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Natural Resources Network



The guiding principle and mission of the Natural Resources Network is to protect and enhance the water resources, forest, natural areas and scenic beauty
that preserve our quality of life and sustain our regional economy.

The Network focuses on actions under the following areas:

  • Supporting and Sustaining a Prosperous Regional Economy
  • Water Quality
  • Water Quantity
  • Habitat
  • Forestland
  • Coastal Lands
  • Access to Nature
  • Air Quality
  • Climate Change
  • Scenic Beauty
  • Waste Reduction, Reuse, Recycling, Buy Recycled Products
  • Education and Stewardship
Work being done by the Village of Suttons Bay to improve the village's connection to the bay while also protecting water quality was featured in a video shown at The Grand Vision Your Action event in Traverse City. The video was produced for The Grand Vision Natural Resources Network and narrated by Madeline Kachadurian, a student at Traverse City Central High School.  
Student Video:
The Boardman River Dams Removal Project was featured in a student video shown at The Grand Vision Your Action event in Traverse City. The video was produced for The Grand Vision Natural Resource Network by Miles Chisholm from the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Miles is a student at NMC.


Get Your Green Thumb Working

It’s time for your Conservation District’s annual seedling sale. This year’s catalogs contain a diverse assortment of trees at prices that can’t be beat. Each seedling is specifically chosen to flourish in our Northern Michigan soils and will provide a lifetime of enjoyment. Support your local Conservation District, increase the value of your property, and provide habitat for wildlife – order your trees today!

Antrim Conservation District:
Ordering now-April 1 (late orders taken)
Pick-up April 20 (8am-5pm), April 21 (8am-1pm), walk-ins welcome!latest-news

Benzie Conservation District:
Ordering now-April 6
Pick-up April 20 (9am-4pm), April 21 (10am-2pm) Walk-ins welcome

Grand Traverse Conservation District:
Ordering now-April 6
Pick-up April 21 (8am-3pm), April 22 (11am-2pm) walk-ins welcome

Kalkaska Conservation District:
Ordering now – April 2
Pick-up April 14 (8:30am-Noon)

Leelanau Conservation District:
Pick-up April 20 (8am-6pm)

Wexford Conservation District:
Ordering now – April 6
Pickup April 20 (10am-5pm), April 21 (9am-Noon)

The Boardman Prosperity Plan: A New Kind of Watershed Plan

Work is underway on a new watershed plan for the Boardman River.  The Boardman River Watershed Prosperity Plan represents a groundbreaking public engagement effort that recognizes the link between our region’s abundant natural resources, our quality of life, and our economy. 

The Boardman River watershed is a vital sub-watershed of Grand Traverse Bay’s 1,000 square mile watershed.  The Boardman River supplies 30% of the surface flow to Grand Traverse Bay.  Thirty-six of the Boardman’s 179 miles are designated as a blue ribbon trout stream, and it is a designated state Natural River.

The Boardman River watershed encompasses 291 square miles, originates in Kalkaska County and follows the Boardman River through Grand Traverse County, ending at West Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City.  The river flows through a diverse landscape, including the most rural, forested parts of our region and the most urban part of our region, presenting both opportunities and challenges for its long-term health.  The watershed’s political landscape is as diverse as its natural landscape, as it includes 17 townships and two municipalities in two counties. 

  The Prosperity Plan will be a new sub-watershed plan under the US EPA-approved Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Plan developed by the Watershed Center in 2005.  However, unlike standard watershed plans, it will integrate economic and cultural aspects, establishing a community blueprint for the watershed.  Also unlike other watershed plans, the Prosperity Plan will include an extensive civic engagement component through a series of stakeholder meetings and community conversations to incorporate the region’s values into the plan.  The plan will serve as a model for watershed-based prosperity plans throughout our region, Michigan and the U.S. 

A diverse leadership team has been formed to guide the plan’s development.  The team includes representation from business, conservation and community organizations, and local government.  Current members include: 

  • Watershed Center – Grand Traverse Bay
  • Grand Traverse Conservation District
  • Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Traverse City Downtown Development Authority
  • Rotary Camps and Services
  • Kalkaska Downtown Development Authority
  • Traverse Area Association of Realtors
  • Charter Township of Garfield
  • Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy
  • Conservation Resource Alliance

The plan will capitalize on the success of the Grand Vision.  It will be the focus for unifying Grand Vision issues, needs, priorities, strategies and actions for the watershed area.  The plan will also continue the public’s engagement in Boardman River issues that began with the Boardman River Dams Committee.  That community-driven process involved over 1,000 people in more than 180 meetings and led to a unified decision by the City of Traverse City and Grand Traverse County to remove three dams and modify a fourth.

Public meetings for the Prosperity Plan will be held in spring 2012 and will be posted to the Grand Vision calendar.  For more information about the Boardman River Watershed Prosperity Plan, contact Andy Knott at the Watershed Center – Grand Traverse Bay at 231.935.1514 or at

Grand Traverse Invasive Species Update

Arcadia Dunes, Brown Bridge Quiet Area, Chippewa Run Natural Area -- Michigan abounds with prized natural areas that foster an enormous diversity of birds, butterflies, and other wildlife.  Our future capacity to enjoy these areas for hunting, hiking, fishing, mushroom collecting, and bird watching all depend on our stewardship efforts today.  Invasive plants out-compete the native plants that comprise our region’s natural heritage, and, like all non-native plants, invasive plants do not support the insect life that most other creatures, especially songbirds, need in order to survive.  Preventing and controlling invasive species threats while populations are small and control efforts are affordable will mean lasting benefits for the region’s environmental and economic health.  Coordinated by the Grand Traverse Conservation District, the Grand Traverse Regional Invasive Species Network (ISN) includes well-respected community organizations across Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Grand Traverse, and Leelanau counties.  ISN partners work together to prioritize and remove invasive species populations, prevent the introduction and spread of new invasives, and educate the community about stewardship of our region’s natural resources.

Invasive species management is a community problem, requiring community participation. ISN’s success depends on your efforts and your participation.   Each of us has a responsibility to steward our own backyards, to ensure we do not foster invasive species which create problems for our neighbors, both human and otherwise. Many invasive plants arrive when planted as ornamentals in home landscapes; ask your local nursery to partner with ISN to receive assistance in guiding customers towards environmentally beneficial plants and landscaping practices.  ISN encourages everyone to learn the region’s Top 20 invasive plant threats so you can participate in ISN’s citizen action early detection efforts.  Visit to learn about invasive plants in Michigan and to report sightings.

To learn more about ISN and the region’s Top 20 invasive plant threats or to get involved, visit

Antrim County
Antrim Conservation District
Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy
Martha Wagbo Farm and Education Center

Benzie County
Benzie Conservation District
Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy
Northwest Michigan Cooperative Weed Management Area

Charlevoix County
Charlevoix Conservation District
Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, Environmental Services

Grand Traverse County
City of Traverse City
Conservation Resource Alliance
Garfield Township
Grand Traverse Audubon Club
Grand Traverse County
Grand Traverse Conservation District
Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy
Rotary Camps and Services
TART Trails
Traverse City Hiking Club
The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay

Leelanau County
Inland Seas Education Association
Leelanau Conservancy
Leelanau Conservation District
Northwest Michigan Cooperative Weed Management Area

State Partners
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Michigan Natural Features Inventory

National Partners
National Parks Service


Grand Vision – Your Action!

Members of the Grand Vision’s Natural Resources Network are hard at work implementing projects that support the Grand Vision.  The guiding principle and mission of the Natural Resources Network is to protect and enhance the water resources, forest, natural areas and scenic beauty that preserve our quality of life and sustain our regional economy.

Following  is a link to a preliminary list of projects around our region that are forwarding that guiding principle.  This is a partial list and will continue to be updated.  Click here for the list.


Collaborations: The Key to Civic Engagement in Protecting Our Natural Resources

The Natural Resources Network is entering a new phase of refining existing collaborations while building new ones to help realize the Natural Resources guiding principle of the Grand Vision. This new phase builds on previous work by the network to develop a comprehensive Natural Resources Action Plan and to involve the community in a conversation about the connections between our region’s magnificent natural resources and our economy. That conversation took place on February 23 and attracted over 130 participants who heard local business leaders discuss and debate the relationship of natural resources to their businesses.

More than 20 regional conservation groups and businesses are members of the network. Many of these organizations are already doing great work either individually or collaboratively to implement meet the goals of the Grand Vision. In this new phase, the groups are refining these projects and determining where new collaborations can be established.

In addition to more efficiently accomplishing conservation goals embraced by our community under the Grand Vision, collaboration is critical to involving that very community in our efforts to meet those goals. No one organization can accomplish the important tasks ahead of us in this 50-year vision for regional prosperity. It will take individuals, local government, businesses and organizations working together to realize the Grand Vision.


To be a part of the Natural Resources Network check out the Google Group. For a list of dates and times for Natural Resources Network monthly meetings and future events, please see the Calendar.

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