Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh recently made an important decision that will help protect the vaunted Au Sable River from some of the environmental threats associated with deep shale fracking for natural gas.
Canada-based Encana Corp., which is rapidly expanding fracking operations across northern Lower Michigan, had its sights set on drilling near the Au Sable — one of the nation’s finest trout streams. That would have been environmentally risky at best, tragic at worst.
Fortunately, DNR Director Creagh heeded calls to prohibit surface drilling near the river. Read more about his decision on the Anglers of the Au Sable website.
Creagh’s decision came at a critical juncture in the history of the Au Sable. A new report commissioned by the Anglers of the Au Sable, and authored by yours truly, found that the river has recovered from many environmental problems but faces several new challenges. Leaky septic tanks, poorly regulated development and fracking-related water withdrawals pose serious threats to one of Michigan’s greatest rivers.
You can read and download the State of the Au Sable River report here,
Producing the State of the River report gave me a chance to spend several weeks studying the Au Sable, exploring its environs, and casting for its legendary brown trout. It was a memorable experience. Floating this gin clear river was one of the most pleasant and invigorating journeys I’ve ever had on any waterway.
If you’ve never paddled or fished the Au Sable, particularly in the Mason Tract or the famed Holy Water, you should. This is a glorious river, one that epitomizes the heart and soul of Pure Michigan.