2004 CFAS News Release

Mason Tract Northern White-cedars Restoration Project
An Au Sable River System Cedar Tree Planting and Protection Project

Presented by the Au Sable River System Property Owners Association (ARSPOA), P.O. Box 15, Grayling, MI 49738.

Contact: Howard N. Johnson, Project Chair
3157 Church Street
Saginaw, MI 48604


Grayling High School students plant Cedars

Thirteen Grayling High School students from Mr. Loran Bass’s class participated in a pilot-study to plant and protect Northern White-cedars on the banks of the Au Sable River. On three work-outings in May, the students – along with Mr. Bass, Kathleen Ryan, Coordinator of Huron Pines RC&D Area Council, and Howard N. Johnson, Chairman of the “Cedars for the Au Sable” project – planted 44 Northern White-cedars at the river’s edge downstream of Chase Bridge within the Mason Tract on the South Branch of the Au Sable River.

Exclosures were constructed around each seedling to prevent deer browsing of this native tree. In time, these seedlings will grow to mature trees to provide needed shade to maintain the cold-water fishery of the Au Sable as well as ensuring the preservation of the riverbank by locking in the soil to help reduce erosion.

Planting techniques and procedures implement during this pilot-study will be used this fall when volunteer river conservations groups begin planting up to 2,000 seedlings. A partnership agreement has been developed with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Huron Pines RC&D Area Council, and the Au Sable River System Property Owners Association to use an “adopt-a-bank-segment approach to restore Northern White-cedars to ecologically appropriate sections of the South Branch of the Au Sable River located within boundaries of the Mason Tract.

Volunteer river conservation group will be assigned a segment of the river by MDNR Forest Management. The volunteer group with plant and protect a minimum of 50 seedlings each year for five years in their assigned segment. MDNR will determine the exact planting location of each seedling. Huron Pines RC&D will maintain a schedule of required planting, maintenance and monitoring. The “Cedars for the Au Sable” volunteers will provide the cedar seedlings and all necessary wooden stakes and fencing materials.

The Northern White-cedars planting in the Mason Tract will begin this fall and continue for five years. Protecting the growing cedars within exclosures will be necessary until the Northern White-cedars reach a height to survive deer browsing which is estimated to be fifteen years. The following river conservation groups will be participating sponsors: Mason-Griffith Founders Chapter (Grayling) of Trout Unlimited, Anglers of the Au Sable (Grayling), William B. Mershon Chapter (Saginaw) of Trout Unlimited, Paul H. Young Chapter (Detroit) of Trout Unlimited, Challenge Chapter (Bloomfield Hills) of Trout Unlimited, The North Brach Boys of Toledo, Ohio, and the Michigan Fly Fishing Club.

Photo: Student volunteers and members of Mr. Bass’s Grayling High School class – (L to R) Michele Decker, Josh Poll, Teddy Owen, Dan O’Connor – Members of Mr. Bass’s class planting Northern White-cedars seedlings and protecting them in a deer-proof exclosure on the South Branch of the Au Sable River.