AUSABLE WATER WISE: Season of giving to support the AuSable
With the end of the year around the corner, we find ourselves looking back. It’s been a successful but challenging year and winter’s early nights give us a bit more time to assess. This year, we’ve come face to face with a simple contradiction.
On the one hand, the Ausable River Association is stronger and more stable than ever. Our science-based, solution-oriented programs are practical, efficient and effective. Our networks are broad, our base of support grows, and in our communities and among our partners our relationships flourish. We are committed to continuing our good work for the river and for our communities — for the places you love.
On the other hand, we’re facing economic challenges like those you face. Costs are up and materials shortages exist for monitoring, stream construction, communications, even office supplies. And, while we met our summer campaign goal, overall, personal giving is down. That makes it a bit more difficult to leverage private dollars to match public funds and fill the cash flow gaps created as we wait two or more months for reimbursement of completed work. (The overwhelming majority of public grants require that we expend funds then invoice for reimbursement.)
In the face of those challenges, we strive to continue the programming that makes a difference for our freshwater health and the biodiversity of the watershed.
For example, early this year we made an extraordinary commitment to flood resilience on the Ausable River, using $40,000 of general operating funds to complete the assessment and engineering of a critical project in Au Sable Forks that will provide benefits to people — homes, businesses, and roads – by building river resilience in two towns and two counties. Thanks to hard work and dedicated funding partners, we established a native plant nursery in Lake Placid. This small plot of hyperlocal plants will grow and furnish the plants we need to restore and maintain lush riparian buffers throughout our watershed.
Our experienced staffers continue monitoring our streams and lakes year-round to better understand the long-term effects of climate change for your water quality and for the protection of our local biodiversity. We are committed to working with local towns, landowners, and others to identify the places where smart management can make a difference for streams, wildlife, and public safety. We make such commitments because the work matters. We make such commitments only with the help of our supporters.
It’s the season of giving. There are many worthy nonprofit organizations doing incredible work throughout the AuSable watershed and beyond. We hope you will consider a year-end gift to the Ausable River Association. We’ll put it to exceptionally good use — monitoring your water quality, protecting wildlife habitat and the life-giving streams you love, building flood resilience for your community, and sharing tools and knowledge with visitors, residents, landowners, land managers, kids, and adults.
Your support of and belief in our work is more important than ever. Your love of the AuSable River and our magnificent watershed and your confidence in our work make a difference.
Thank you and happy holidays.
(Kelley Tucker is the executive director of the Ausable River Association.)