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ODC Network Acquires 295 acre parcel in Kalamazoo River Greenway

ODC Network Acquires 295 acre parcel in Kalamazoo River Greenway

Manlius Township -- ODC Network, a nonprofit organization advancing outdoor conservation and education throughout West Michigan, announced the organization’s largest land acquisition of a 295-acre parcel in Allegan County, the River Junction Preserve.

Adjacent to the Allegan State Game Area, managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the River Junction Preserve acquisition permanently protects nearly 300 acres of riparian, floodplain, and upland habitat at the intersection of both the Kalamazoo and Rabbit Rivers for fish, terrestrial, and aquatic wildlife. The conservation land management services of the ODC Network will protect the property’s rich biodiversity and increase the property’s ecological value.

Acquisition of this property was supported with natural resource damages settlement funds administered by the Kalamazoo River Natural Resource Trustees. “The funding came from settlements with parties responsible for releasing hazardous substances, specifically [toxic chemicals], into the Kalamazoo River environment,” said John Riley, Water Resources Division trustee representative of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. “The funds are intended to compensate the public for the loss of ecological services, human use, and enjoyment the [Kalamazoo River] provides. Permanently protecting large, ecologically valuable property is one way the trustees can [compensate the public].”

The River Junction Preserve will provide public access and recreational uses consistent with ODC Network’s mission and the property’s conservation easement terms. At this time, the site is not open to the public. “[ODC Network] staff are currently developing interpretive signage and defining trails and property lines to ensure the Preserve is safe for public use,” said Dave Nyitray, ODC Network President/COO. “We are grateful to the Kalamazoo River Natural Resource Trustees for their partnership and trust in the [ODC Network] to properly preserve and protect the River Junction Preserve.”

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