or cultural points of interest; and often include nearby amenities such as restaurants, hotels and campgrounds”.

About the Flint River Water Trail

The Flint River Water Trail (FRWT) Planning Project, with the assistance of the River, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program of the National Parks Service, has brought together project partners, the Flint River Watershed Coalition, Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission, and Genesee County Parks & Recreation Commission, land managing communities, and stakeholders to create a common vision that will increase awareness of the Flint River and opportunities for education, recreation, and conservation along the water trail. Over the past year and a half we have taken inventory of all access sites, identified potential areas for enhancements, engaged with the public and Flint River landowners, created a FRWT Management & Development Guide and interactive trip planning map, and applied for National Water Trail Designation through the National Water Trails System.

There are 24 access sites along the 73 mile Flint River Water Trail. The water trail provide paddlers with a variety of paddling opportunities and experiences. You can paddle in natural environments, and through small towns or an urban area from the City of Lapeer to Montrose Township (includes portages around dams)! We offer a number of opportunities of varying distance and time to get out on YOUR river. Join us for tour!

To view a copy of a printable Flint River Access Site Map, click HERE!

Flint River Water Trail Mission Statement and Goals

Mission Statement: The Flint River Water Trail will provide a variety of recreational experiences
by connecting river users to natural, cultural, and historic features along a safe and accessible
river trail. The water trail will promote recreation, education, and economic revitalization, and
increase stewardship of the Flint River and surrounding lands.

Goals for the Flint River Water Trail:

  • Promote and improve river access sites and user experiences
  • Inform and educate the public on topics related to river health and safety
  • Support local and regional efforts to increase water based recreation and tourism
  • Enhance partnerships among water trail landowners
  • Preserve and protect river resources for future generations
  • Increase connections between communities, public lands, and land trails
  • Secure long-term sustainability for the water trail
  • Showcase positive features of the Flint River

 

Some may ask, “Why National Designation?” and we say, “WHY NOT!”

Benefits of designation into the National Water Trails System include:

  • designation by the Secretary of the Interior, including a letter and certificate announcing the designation as a national water trail
  • national promotion and visibility, including use by the management entity of use the National Water Trails System logo in appropriate settings and trail publications
  • mutual support and knowledge sharing as part of a national network
  • opportunities to obtain technical assistance and funding for planning and implementing water trail projects

Other benefits that come along with national designation may include:

  • positive economic impact from increased tourism
  • assistance with stewardship and sustainability projects
  • increased protection for outdoor recreation and water resources
  • contribution to public health and quality of life from maintaining and restoring watershed resources
  • access to networking and training opportunities
  • assistance with recognition and special events highlighting the trail

For more information on National Water Trails please visit the National Water Trails System website. The National Water Trails System is an interagency collaborative effort administered by the National Park Service through the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program and the National Trails System.

Materials on planning for a water trail and other helpful resources can be found on the FRWC, Water Trail Resources page.

FRWC LogoGCMPC logo

Planning for a Water Trail

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                                                                        Photo Credit: Genesee County Parks & Recreation

 

For project specific information and benefits of a National Water Trail designation

visit the Flint River Water Trail  main page.

 

10 steps for planning a WT

View the National Park Service – Rivers, Trails, Conservation Assistance Program:

Water Trails Planning 101 Handout

National Water Trail Criteria:

As a subset of the national recreation trail designation, trails in the National Water Trails System must meet the four criteria for National Recreation Trail designation as follows:

  1. The trail (and its access points) must be open to public use and be designed, constructed, and maintained according to best management practices, in keeping with the anticipated use. Water trail access points that demonstrate state-of-the-art design and management are especially encouraged to apply for national water trail designation.
  2. The trail is in compliance with applicable land use plans and environmental laws.
  3. The trail will be open for public use for at least 10 consecutive years after designation.
  4. The trail designation must be supported by the landowner(s), (public or private), on which access points exist.

Best Management Practices developed by the National Water Trail System:

  • Recreation – The water trail route has established public access points that accommodate a diversity of trip lengths and provide access to a variety of opportunities for recreation and education. 
  • Community Support – Local communities provide support and advocacy for maintenance and stewardship of the water trail.
  • Education – The water trail users are provided with opportunities to learn about the value of water resources, cultural heritage, boating skills, and outdoor ethics.
  • Trail Maintenance – There is a demonstrated ability to support routine and long-term maintenance investments on the water trail. Facilities are designed, constructed, and maintained by incorporating sustainability principles.  
  • Public Information – The public is provided with accessible and understandable water trail information, including details for identifying access and trail routes; cultural, historic, and natural features; hazards; and water quality. The water trail is promoted to the community and broad national audience.
  • Planning – Maintain a water trail plan that describes a vision, desired future conditions, and strategies to strengthen best management practices.
  • Conservation The water trail provides opportunities for communities to develop and implement strategies that enhance and restore the health of local waterways and surrounding lands.

Resources:

American Canoe Association: Registry of water trails in all 50 states; National Paddlesports Instruction Programs.  www.americancanoe.org
American Trails: Resources and library for water and boating trails; National Recreation Trails database with water trail profiles. www.americantrail.org
Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: Widely adopted Leave No Trace Principles (also see the river corridors version)  www.lnt.org
National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance: Success stories and trail resources; Planning Assistance.  http://www.nps.gov/ncrc/portals/rivers/projpg/watertrails.htm

How can a Water Trail meet the obligation to provide “meaningful access” to persons with disabilities? View the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail, Water Trail Accessibility Plan.

Prepare to Launch! Guidelines for Assessing, Designing, & Building Access Sites for Carry-In Watercraft: Prepare to Launch! is a joint project of the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program and the River Management Society, and is an update to Logical Lasting Launches

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Economic Impacts of Water Trails Generic Paddling Sign Flint River

An Economic Argument for Watertrails – River Management Society – 2015

Huron River Water Trail, Economic Impact Analysis – Washtenaw County – 2013

North Carolina’s 2008 Paddle Tourism Study

Oregon Park and Recreation’s 2005-2014 State Trails Plan

2012 Pennsylvania Recreational Water Trails Economic Impact Study

 

 

 

Water trail partnerships and collaborative efforts

Willamette River Water Trail, http://willamettewatertrail.org/water-trail-partnership

Huron River Water Trail, http://huronriverwatertrail.org/how-you-can-help,

Cass River Greenway, http://www.cassriver.org/partners.html

Tillamook County Water Trail’s guidebooks, www.tbnep.org

Blueways of St. Clair, Island Loop Route

M-15 to Irish_JUNE2016

 

Michigan Water Trails Information

Michigan Water Trails Website – Explore the variety of trails our state has to offer. Don’t forget to visit their section on the Flint River Water Trail!

 

 

The information on this page was developed by the National Parks Service – Rivers, Trails, Conservation Assistance Program or the National Water Trail System. Click HERE to view their site.

 

 

 

 

 

Jack Minore: May is National Bike Month!

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Jack Minore at the 2014 Tour deCrim

frt_logoMay has been designated as National Bike Month and if you’ve been curious about getting on a bicycle for the first time or the first time in a long time, I would like to share the experience of riding our Flint River Trail on one of our Sunday rides.  Most of us can remember the joy of bicycling as a kid – a great pastime and sport.  But the resurgence of cycling among adults in recent years has been nothing short of phenomenal.  In the 18 years that we have been riding with Friends of the Flint River Trail, the increase in the numbers of people out riding is remarkable.  It started out as a few friends peddling together and has grown to dozens and dozens.  The Friends of the Flint River Trail had our first ride of the season on May 3rd and what a turnout! More than 70 cyclists strong, including Flint Mayor Dayne Walling.

Flint River Trail Wayfinding Signage

Flint River Trail Wayfinding Signage

Did you know that Michigan has more miles of trails than any other state in the Union?  Over 12,000 miles of trails await family and friends, group rides, cycling tours and races.  Personal enjoyment and competitive sports are only two values of cycling.  People are increasingly using bicycles for transportation, increasing the demand and use of bike lanes.  A study by the League of American Bicyclists conducted between 2005 and 2013 found that Michigan has experienced a 66% increase in the number of people commuting by bicycle.  Moreover, a huge percentage of our errands two miles or less – and what could be more pleasant than a bike ride, not to mention quicker, cheaper, and healthier?

FFRT logoIn addition to recreation and transportation, the health benefits of bicycling (and of trails, generally) has been studied extensively. You can read more about the benefits of bicycling in this brochure by our friends at the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy: Health and Wellness Benefits.  Numerous studies show that communities with trails have lower levels of obesity and diabetes.  That, of course, is especially true of communities where the weather makes year around use of the trails and of cycling is common.

Helmets

Helmets are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED!

Finally, the economic impact of trails and greenways are sometimes readily apparent as in the case of trailside businesses. but they are sometimes a bit more subtle.  There are companies that decide to move to a particular community because of amenities like trails, greenways and public access to waterbodies. Studies indicate that property values on and adjacent to trails increases quite dramatically.  Businesses along trails also experience growth related to the presence of trails. There is no question that communities across Michigan are enjoying an economic revitalization due in part to public access to trails and greenways. Check out “Investing in Trails: Cost-Effective Improvements for Everyone,” another Rails-to-Trails brochure that illuminates the growing evidence of the positive economic impacts of trails.

Jack and Bruce

Jack and Bruce: Ready to Ride!

I would also like to share a few observations about our own group: the Friends of the Flint River Trail.   Over the past few years, we have averaged about 35-40 riders every Sunday during the summer and those riders come from – on average – about the same number (35+) different zip codes over the year.  We have family oriented pleasant recreational rides of about 10-12 miles every Sunday – May through October – starting from the OLD Farmers’ Market at 2:00 PM.  Helmets are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED!   There is no fees or membership requirements:  just come along and enjoy the ride.

The last ride of National Bike Month is Sunday, May 31st.  Won’t you join us?

Stewardship Day Sponsorship Packages

SponsorsWanted

We need your GREEN to keep it CLEAN! 

It is time for the Annual Stewardship Day and we need your help again this year.  As always, ALL financial and in-kind donations collected for the cleanup go DIRECTLY toward the costs associated with the clean up, including equipment, garbage disposal, as well as reusable water bottles, food, and beverages for our volunteers.  

Please review the Sponsorship Packages and get in touch with your commitment to keep our Flint River clean and healthy for another great season of fun. 

To Sponsor the Cleanup: Contact us  at info@flintriver.org or at 810-767-6490.

Continue reading Stewardship Day Sponsorship Packages

What is a Watershed?

Good Question!  Let us show you…

A watershed is an area of land which drains into a particular body of water. Just as when you pour water in a bathtub, it all ends up in the drain, when it rains on the surface, that water flows to a particular body of water. That water can flow both above the ground through lakes, streams, and wetlands, or below the ground through groundwater and springs.

WATERSHED

What does this mean for you?

As part of the Flint River Watershed, anything you do can flow downstream and potentially harm your neighbors. We are all connected by the water that flows past us over our yards and streets and into the storm drains and roadside ditches. What you do at your home, in your car, your place of school or work, and at the places you play all can have an important effect on the Flint River.

Dive Deeper into our Flint River Watershed

Flint River Watershed: The Heart of Michigan

The Flint River Watershed is more than 1,358 square miles and encompasses portions of 7 counties, 20 cities & villages, and 58 townships. The Watershed drains this large land area through the Flint River and all the tributaries of the Flint. It includes most of Genesee and Lapeer Counties, and parts of Shiawassee, Oakland, Tuscola, Sanilac and Saginaw Counties. The Native American name for this river was Pewonigowink, meaning “river of fire stone”. The Flint River is 78.3-mile-long and is formed in Lapeer County near Columbiaville where the river’s South Branch and North Branch come together. The river is supplemented by four major creeks, the Kearsley (draining the south and central portions of the east side of Genesee County), Thread (draining the south central part of the county), Swartz (draining the Swartz Creek area), and Misteguay (draining the area near the northern section of the border of Genesee and Shiawassee counties). The river empties into the Shiawassee River in the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge near the city of Saginaw. Within the refuge, the Cass and Tittabawassee rivers combine with the Shiawassee to form the Saginaw River. The Saginaw empties into the Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron. The Flint River Watershed is a sub-watershed of the Saginaw Bay Watershed.

Wherever you live, work, play or go to school….YOU are in a watershed.

 Map of School Districts in the Flint River Watershed

School Districts

 

 

Map of the Flint River Watershed

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Map of Subwatersheds of the Flint River Watershed

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FRWC Press Releases

2015.07.LOVE YOUR LAKES Celebration Press Advisory

2015.06.29.Join FFRT on Chippewa Trail Ride on July 11

2015.05.20 RIDE OF SILENCE

2015.05.11.Flint River GREEN Summit this Friday

2015.04.22 Every Day Earth Day

2015.02.17.Fedewa to Serve on City of Flint Water Advisory Committee

2015.02.02.Rover Gas Pipeline Changes Course: Route no longer includes Flint River Watershed

2015 01 20 FRWC Statement on City of Flint Drinking Water

2015.01.26.Annual Celebration This Wednesday

2014.12.10.Press Release FRWC Opposes Rover at FERC Scoping Meeting

Official Comments of Rebecca S. Fedewa, Executive Director of the Flint River Watershed Coalition at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Environmental Impact Statement Scoping Meeting (December 10, 2014)

2014.09.09.Fall Monitoirng Training Dates Announced

2014.09.13.Fall Water Quality Monitoring Training

2014.08.20. WIN Grant – Hamilton Dam

2014.07.10.Love Your Lake THREAD LAKE Picnic press release

2014.07.10.Love Your Lake Picnics press release

2014.07.07. August 1st Deadline to Apply for EQIP Financial Assistance

FRWC Media Kit

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Official FRWC LOGO

Partnering to Protect, Preserve, and Improve Our Flint River Watershed…

The Flint River Watershed Coalition is an organization representing individuals, businesses, community organizations, and local units of government sharing a vision of a healthier Flint River Watershed. We envision a day when the future of our drinking water is secure and the integrity of the Flint River is protected. We believe that all people should have access to the river for recreation, swimming, and fishing as well as the economic value it provides to our communities.

Continue reading FRWC Media Kit

Corridor Alliance

Flint River Corridor Alliance Becomes Chapter of Flint River Watershed Coalition

 

The Flint River Watershed Coalition is pleased to announce a merger with the Flint River Corridor Alliance. “The opportunities this merger brings are well-timed,” said Kathleen Gazall, FRCA Board President, “These two organizations have worked closely together since the founding of the Corridor Alliance in 2007. As a combined entity, we will be better stewards of our organizational resources and expand our capacity to revitalize the river at a time when our joint work on initiating the Riverfront Restoration in Downtown Flint is coming to fruition.”

“We are excited that the Corridor Alliance is now an official chapter of the Flint River Watershed Coalition,” said Rebecca Fedewa, Executive Director of the Flint River Watershed Coalition. “This decision is well-aligned with our mission to serve the entire Flint River Watershed. The merger gives us more capacity to work on community reinvestment in the Flint River Corridor without redirecting any resources away from the other communities in our watershed.”

Under the merger, effective January 1st, 2018, the Corridor Alliance became an official chapter of the Flint River Watershed Coalition. The Corridor Alliance Chapter will continue to work along the river corridor in the city of Flint with annual events such as Cycling Circles and the Flint River Flotilla, as well as with partnerships on projects like installing a Paddlers’ Landing at Mott Park Recreation Area. The Flint River Watershed Coalition continues to maintain its broader focus on all seven counties that make up the Flint River Watershed through projects such as water quality monitoring, the GREEN environmental education program, the Flint River Paddling Program, and annual Stewardship Day activities.

 

Visit our website.

 

 


 

 

2019 Flint River Flotilla

The Flint River Flotilla is back! Mark your calendars for August 3rd.

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Hamilton Dam

The Hamilton Dam and Riverfront Restoration Project includes the collection, analysis, and use of a variety of data and information to develop appropriate design and restoration solutions. Many of these documents, plans and data  related to the replacement of the Hamilton Dam can be found on Wade Trim’s Hamilton Dam program page. You can also find out current project information at the Flint Riverfront Restoration page.

Actual removal of the Hamilton Dam structure began the morning of March 27th, 2018. The work is expected to be complete by May 2018.