• Saturday, October 24, 2020 9:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    “We are excited to have been informed that our application, first submitted in April 2017, to the U.S. National Park Service for consideration as a “National Water Trail”, has finally been approved by the agency,” said David Lossing, chair of the Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition.  “We applied for a grant from the NPS in August 2015 for technical support to begin pulling the needed data and information together for the application.  We appreciate all of the support we’ve been given during that process, and since, to move our Water Trail forward.”

    The Shiawassee River Water Trail is eighty-eight miles in length stretching from Holly, MI to Chesaning, MI, crossing through four counties in mid-Michigan.  The agency’s water trail program was formed to “…protect and restore America’s rivers, shorelines, and waterways; conserve natural areas along waterways; and increase access to outdoor recreation on shorelines and waterways. The Trails are a distinctive and national network of exemplary water trails that are cooperatively supported and sustained.”

    The Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition began meeting in the fall of 2017 and organized itself to start working towards the implementation of the plan that was submitted as part of the water trail application.  To date, the Coalition, through its individual member organizations, have:

    1.  Created additional launch locations on the Shiawassee River
    2.      Worked with Terrain360 in 2019 to photograph the river in a 360-degree format.
    3.      Worked with Hyfi, a company created through the University of Michigan’s School of Engineering, to install 30 water sensors on the Shiawassee River to report, in real time, the depth and flow of the river:
    4.      Headwaters Trails, Inc., ongoing project of installing paddling mile markers along the river downstream of Fenton, MI.

    The Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition is made up of the following organizations:

    Oakland County:

    Village of Holly, Holly Township, Headwaters Trails, Inc., North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy

    Genesee County:

    City of Fenton, City of Linden, Argentine Township, Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission, Sierra Club – Nepsassing Chapter, Ponemah, Squaw and Tupper Lake Association, Keepers of the Shiawassee River

    Shiawassee County:

    Byron Village Downtown Development Authority, Village of Vernon, City of Corunna, City of Owosso, Shiawassee County Parks and Recreation, Friends of the Shiawassee River

    Saginaw County:

    Village of Oakley, Village of Chesaning, Chesaning Township, Saginaw County Parks and Recreation

    For more information about the Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition:

    National Park Service’s announcement of the expanded trail program:

  • Tuesday, September 29, 2020 12:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Friends of the Shiawassee River organization endorses Proposition 1 on the Michigan ballot this November.  This widely supported ballot measure will continue funding for the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, the State’s very successful program to direct revenues from oil and gas leases to parks, public lands, and protection of the environment.  

    The Trust Fund has funded a number of important park improvements along the Shiawassee River and Prop 1 will make funding available to increase access to rivers and lakes, help improve parklands, and protect lands that help ensure clean water.  This valuable parks program is not funded by our tax dollars; rather it directs the royalties paid by industries who extract resources from public lands back to protecting our natural resources.  Currently, there is a cap on how much funding the Trust Fund receives; Prop 1 would lift that cap and ensure a future stream of funding for park improvements and public land protection.  

    Since its creation in 1976, the Trust Fund has helped expand recreation opportunities and conserve Michigan’s land and water throughout the State including all 83 counties.  In the Shiawassee watershed, Trust Fund dollars have been used, among other things, to make improvements at Henderson Park, protect headwaters in Springfield Township, provide trails in Linden and Argentine Township, provide access at Cole Park in Chesaning, and fund the park improvements currently underway in Corunna around the site of the former dam.  

    The Friends is not a political organization and we are proud of our non-partisan engagement with all constituents who care about the Shiawassee River. We are supporting Prop 1 because it is good policy for the State of Michigan that can help us carry out our mission to care, share, and enjoy the Shiawassee River.  Prop 1 is endorsed by Republicans and Democrats, business and environmental organizations, hunters and anglers, park advocates, unions, and farmers.  To see all endorsements and learn more go to

    On November 3 vote with the river in mind - Vote Yes on Prop 1

  • Monday, June 29, 2020 9:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Friends of the Shiawassee River’s annual river cleanup will be held this summer with a new tagline of “Overcoming Obstacles to Care for the River” and a new look to boot!  This year will be the event’s 25th anniversary and will encourage small groups to participate in a more individualized effort anytime between July 25th – August 2nd - with an emphasis on long-term “adoption” of the river sections participants choose to clean.

    Larry Johnson, Director of the Shiawassee County Health Department (SCHD) and Friends’ river cleanup advisor, was concerned about large groups of people together and the community gathering/eating at the end of the event. 

    “The SCHD has been a river cleanup partner with the Friends for many years,” said Johnson.  “In this challenging time, in order to continue to practice safe, social distancing, the SCHD advised the Friends to find a new way to conduct this very important community get-together.”

    With Johnson’s comments in mind, the Friends’ river cleanup committee came up with some exciting ideas about a modified event – where participants register online at the Friends’ website and are able to clean a self-selected section of the river over a period of time (anytime between July 25th and August 2nd) in groups they organize themselves.  Cleanup materials will be available for pickup to all registered participants at the Friends’ office THE WEEK BEFORE July 25th (trash bags, gloves, buckets, etc.). 

    “Anyone interested will provide their name, contact information, and t-shirt size will check off a portion of the river they would be responsible for cleaning,” said Lorraine Austin, Friends’ Executive Director.  “We are particularly excited about growing this year’s event to include the concept of a modified ‘Adopt a River’ idea - whereby that section of the river participants clean would be “theirs” to care for throughout the year, not just for the cleanup event.” 

    Participants will be urged to send photos and stories of their cleanup activities for the Friends’ Facebook page.  All who participated (and registered) will come to the Friends’ office after the event to pick up their complementary river cleanup t-shirt and coupon to a free lunch at Mancino’s.  Besides Mancino’s, the Friends’ are also thankful to other business event sponsors including Foster Coffee, J & S Tire, Oster Manufacturing, Matador’s Pizza, Hankerd Sportswear, VMD & Associates, and Waste Management.

    Unfortunately, the SCHD will not be able to conduct the associated tire collection in conjunction with the river cleanup as in year’s past. 

    “We will be in contact with all of the cleanup registrants to communicate how used tires and other items cleaned from the river,” said Gary Burk, Friends’ board member and river cleanup committee chair.  “The Friends will coordinate and assure all river debris removed will be promptly and properly recycled or disposed of.”

    Anyone interested in participating in this year’s 25th annual river cleanup should visit the Friends’ website at or call 989.723.9062 to register no later than July 23rd.   Up-to-date information on this and other Friends’ endeavors may be found on their Facebook page at

    The Friends of the Shiawassee River is a 501©3 nonprofit organization governed by a local board of directors and supported by a dedicated group of volunteers and generous donors.  The mission of the Friends is to help the community Care, Share, and Enjoy the Shiawassee River.  The Friends are committed to improving the river environment and promoting the responsible use of/enhancing the appreciation of the River throughout its watershed.                                                                        

  • Monday, June 22, 2020 2:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Friends of the Shiawassee River is proud to announce the newest member of their Board of Directors – Brianna Carroll.  Brianna, known to her friends and colleagues as Bri, is the owner of the Fitness Coliseum and the primary organizer of the Shi~Tri run, paddle, and bike event in conjunction with the Friends.

    I am incredibly excited to be joining the Friends’ Board,” said Carroll.  “My first interaction with the Friends was as the Shi~Tri came to life.  Although we had to postpone that event’s inaugural year to 2021, I realized what a great group the Friends were and how involved they are in the community.  As a small business owner and young professional, I believe it is very important to get involved with our local nonprofits to keep them moving forward and thriving.”

    She adds “My personal favorite way to enjoy the river is on my paddle board, which if you’re wondering, is an amazingly stable and easy to navigate down the river.”

    Carroll was born and raised in Ovid-Elsie (literally both) and then went to Michigan State University to earn her bachelor’s degree in dietetics. After spending a few years in St. Petersburg, Florida for an internship and first job in the field, she found herself back home to be near her family. In April of 2018, she took over the ownership of the Fitness Coliseum and has been in love with the Owosso community ever since.

    “The Friends organization is thrilled to have Bri as a member of our Board,” said Nick Tereck, Friends’ Board President.  “In addition to her professional expertise, she brings with her a youthful vitality and love for the out-of-doors – especially river-related activities.  We look forward to her bringing some fun, new events to the community through her Friends’ work.”

  • Wednesday, April 08, 2020 2:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Fitness Coliseum in Owosso and the Friends of the Shiawassee River, in collaboration with the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce, have announced that the first-ever Shiawassee Triathlon (Shi~Tri), originally scheduled for Sunday, May 31, 2020, will be postponed for the safety of potential triathletes, volunteers and spectators with the uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 virus concerns.  The rescheduled date is set for Sunday, May 23, 2021. 

    The mission of the Shi~Tri continues to be to promote community fitness and to support the Friends of the Shiawassee River.  Proceeds from this next year’s event will go toward improvements to help everyone care, share, and enjoy our treasured Shiawassee River.  Next year’s Run/Paddle/Bike route will remain the same as the 2020 route - beginning and ending in Downtown Owosso along the Shiawassee River. 

    “Although we are very excited to present this brand new event to the community, we do not want to risk the health of anyone,” said Brianna Carroll, owner of the Fitness Coliseum and event organizer.  “Our planning team, consisting of a number of community leaders and Friends’ representatives, are looking forward to rolling things out next year with even more excitement!”

    And, to encourage the over 90 triathletes who have already registered for the 2020 Shi~Tri to remain dedicated to the success of next year’s event, the Shi~Tri organizers will offer those who remain registered a number of incentives to do so, including:

    • -        a free, one-year membership with the Friends of the Shiawassee River
    • -        a guaranteed price lock on the registration fee (anyone who has already paid will not be charged more if the rates go up next year)
    • -        a complimentary Friends’ kayak raffle ticket for the drawing to be held in September and “Life is Better on the River” Friends’ decal

    “We have envisioned a river based experience like this for many years,” said Lorraine Austin, Executive Director of the Friends.  “Although we are disappointed to have to delay it, we want to encourage those who are already registered to remain loyal to the community spirit of the event – benefitting the registrants, the Friends, and the Shi~Tri initiative as a whole.”

    Registration for the event (for both triathletes and volunteers) will continue at  Triathlete registration costs are $60 per individual and $90 per three-person relay team.  Anyone who registers by April 30, 2020 (and agrees to remain registered for next year’s event) will receive the incentive package listed above.

    The following 2020 event sponsors have graciously offered to remain sponsors of the 2021 event:  Memorial Healthcare (Presenting Sponsor), Norm Henry Shoes (Run Sponsor), Great Lake Fusion (Paddle Sponsor), Byk-Rak (Ride Sponsor), Shiawassee County Convention & Visitors Bureau (Underwriting Sponsor), and Darker Mfg. Co. (Award Design Sponsor).  In addition, the following businesses will support the 2021 event as Shi-Tribe Sponsors:  Advanced Eye Care, American Recycling Center, Inc., American Speedy Print (Owosso), DayStarr Communications, Feighner Docks, Hankerd Sportswear, Merit Laboratories, Inc., Qdoba, REMAX of Owosso, RWI Mfg, and Weather Vane Roofing.

    For more information, visit or email

    The Fitness Coliseum is a one-stop shop for fitness and wellness – focusing on providing fun, effective, and safe fitness classes to people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and fitness levels.  They pride themselves on creating a supportive environment that lifts people up and encourages them to be the best they can be.

    The Friends of the Shiawassee River is a 501©3 nonprofit organization governed by a local board of directors and supported by a dedicated group of volunteers and generous donors.  The mission of the Friends is to help the community Care, Share, and Enjoy the Shiawassee River.  The Friends are committed to improving the river environment and promoting the responsible use of/enhancing the appreciation of the River throughout its watershed. 


  • Thursday, February 27, 2020 12:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    One of our founding members, Phil Hathaway, has written a book called "History of the Shiawassee River." You can purchase the book online by clicking here And pick it up at our office (538 N. Shiawassee St. Corunna, MI) or we can ship it to you. 

    The history is a 123-mile tale in sequence about geology, Native Americans, pioneers, water power, water users, resource degradation and recovery.  Considerable effort has been made to explain the relationships of human activity and the River from earliest known inhabitants to the near-present navigators.  Flush with photographs and charts, readers may readily understand the narrative together with continuous deference to the value of history in our lives and for the care of the waterway.  For those readers outside our watershed, there is an adoptable manner to content and chronology that may be followed in most navigable waterways.  The coverage area from the source at Lake Shiawassee to the river's confluence with the Tittabawassee south of Saginaw is compressed with bonds of a the omnipresent Chippewas, early beaver trappers, river towns with their dams, ponds and mills and environmental qualities of the water body. 

    A huge thank you to Phil Hathaway for compiling this information and making it available for the public! 

  • Tuesday, January 28, 2020 1:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In 1996, a group of Friends came together with a straightforward purpose to Care, Share, and Enjoy the Shiawassee River.  Every year, we recognize volunteers and other Friends who make our work possible.  We give awards for those who care for the River, share with others their knowledge and affection for the River, and help us all enjoy what the River can give us.

    The CARE AWARD this year goes to the City of Corunna, including Mayor Chuck Kerridge, Assessor/Planner Merilee Lawson, City Manager Joe Sawyer, and Tim Crawford from the Department of Public Works, for their efforts and partnership with the Friends to restore the River at the site of the former Corunna dam.  In 1996 we organized our first clean-up, and the City of Corunna was of one our partners.  We pulled out about 300 tires that first year, which ended up there for a variety of reasons. While most of them are irresponsible methods of tire disposal, some people made a misinformed attempt to stop bank erosion.  Once in the River, a tire is unsightly and can be hard to remove.

    The City of Corunna has had the equivalent of a big tire stuck in the River for many years.  The dam in Corunna, built over 100 years ago, once served a useful purpose, but it has been decades since it added any value to the community.  But taking a dam out is hard work, kind of like pulling out a tire mired in the silt and mud. We recognize the City of Corunna for their diligence and commitment to restoring the River.  The Friends will support enhancing the new recreational opportunities provided by the dam removal.

    This year’s SHARE AWARD goes to David Richardson, a Byron Middle School teacher, for his continued participation in the Friends’ Stream Team program and for inspiring his students to become life-long river stewards.  When it comes to sharing our knowledge and appreciation of the Shiawassee River, perhaps nothing is better than the volunteer water quality monitoring (Stream Team) we conduct at twelve sites from Holly to St. Charles.  The most rewarding part of Stream Team efforts may be our work with schools and getting students into the River to learn science hands-on and boots-in.

    The Friends has been fortunate to work with Dave and other teachers watershed-wide to help hundreds of students collect data and learn about what lives in the River.  Dave’s love for the Shiawassee is shared with his students with the river ecology lessons and other projects like "Salmon in the Classroom".  His ability and enthusiasm to share science and knowledge and personally show his appreciation of the River to his students is truly inspiring.

    ENJOY AWARDSthis year are given to two Shiawassee area artists, Linda Beeman and Tom Tomasek, for their support of the Friends and their extraordinary talents in highlighting the river through their visual artistry.  When we think of “enjoying” the Shiawassee, we usually think of paddling, or fishing, or using one of the many public parks or walkways located along the River.

    However, many of us just enjoy the Shiawassee for the beauty it adds to our life.  Linda and Tom have a gift for capturing the special beauty of the Shiawassee, and sharing it with others.  Their work has given exposure to the Shiawassee widely, even internationally.  Linda has helped build a relationship between the state of Shiga in Japan and Michigan and helped facilitate cultural and scientific exchanges that have benefitted both. 

    Tom and Linda have also supported the Friends by donating their art for auction at our annual fundraising events.  Linda also championed the painting and installation of a mural along the River in downtown Owosso.  We need the beauty of the Shiawassee River, and Linda and Tom have helped many people connect and fully appreciate the beauty it offers us.

    THANK YOU to all our volunteers and other Friends.  Those we recognize with an award are of course only a few of those who contribute to our success.  They are representative of the best that is given to make the Shiawassee healthy, clean, and available to all.

  • Thursday, December 05, 2019 11:57 AM | Anonymous

    We Did It, we reached our goal! A HUGE thank you to each of our donors!

    The Friends' met our $3,500 goal for Giving Tuesday thanks to the donations of 41 individuals like you!  And, thanks to challenge grants from other Friends, we gained $10,500 in pledged matches. Our Giving Tuesday total this year will be $14,000!

    We truly appreciate your $25 gift and will use these funds in 2020 to boost our outreach and educational efforts, including the work of our Stream Team river monitoring program.  This will include: Stream Team equipment, salary for Sarah (our Stream Team coordinator), salary for a new staff person to come on board in 2020, and staff Stream Team traveling expenses.  To learn more about what the Stream Team is all about, please read 2019 report. And if this piques your interest, you might want to contact us about becoming a Stream Team volunteer!!

    The Giving Tuesday effort has truly been part of the best year ever for the Friends. We look forward to growing our service to the community and caring for the River we all hold dear.

  • Monday, November 25, 2019 1:55 PM | Anonymous

    Friends of the Shiawassee River is working with partner organizations to provide information, networking opportunities, and project development around the local impacts of climate change


    November 2019 - CORUNNA, MI – One of the reasons the Friends’ organization was formed was to share their appreciation and knowledge of the Shiawassee River with others. With a new grant, the Friends of the Shiawassee River will take a step forward in 2020 with a major public education program about climate change and its impact on our watershed. The outreach effort will focus on actions that can be taken that enhance the health of the Shiawassee River no matter the extent of impacts caused by extreme weather events.

    The Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (GLISA) Program, sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has awarded the Friends funding to help them build a knowledge base and share practical information with those impacted by changing water levels resulting from increased storm events and droughts.

    “We are here to serve the residents of the watershed, and this grant will help us all be better stewards of the river and its natural resources,” said Friends Executive Director Lorraine Austin. “We’re especially interested in taking a local look at what is happening in our own backyards.”

    The Friends of the Shiawassee River will hold three education forums on the impacts of climate extreme weather events throughout the diverse Shiawassee River Watershed to inform and engage three different groups:

    1) local governments and residential landowners along the River;

    2) farmers. agricultural landowners, and conservation organizations;

    3) recreational users of the River, including anglers, hunters, paddlers and wildlife advocates.

    With the help of scientists, the Friends will provide the best information available about increased precipitation, the increased likelihood of storm events, rising summer and winter temperatures, droughts, and other weather changes. Workshop participants will work together to design and carry out a project to address a local problem or opportunity.

    The GLISA team working on the project have local roots. “Having grown up in Corunna and having watched my uncle fish along the Shiawassee River all of his life, I am excited to work with the Friends of the Shiawassee River and local residents to protect these resources that have played, and continue to play, such an important role in the lives of the local communities,” said Dr. Frank Marsik of the University of Michigan and GLISA liaison to the Friends.

    The GLISA team at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan will analyze climate data and provide an analysis of climate change in the Shiawassee River watershed that will be presented at all three workshops. At each workshop, organizations with relevant expertise will present potential solutions that can be undertaken by watershed residents, landowners, local governments, community nonprofits, and recreational organizations.

    “People in the Great Lakes region understand that climate change is about more than increases in temperature and rainfall across the region. As a result of these changes in our climate, our wetlands and other sensitive ecosystems are seeing changes, as well,” said Marsik. “Increases in rainfall can lead to increases in soil erosion and run-off into rivers and streams. Temperature changes are leading to shifts in vegetation and habitat for wildlife.”

    Other partners in the project include the Michigan Association of Planning, the Michigan Chapter of The Nature Conservancy in Michigan, the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network, the Shiawassee Conservation District, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Partners for Fish & Wildlife.

    For more information, visit the Friends’ website at or email The Friends will also post updates on their Facebook page and Twitter feed (FOSR_Tweets).

    GLISA is one of eleven Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) teams supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) dedicated to helping the nation prepare for and adapt to climate variability and change. Through research and service, we build capacity to respond to climate-related risks in the Great Lakes region by increasing the usability of climate information for decision making. GLISA is a partnership between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University and serves the eight states in the Great Lakes basin in the United States and the Province of Ontario in Canada.

    The Friends of the Shiawassee River is a 501©3 nonprofit organization governed by a local board of directors and supported by a dedicated group of volunteers and generous donors. The mission of the Friends is to help the community Care, Share, and Enjoy the Shiawassee River. The Friends are committed to improving the river environment and promoting the responsible use of/enhancing the appreciation of the River throughout its watershed.

  • Friday, September 20, 2019 1:49 PM | Anonymous

    More sturgeon to be released into Saginaw Bay Watershed during public events on Sept. 21

    Local, state and federal partners invite the public to a lake sturgeon release celebration on Sept. 21, 2019. Releases will reintroduce 500 hatchery-reared sturgeon into the Saginaw Bay Watershed. Each tributary (Cass, Flint, Shiawassee, and Tittabawassee rivers) will receive 125 fish.

    The schedule includes:

     A 10 a.m. release on the Tittabawassee River. It will be held at the Bob G. Caldwell Municipal Boat

    Launch in Midland, Mich., and will be hosted by the Chippewa Nature Center. For more information,

    contact Dennis Pilaske at

     The 11 a.m. Shiawassee River release will take place at Cole Park in Chesaning, Mich., and will be

    hosted by the Friends of the Shiawassee River. For more information, contact Lorraine Austin at

     The noon Cass River release is at the Fishermen’s Parking Lot near the Gunzenhausen Walkway in

    Frankenmuth, Mich. at the corner of Guzenhausen and Rosstal Street, and will be hosted by U.S. Fish

    and Wildlife Service. For more information, contact Michelle Vanderhaar at

     From 1-3 p.m., the Flint River release will take place at Mott Park Recreation Area. This largescale event will include a speaker program, educational tables, and the official ribbon cutting for thePaddlers’ Landing. For more information, contact Rebecca Fedawa at

    These events are part of the Saginaw Bay Watershed Lake Sturgeon Restoration, an effort led by the DNR and partners to reestablish lake sturgeon in the Saginaw Watershed through the Cass, Shiawassee, Tittabawassee and Flint rivers. The lake sturgeon were reared at the USFWS National Fish Hatchery in Genoa, WI, and are about 5-7 inches in length. The adult source population for the lake sturgeon were collected near Port Huron. Lake sturgeon are a unique Great Lakes species. They can grow up to 7 feet long and can weigh up to 300 pounds. The slow-maturing fish do not begin reproducing until they are 15-20 years old. Once abundant in many Michigan lakes and rivers, lake sturgeon were nearly eradicated due to overfishing and habitat loss, particularly the destruction of rocky reefs in rivers that sturgeon and other native fish species use for spawning. In recent years, many partnerships and projects are working to restore sturgeon to a self-sustaining level in Michigan. This work includes restoring sturgeon habitat, reintroducing sturgeon into their native ranges, and raising awareness and appreciation for this unique species. The Sept. 21, 2019, sturgeon release events are supported by a variety of partners including Bay County Environmental Affairs and Community Development, City of Frankenmuth, Chippewa Nature Center, Flint River Watershed Coalition, Frankenmuth Morning Rotary Club, Friends of the Shiawassee River, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, MSU Extension, Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, Saginaw Field and Stream Club, Sturgeon for Tomorrow – Black Lake Chapter, The Conservation Fund, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Learn more about the lake sturgeon restoration efforts and additional partners on the

    Saginaw Bay Sturgeon website (

Contact Us:

Phone: (989) 723-9062

Mailing Address:

Friends of the Shiawassee River
PO Box 402
Owosso, MI  48867

Office Address:

Friends of the Shiawassee River
538 N Shiawassee Street
Corunna, MI  48817

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