By TIM RATH, Argus-Press Staff Writer
Posted with permission from author
CORUNNA — This week, Keith Johnson will put on his waders and do what he’s done every summer since 1969: help clean up an area he considers home.
The Friends of the Shiawassee River organization is scheduled to host its 21st annual river cleanup Saturday, but Johnson has been involved in volunteering to beautify the area much longer than the event has been around.
Click here to volunteer for the River Cleanup
For Johnson, who served as mayor of Corunna in the 1980s and has been a part of “just about every board in the city that you can imagine,” the effort is about friendship and community — giving back to an area that has given back to him.
“I feel like I owe this community something,” said Johnson, 73, a Corunna High School graduate. “This is home.”
Johnson’s interest in serving the community was actually sparked several thousand miles away, in Vietnam, where he served as a sergeant in the 1st Cavalry Division of the U.S. Army in the mid-1960s. At the time, he said, the general of his outfit had a pet project of rebuilding refugee villages there.
People who love the Shiawassee River have much to celebrate in July. The Friends of the Shiawassee River (Friends) is turning 20 years old and for an unprecedented ninth consecutive year, the Shiawassee County Health Department and the Friends have received grant funding from the Department of Environmental Quality and the Great Lakes Commission Volunteer River, Stream and Creek Cleanup program. The funds will support ongoing efforts to improve the health of the Shiawassee River and its surrounding natural resources through events such as the annual Shiawassee River Cleanup and tire collection. Everyone interested in pitching in on the River Cleanup is welcome to join the fun. All Cleanup volunteers will receive a free t-shirt and lunch. Register to volunteer at ShiawasseeRiver.org/calendar
2016 Annual Shiawassee River Cleanup
9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Volunteers meet at one of the following locations by 9:00 am. Click on the link to Register:
1. Corunna: McCurdy Park
2. Owosso: Oakwood Park at Oakwood Avenue Bridge (behind baseball fields)
NOTE: The Cleanup will be rescheduled for August 13th in the event of inclement weather.
Cleanup Volunteer Appreciation Lunch & Friends 20th Birthday Celebration
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
219 N Water Street, Owosso, MI 48867
(located on the grounds of Owosso Middle School)
All Cleanup Volunteers will receive a free t-shirt and lunch.
The 2016 Annual Cleanup is generously supported by the following sponsors:
J & S Tire (Owosso)
Oster Superior Threading (Owosso)
Johnny V’s Smokehouse (Corunna)
Owosso Graphic Arts
Matador’s Pizza (Byron)
Cheff’s Canoe Rental (Vernon)
The Bagelman (Owosso)
Shiawassee County Health Department
Great Lakes Commission
Updated June 2, 2016, Corunna, MI - After decades of decay, the Corunna dam will be removed and the Shiawassee River restored, thanks to grants from the State of Michigan, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the privately-funded Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network (WIN).
The City of Corunna received a $301,500 grant from the Michigan of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in the beginning of the year, and recently was awarded a $33,500 grant from US Fish and Wildlife Service. With this funding in hand, the City has sufficient resources to remove the remnants of a dam that has troubled the community for several years.
The dam has also been a barrier to small boat passage with no good opportunity for portage. Dam removal and replacement with a passable riffle section will further support a future national river trail designation for the Shiawassee. Work is expected to be undertaken in 2017.