Black River Civilian Conservation Crew
The Black River Civilian Conservation Crew (BRCCC) is a small crew of men and women who are working together to combat the ever-determined forces of nature. We're talking about invasive plants - tough, hardy, back-breaking plants. Phragmites is our sworn enemy throughout Lorain County. We like to just call it Phrag for short, but boy, it sure isn't a short plant or in short numbers around here. It seems the county is infested with these invasive plant species. We have Phrag, purple loose-strife, and Japanese Knotweed going wild and killing out our beautiful natural species, and in some cases possibly changing the whole composition of the soil. These are fierce issues that need addressing.
Here's where we come into play full force, with heavy equipment to handle the job. We use a weed eater with tri-blades to cut the phrag at ground level and knock it down so another member can haul it off to be discarded in a roll-off container. We do this all season. Also, we dig out purple loose-strife and bag it so there's are no chance of spreading seed, then it is also discarded.
Once fall rolls around we are still at it, but now is when we pull out all the stops. It's spraying time! Every crew member is loading up backpack sprayers filled with an herbicide plus red tracer. The red tracer dye helps us easily eye out where another crew member has been so we work much more efficiently. We spray the phrag and other invasives with hopes of it never returning, but we often need a repeat treatment to guarantee our success. After a couple applications, the phrag gives in, and we move on to a new location, still doing what we can to help our watershed's natural environment.
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
America's Great Lakes - Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario - hold 21% of the world's surface freshwater, host habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife species of concern, and provide drinking water for more than 40 million people.
Sport fishing, commercial fishing and Native American fishing are among the major industries that provide jobs in the Great Lakes region and impact its fragile ecosystem. Meanwhile, urban runoff and sprawl, sewage disposal, agriculture and toxic industrial effluent affect aquatic food chains, fish populations and human health.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) supports the Obama Administration's call for voluntary action to protect and restore priority watersheds in the region. The National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is working with its conservation partners in the 8-state area to combat invasive species, protect watersheds and shorelines from non-point source pollution, and restore wetlands and other habitat areas.
As part of an interagency funding agreement initiated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the initiative encompasses a broad partnership of federal, state, local and nongovernmental organizations taking action in the Great Lakes Basin. NRCS is focusing conservation program funds in the following watersheds of extreme ecological sensitivity: Genesee River, Grand Calumet River and Harbor, Green Bay/Fox River, Maumee River, Saginaw River and St. Louis River.
Through financial assistance and technical assistance, NRCS is assisting private landowners with conservation planning and a variety of conservation practices, such as cover crops, conservation crop rotations, filter strips, prescribed grazing and wetlands restoration. NRCS Farm Bill conservation programs available to farmers and ranchers include Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP), Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) and the Emergency Watershed Protection Program - Floodplain Easements.
For more information, visit greatlakesrestoration.us.