The Kalamazoo River and the Watershed Council were recently featured in an article in River Voices, a publication of the River Network. Our article, “Cleanups: Beyond Trash” was part of a special series highlighting 25 lessons learned by 25 different watershed organizations working to protect and restore rivers and their watersheds. The article, written by Dr. Stephen Hamilton, describes several challenges and accomplishments in our watershed, including the 2010 oil spill and subsequent cleanup and PCB contaminated sediments throughout the Superfund Site. While this legacy of pollution is certainly part of our watershed’s history, it does not have to define our future. Many organizations, agencies, and local communities are working to change this legacy, and we are seeing and measuring improvements in the health of the Kalamazoo River ecosystem.
The lesson learned from our watershed has been that persistence and patience are essential to remain engaged in our work of restoring, improving, and protecting the Kalamazoo River watershed. The Watershed Council will continue to be involved in these river cleanup actions for as long as it takes, while always seeking to improve the public image of the river and get more people to appreciate the wonderful resource that it is.