2010 Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
Youth Conservation Corps

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) and the Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) have teamed up for the second year in a row to offer a Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program for tribal youth. The KBIC YCC allows local youth to gain hands-on experience with environmental conservation and restoration work while earning a paycheck. The two five-person crews work daily on projects around the KBIC reservation in L’Anse and Baraga throughout the summer. Crew members also have an opportunity to work alongside employees of the KBIC Natural Resources Department (NRD). The crews are supervised by SWP employees Emily Pomeroy and Connor Dennis.

So what are they up to?

  • Clipping fish fins at the KBIC hatchery
  • Fish monitoring
  • Trail construction
  • Beach clean-ups
  • Building turtle platforms
  • Sea lamprey assessments
  • Working in the new KBIC greenhouse
  • Fishing Derby prep

The SWP teamed up with Eagle Scout, Reed Payant to make much needed improvements to the access to Morgan Creek Falls across from the Marquette Mountain Ski Hill.  The falls rage pretty much year-round and the site has become a popular waterfall watching spot for residents and tourists to the Marquette area.  However, getting to the falls can be a challenge.  Until now.

The SWP provided technical and financial assistance to Reed.  Other project partners included the City of Marquette, Fred Waara Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and the Marquette County Conservation District.

Sedimentation is the number one issue facing UP streams and rivers.  This type of pollution can result from a variety of sources including road building, logging, poorly planned development, and human foot traffic.  The latter was the case for Morgan Creek Falls.  Not only was this access point to the falls unsafe for hikers, it was also detrimental to the aquatic habitat of Morgan Creek.  Sedimentation to rivers disrupts important fish habitat by covering the rocky/gravely substrate used by fish for spawning and cover from predators.

Reed Payant approached the City of Marquette about doing a Eagle Scout project to protect Morgan Creek.  Morgan Creek flows into the Carp River and into Lake Superior near the City of Marquette Waste Water Treatment Plant.  The SWP assisted Reed in building the stairway to the falls and planting native plants/grasses along the edge of the stairs.

This project also falls in line with the recommendations of the Heartwood Forestland Ad Hoc Committee report, stating the area across from the Ski Hill should be improved for public access to Morgan Creek.