2005 Mason Tract News Release

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

Presented by the Upper Au Sable River Preservation Association, P.O. Box 15, Grayling, MI 49738.

Contact: Howard N. Johnson, Project Chair

3157 Church Street
Saginaw, MI 48604


Cedar Planting in the Mason Tract

A partnership agreement has been developed with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Huron Pines RC&D Area Council, and the Upper Au Sable River Preservation Association’s “Cedars for the Au Sable” project 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 groups will be assigned a segment of the river by MDNR Forest Management. The volunteer group will plant and protect a minimum of 50 Northern White-cedar 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 volunteer groups will plant up to 2,000 seedlings. Exclosures will be constructed around each seedling to prevent deer browsing of this native tree. 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. 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.

The following river conservation groups will be participating sponsors: Mason-Griffith Founders Chapter (Grayling) & Headwaters Chapter (Gaylord) of Trout Unlimited will work together, 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 Branch Boys of Toledo, Ohio, and the Michigan Fly Fishing Club.

As a test project, volunteers from Anglers of the Au Sable and the William B. Mershon Chapter of Trout Unlimited each planted and protected 50 seedlings in the fall of 2004 in their assigned segment. Many valuable planting techniques were learned from this test project that will be shared with the other volunteer groups.