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"Leading Change: A Message from Our New President"

Greetings fellow chapter members.

 For those who do not know me, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Larry Brown, I am your new chapter president. I am a retired special education teacher. In retirement, I do a variety of volunteer work. The organizations where I volunteer include the Ecumenical Food Pantry, the Wheatland Music Organization, the Michigan Nature Association, and of course Trout Unlimited.

I do not profess to be an expert trout fisherman. I seldom fish with flies and struggle at tying flies, unless they are very large flies. Yet, I grew up in a fishing family and started fishing at around 2-3 years of age.  I graduated from bait-fishing to spin casting and trolling, to stream fishing for trout. Today, most of my fishing time is spent in the pursuit of stream trout, preferably  large specimens. Just don’t ask where I fish, I will either refuse to tell you where or send you to the wrong place. After being sworn to secrecy, I may agree to take you with me. Sorry, those are the rules.

I have always enjoyed fishing, especially trout fishing. Viewing the rippling waters coursing over a stream bottom   mosaic of colorful stones, accented by drowned timber,  framed by lush green foliage is quite pleasant.  Sighting wildlife along the river’s edge, hearing birdsong or drumming hoofbeats in the deep woods. Being startled by a fresh bear track in the wet sand. Watching a very large trout at his feeding station in the shade of a log-jam: these things I treasure. Nature promotes relaxation, renews personal strength, and promotes clarity of purpose. These are a few of the reasons why I fish.  You certainly have many reasons of your own or you may share some of mine. 

All of us value our cold water fisheries as an integral  part of a healthy environment. Presently that environment is fraught with damage, threats, and opportunities for improvement. We cannot undo our past record of environmental abuse, but we can work at habitat improvement. We cannot bring back extirpated fish species, but we can promote diversity among remaining native species. We may not be able to stop global warming, but we can plant native trees. Small actions can have big long term impacts. Some examples are given below.

Devoe Lake has a cold water discharge pipe. Cedar trees are being restored along the Au Sable. Gamble Creek has additional fish structures. The Rifle River has received additions of woody debris. All those improvements were accomplished because of our chapter members and those members who have come before us. Yet, more work needs to be done.

Huron Pines recently received a 1.7 million dollar grant to help remove the Sanbeck Dam. Our chapter will be a pivotal partner in this project. Why not pursue an even larger grant for removal of the dam at Mio? There is an abundance of scientific data, from MI.DNR among others, to support removal of the Mio dam. The economic cost of keeping  the dam in place is staggering. Neither the Mio Pond residents nor the citizens of Crawford County, or the taxpayers of Michigan should accept this cost. Our people will play an important role in settling this issue. If nobody purchases the Mio Dam, Consumers Energy has the option of tearing the dam out. They will weigh all their options, and our voices will be heard. Removal of this and other dams could have very positive long term ecological benefits.

There are also  other activities that have a positive impact on coldwater fisheries. Summer Trout Camp, fly tying classes, Women in Waders, are all educational opportunities to promote our message. I am honored to lead this chapter forward and continue to build on a rich legacy of our past achievements. To accomplish this goal, I must rely on your support. Let’s work together.    


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