Six Rivers Land Conservancy celebrates conservation wins, looks to future in SE Michigan

Six Rivers Land Conservancy is working to protect southeastern Michigan's natural land and resources -- and they want you to know about it.

That's a challenge, says Six Rivers Executive Director Chris Bunch, who characterizes the organization as a well-kept secret. But he's working to change that status. A trio of conservation wins at the end of 2016 are helping to increase the conservancy's profile, which is headquartered in Rochester but focuses on the whole region.

"The bottom line is that we know there are some fabulous natural resources here in southeastern Michigan. But people don't think about them enough. Most people think that nature starts 'Up North'," says Bunch. "There's great stuff down here worth protecting."

The conservancy, which makes it its mission to preserve land in its natural state for conservation and recreational purposes, ended the year with three big conservation wins for southeastern Michigan. In 2016, Six Rivers:
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  • purchased frontage on the Pine River and sold it to St. Clair County Parks, which then added it to increase the size of Goodells Park;
  • purchased frontage on the Belle River and sold it to St. Clair County Parks, which will then build a park with a kayak launch in Casco Township;
  • secured a conservation easement for a piece of land in Bloomfield Township, which will protect a pond and vernal pools from any future development.
The organization also celebrated received funds from Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan and a partnership in a $1.8 million Federal RCPP award to protect water quality.

Because of the nature of acquiring land, it's a lot of hard work that the public doesn't get to see until the work is already over, according to Bunch. He likens the business of securing land for conservation purposes to any other real estate deal; you don't announce a deal until a deal is done. But instead of development for profit's sake, it's procurement for protection.

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