The Blueways Stewardship committee of the NWIPA has been established to identify waterways in need of attention for log jam removal, trash cleanup, or other work to make them more accessible to paddlers and the public. The committee’s task is to organize the resources and volunteers needed to make this happen. Once opportunities for waterway improvement are identified, they will be prioritized by the committee as to the best ‘bang for the buck’. Although NWIPA has benefited from some generous sponsors, we will rely on volunteers willing to donate a little, or a lot of their free time to doing the actual work of cleaning up our streams and lakes, taking water samples for testing, and cutting out log jams. We know everyone can’t spend every weekend cleaning up rivers of course, because when would we have time to paddle?!? But even a few hours now and then to join in with a stewardship team will be a great help. What’s the reward? Clean and accessible streams, rivers, and lakes for all the region’s paddlers to use! We can play a part in making Northwest Indiana’s waterways a model of how clean and accessible a region’s rivers and lakes can be. If you’d like to know more about how you can help, contact the Blueways Stewardship Committee Chairperson Gina Darnell at firstname.lastname@example.org
Perhaps you can help by providing something from the Blueways Committee Wish List. We need hand and power tools, supplies, and safety equipment for the projects ahead. Download the complete list here: Wish List
Here we have downloadable waiver forms and guideline documents for volunteers.
Projects The East Branch of the Little Calumet River is receiving a great deal of attention from a number of organizations, and will be a main target of NWIPA cleanup activities this season. 16 miles of the East Branch from the Burns Waterway in Portage nearly all the way to the Heron Rookery near Pines are being looked at for log jam removal so it can be opened up for recreational use. NWIPA is working with the Shirley Heinz Land Trust, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, the Town of Porter, and others to secure funding for equipment and volunteers to complete this work. This scenic stretch of river passes through some of the most bio-diverse regions in this country. We hope to make this a showcase for recreational use of our waterways and an example of what dedicated volunteers can do to improve the region. NWIPA has applied to the Indiana DNR Adopt a River program to officially adopt about 2.75 miles of Trail Creek in Michigan City from the mouth at Lake Michigan to the Friendship Gardens. We’ve received strong support from the Mayor of Michigan City, the Steelheaders, and others. In exchange for several clean-ups a year we’ll receive recognition in the form of signs posted at prominent locations. Unfortunately, due to the slow economy the State suspended the Adopt a River program because it cannot afford to buy the signs. But Dan is looking into possibly of NWIPA paying for the signs ourselves. Official recognition will not stop NWIPA from doing cleanup work anyway on this very important waterway.