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Nonprofit puts focus on improving habitat, fishing in Rogue River

ROCKFORD, Mich. -- A national nonprofit organization has been investing time and money into improving one of the best trout fishing areas in West Michigan.

Close to 10 years ago, Trout Unlimited expanded their efforts to help fisheries in Michigan, they started with the Rogue River in Rockford.

"We wanted to look for a place where there’s an urban fishery where we could take tangible action that would make the fishery better, and we looked all around the country and thought  no better place than on the rogue," Trout Unlimited CEO Chris Wood said.

Over the years the organization that focuses on conservation put money towards removing an old dam, educating students and improving the watershed as a whole.

"Without taking care of healthy habitat you’re not going to have good quality fishing and that’s why we do the work we do," Wood added.

Work that includes planting and maintaining gardens on the banks of the river, not only because they look good but they help combat against issues seen in growing cities.

"We’ve been working across the Rogue River basin to create what they call rain gardens. Because we are in an urbanized area there’s a lot of run off that can be quite flashy and run into the creek too quickly, and cause excessive sedimentation and degradation of the stream so these rain gardens help to catch the water, and they store it and they slowly release it over time," Wood explained.

"Our job is to keep the Rogue the quality urban fishery that is, and improve it over time and that’s a challenge that is repeated not just here in Michigan but all around the country," Wood added.

Fishing is an important asset to the area, the organization says fishing trips on the Rogue River bring nearly $500,000 a year to local communities .

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