It's River Bug Sampling Time Again!




Join the Friends as we explore the Shiawassee River and collect samples of the aquatic bugs that live there to learn more about the health of our river. 


Why are we doing this?  Because river bugs live in the river 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are a good indicator of our river's health. Did you know that the types, quantity and diversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates (river bugs) collected at a testing site lets us assign a four-point water quality rating. We collect that information twice a year and the more years we collect that data the better able we will be to see health trends.

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Congratulations Tim Berry, 2016 Kayak Raffle Winner!


The Friends are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2016 Kayak Raffle.

Tim Berry, from Owosso, is the proud owner of the cherry red Sojourn 134 Hurricane kayak.  Mr Berry bought the winning raffle ticket from Bob Dumond; a gentleman who seems to be a good luck charm himself. For the second year in a row, Bob sold the winning Kayak Raffle ticket.

"It's the biggest thing I've ever won in my life," said Tim Berry, winner of the 2016 Kayak Raffle. "I'll buy a ticket next year -- from Bob of course!"  

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ARGUS PRESS MONDAY SPOTLIGHT: Johnson’s dedication to river encompasses decades

IMG_2821.JPGBy 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 read more about the 2016 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.

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2016 Wine-Tasting Celebration Fundraiser

Clinking_Glasses.jpgRaise a glass to the Shiawassee River!

Annual Wine-Tasting Celebration Fundraiser

Thursday, September 15th

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Owosso Country Club

Click here for more details and to purchase your tickets today! 

Join your friends, family, colleagues and neighbors for a good cause and a great time!

With special thanks to our generous event sponsors for their continued support:

The Schluckebier/Hood Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC

Young Buick GMC  |  Main Beverage Company  |  Oster Manufacturing Company

River Cleanup Cancelled due to Thunderstorms


*** NOTICE ***


You would think Mother Nature would be more cooperative with our plans, but for the second time we need to call off the River Cleanup. Thunderstorms are predicted all day. We will always put your safety first, so go back to bed and enjoy the storms. 

We do need to get our river cleaned up before October 31st, so if you or your organization would like to work with us to organize and schedule mini-cleanups at parks and along stretches of the river, please get in touch with Larry Johnson and I at your earliest convenience.

Thank you so much for your enthusiasm, your patience and understanding, and most of all....thank you for being such a great Friend!

Friends' 20th Birthday Party Fun & Festive!

IMG_3032.JPGWe had a fabulous party with over 40 Friends at Mitchell Amphitheater in Owosso on Saturday to celebrate the people, the friendships and all the work we have accomplished together.

Thank you so much to the Cook Family Foundation - Shiawassee County Nonprofit Capacity Building Program for sponsoring the Friends 20th Birthday Party! This program has helped our family of nonprofits become strong, stable and more collaborative, including the Friends of the Shiawassee River.  As we deepen our partnerships with communities, businesses, schools and organizations along the full 120 mile length of the river - from the headwaters in Holly to Chesaning and St. Charles -  NOW is a great time to become a member of the Friends. 

Membership with Friends of the Shiawassee River supports our work to sustain and improve a healthy clean river, promote local communities' economic and recreation connections to the river, and share information, science and stewardship opportunities. Become a member today and join our fun and growing team of awesome Friends! 

Click here to Become a Member

CLICK HERE to VOLUNTEER SATURDAY, AUGUST 13th, for the 21st Annual River Cleanup & Volunteer Appreciation Lunch

All Cleanup Volunteers will receive a free t-shirt and lunch!


Thunderstorms and high water forced the postponement (to August 13) of the Annual Cleanup, but over 40 Friends showed up to celebrate and enjoy a piece of delicious birthday cake.

LIKE us on Facebook! 

If you were at the Birthday Party, please tag yourself and your friends on our 20th Birthday Party Facebook Album.

Cleanup Postponed, BUT Birthday Party Still on at NOON




Weather forecasts say that skies will be clearing later this morning, but the chance of lightning will exist until after 10 a.m. That's a risk we will not take.  The flow in the river has also doubled.  For safety's sake, we are postponing the clean-up until August 13th. All the day's detail are the same.  

The 20th Birthday Party must go on....We have cake!  We hope to see you all at the Mitchell Amphitheater in Owosso today at noon to celebrate the people, the friendships and all the work we have accomplished together.  

Friends' 20th Birthday Celebration 
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm 
Mitchell Amphitheater 
219 N Water Street in Owosso

(located on the grounds of Owosso Middle School)

2016 Annual Shiawassee River Cleanup and Friends 20th Birthday Party

RitaJSTireStrongWomanCleanUp2015.JPGPeople 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

 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

Mitchell Amphitheater

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 Manufacturing Company (Owosso)
Johnny V’s Smokehouse (Corunna)
Owosso Graphic Arts
Matador’s Pizza (Byron)
Mancino’s (Owosso)
Cheff’s Canoe Rental (Vernon)
The Bagelman (Owosso)
Shiawassee County Health Department
Waste Management
Great Lakes Commission


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Corunna Wins Grant to Begin Dam Restoration

corunna dam

Updated February 10, 2017, 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). Work is expected to start this summer.

The City of Corunna received a $301,500 grant from the Michigan of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in the beginning of 2016, and was also 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.  

In December of 2016, Corunna got notice of a $288,600 grant from the Michigan Natural Trust Fund to make recreational improvements at, around, and near the dam site.  These include a walkway along the westside of the river, creation of fishing opportunities, an accessible kayak launch, and parking lot upgrades. Taken together these grants will transform the obsolete and dangerous dam into a community asset.

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.

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Kayak Raffle “Launched” by Friends of the Shiawassee River

Friends Launch Kayak Raffle

May 26, 2016, Owosso, MI - The Friends of the Shiawassee River have launched a fundraising raffle for a 13’ 5” Hurricane Sojourn 135 Kayak to informally kick off the paddling season.  The kayak is from The Power of Water in Lansing and is valued at over $1,400.  Funds generated by the raffle will be used by the Friends to host water quality monitoring stream teams, an annual river clean-up, paddling events, and other Friends’ efforts.  Winners will be announced at the Friends’ annual wine-tasting event, to be held on Thursday, September 15th at the Owosso Country Club. 

The raffle is being sponsored by Fifth Third Bank and tickets go on sale at the Owosso Farmers Market this Saturday and many other locations

"People are rediscovering the beauty of the Shiawassee River all the time, and if you haven't experienced it from a kayak or canoe, I hope you'll put it on your short list this summer," said Lauri Elbing, Executive Director of the Friends. "There is a very good reason why the Shiawassee River is #7 on a list of the Top 11 Water Trails in Michigan. Come see for yourself."

"It was the best five-bucks I ever spent!" 
Steve Eastman, 2015 Kayak Raffle Winner
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King Street Woods Planting Day

King Street Woods Planting Day

Saturday, May 21st at 9:00 am

Memorial Healthcare Main Campus – West of the Emergency Department Entrance


The public is encouraged to join Memorial Healthcare staff and volunteers, Friends of the River, and interns from the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and University of Michigan’s Nichols Arboretum for this day of planting and education about native plants and ecological restoration. 

Not only will this be a family-friendly, fun day, but participants will actually create a woodland garden on the grounds of the hospital! And the creation of the garden is actually just a part of Memorial Healthcare’s plans. Nature truly has a healing effect for all of us. Studies have shown that patients with a view of natural areas heal faster than those without such a view.

Click here to RSVP for the event!

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Two Upcoming Friends’ Events Support Health and Enjoyment of the Shiawassee River along Memorial Healthcare’s Riverbank

May 12, 2016, Owosso, MI - The Friends of the Shiawassee River (Friends) are thrilled to announce two upcoming events which highlight the river, its connection to the health and enjoyment of the people who live here, and the ecological importance of this local treasure to the community. The public is invited to participate in both of these events.

Adopt-A-River Sign Unveiling scheduled for Monday, May 16th at 2 pm

King Street Woods Planting Day scheduled for Saturday, May 21st at 9 am

The Dr. John and Thora MacGregor Trust, honoring the memory of the local couple, and Memorial Healthcare are the two newest sponsors of the Friends’ Adopt-A-River initiative. This initiative supports the Friends’ efforts to clean and monitor stretches of the watershed. A sign celebrating these sponsorships will be unveiled on Monday, May 16th at 2 pm, north of Memorial’s outside entrance to the cafeteria. Other Adopt-A-River sponsors include NCG Cinema (near the Cinema) and the Owosso Rotary (at Harmon Patridge Park).

Then, on Saturday, May 21st, the public is welcomed and encouraged to join Memorial Healthcare staff and volunteers, Friends of the River, and interns from the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and University of Michigan’s Nichols Arboretum for this day of planting and education about native plants and ecological restoration.  Not only will this be a family-friendly, fun day, but participants will actually create a woodland garden on the grounds of the hospital! 

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Stream Team Critter Collections Rescheduled due to Spring Rains

Important_notice.pngSome Stream Team Critter Collections Canceled and others have been Rescheduled

May 9, 2016 -  Owosso, MI -   The Friends of the Shiawassee River wish to update the public regarding our Stream Team Critter Collection events.  The Shiawassee River water levels are high in some areas due to all the rain in recent days. If it is too high it is deemed an unsafe for volunteers to enter the river and do the macroinvertebrate collections. Safety is our number one priority so we are monitoring each site to make the safety determination and we have several events we are working to reschedule and will get those new dates and times updated on our website and Facebook shortly.


May 11 at 12 pm | St. Charles with St. Charles Middle School (CANCELED)

May 13 at 11:15 am | Byron Sesquicentennial Park (New Date and Time!)

May 13 at 3 pm | DeVries Nature Conservancy (New Date and Time!)

May 14 at 10:00 am | Downtown Owosso (CANCELED)

May 14 1:30 pm | Chesaning, Showboat Park (CANCELED)

Owosso Rotary Shows They Care; Adopts Shiawassee River


April 27, 2016, Owosso, MI - The Friends of the Shiawassee River joined members of the Owosso Rotary Club in Harmon Patridge Park this afternoon to unveil the latest Adopt-A-River sign.  The Owosso Rotary became the latest sponsor of the Friends’ Adopt-A-River program, which offers businesses and non-profit service organizations the opportunity to help care for specific stretches of the Shiawassee River in collaboration with the Friends. 

"The Owosso Rotary Club is proud to support the work of the Friends,” said Owosso Rotary President Paul Cook. “The Shiawassee River is a key asset for both our community and the region."


“The Friends organization is so appreciative of the continued support of the Owosso Rotarians,” added Lauri Elbing, the Friends’ Executive Director.  “In addition to their generous financial gift through the Adopt-A-River program, they have also devoted many hours of volunteer service caring for the River.  Their members have been a part of our annual River Clean-Up every year since the very first one twenty years ago – specifically targeting the Harmon Patridge section each of those years.”

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Shiatown Dam Public Meeting Recap

The Friends of the Shiawassee River continue to work with State and local governments to help with the removal of the Shiatown Dam and support the restoration of the adjacent County Park. A presentation with current plans was shared with stakeholders that showed example photos of restored conditions. A set of Goals and Objectives have been adopted for the project. While the dam site is owned by the State of Michigan, the Friends are coordinating engineering work, grants, and regulatory approvals.  Currently, we have an application pending with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). 

Watch ABC 12 coverage on removal and restoration.


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