Blue Water Healthy Living

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Ask Amy!

Written by our Friends at Friends of the St. Clair

Let’s Ask Amy!

We have so many questions, and our Environmental Educator, Amy Meeker-Taylor, has the answers! Even when we stump her, it’s not for long since Amy also has excellent research connections and interpretive skills, too. When we noticed a muskrat swimming around in the ponds at Wetlands County Park, we wondered what other aquatic mammals live here, and we knew just the right person to ask.¬†Got a question about water or wildlife?¬†¬†Let’s Ask Amy! You can ask Amy your questions by hitting “reply” or by reaching out to her directly at¬†education@scriver.org¬†or 810.488.3975.

Muskrat and Mink and Beaver, Oh My!
Question: What kinds of aquatic mammals do we have in the Blue Water Area?
Part I: Minks

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While the mink, muskrat and beaver share the aquatic ecosystems in the Blue Water area, they have very little in common. Historically, mink, muskrat and beaver were common inhabitants of Great Lakes shoreline habitats and played an important part in the fur trade. However, as these areas became industrialized, habitat was lost. Restoration projects like those along the St. Clair River shoreline have contributed to the return of these semi-aquatic mammals.

Mink have been reported for several years along the rocky shore of the St. Clair River. In fact, many areas throughout the Great Lakes report a healthy population of mink in their waterfront parks and harbors. These aggressive hunters are members of the mustelid, or weasel, family and eat smaller mammals, birds and bird eggs, and fish. They’ve even been known to steal bait right out of the buckets of fishermen! Mink are excellent swimmers and can dive up to 15 feet. They use their partially webbed feet and sleek bodies to propel themselves through the water.

Next week —¬†Part II: Muskrats

Stewardship Spotlight
Show the water some love with Friends! 

Our volunteer stewardship field sessions combine hands-on work such as picking up trash or gardening-like activities and citizen science to help manage local habitats and storm water projects for people, plants and wildlife. Sign up for our e-newsletter at scriver.org or contact Kirsten Lyons, Stewardship Director, at stewardship@scriver.org or 810.294.4965 to learn more.

6-25-18 66F/19C, partly cloudy, gentle breeze (8mph/13kph)
Thanks tidying up the River Walk last week! Laura Baranowski, Linda Hardy, Michael Coughlin, Nanette Meier, Mike Edmondson, David Hastings, our new friend Hannah, Tom Dennis, Diana Kitchen, Cathy Rice, Laurie Dennis, Karen Uhlman, Janet Hazzard and her best friend Cinder all pitched in!

Monday River Walkers & Trash Talkers
& Citizen Scientists!
Mondays @ 10 a.m.
Blue Water River Walk & Wetlands County Park, Port Huron

Our Monday River Walkers & Trash Talkers group has been meeting to pick up trash and get some fresh air and exercise for over two and a half years now. This group also monitors Tree Swallow nest boxes, cleans out catch basins, and supports local restaurants with coffee and conservation conversation after our walk and work.

Join us any Monday at 10 a.m. Bring gloves and bring a friend!

Thanks to Kirsten Lyons, Debi Singer, Christine Danner and Mike Ward for weeding out bioswales at SC4 last week!

Save the Swales Stewardship Group
Mondays @ 2 Р4 p.m. (July 2 is the last Monday work session)
Tuesdays @ 8 Р9:30 a.m. (for those who prefer cool morning work sessions)
Fridays @ 10 a.m. Р12 p.m. (July 6 is the first Friday work session)

St. Clair County Community College (SC4), Port Huron

We host a weekly volunteer and staff work and learn session in the campus bioswales and rain gardens at St. Clair County Community College (SC4). We also include some citizen science or other learning opportunities into our stewardship. Bring friends, your favorite weeding tools and your natural curiosity.

THIS WEEK: This week we have three work sessions at the SC4 rain gardens and bioswales. Choose one, two or all three.

Thanks to Scott Netter, Mark Harrison,  Janet Fox, Sharlene Aalto, Karen Uhlman, Jeanne Mackay and Roy Churchill for all your help last week! We loved having you work with the pet therapy reading program and YMCA day camp kids!

Tuesday Field Days
Tuesdays @ 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Watch this newsletter for locations & tasks
Blue Water River Walk, Wetlands County Park & Vantage Point Butterfly Garden in Port Huron

Get hands-on with the habitat every Tuesday during the growing season along the St. Clair River in Port Huron. Each week, we tackle a weed-of-the-week or other stewardship task for about an hour, and also spend about an hour exploring and learning.

UPDATE FOR¬†7-3-18:¬†Meet at the arch at the north entrance to the Blue Water River Walk. This week we’ll start off with a tour of the River Walk with a larger-than-usual group of Junior Recreators. We’ll end up in the Wetlands County Park, where we’ll pull a few more Cottonwood seedlings.

Columbus County Park Field Days
Thursdays @ 2 Р4 p.m.
Columbus County Park, 1670 Bauman, Columbus
Meet in front of the Lodge at the end of the main entrance driveway

We start our field sessions at Columbus County Park with a wildflower walk, since many species are in bloom each week in this vast and varied park. Join us on Thursday afternoons to explore the flora and fauna and to scout, map and control invasive species. We suggest bringing bug spray and wearing closed-toe shoes and long pants and sleeves.

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