DTE Energy employees plant 3,000 trees to restore Soper Creek

CADILLAC — The restoration of a section of Soper Creek, a tributary of the Manistee River near Manton is near completion thanks to the efforts of the Whitehouse family, the Traverse City-based Conservation Resource Alliance (CRA), the DTE Energy Foundation and nearly a dozen DTE Energy volunteers.

On May 8 nearly a dozen volunteers from DTE Energy planted 3,000 trees to stabilize the creek bank from erosion that degrades water flow and quality. (Courtesy photo)

On May 8 nearly a dozen volunteers from DTE Energy planted 3,000 trees to stabilize the creek bank from erosion that degrades water flow and quality. (Courtesy photo)

The site was previously the location of the Soper Creek Trout Farm, which fell into disrepair in the 1980s. In support of the preservation efforts, which began when the Whitehouse family purchased the land in 2013, on May 8 nearly a dozen volunteers from DTE Energy planted 3,000 trees to stabilize the creek bank from erosion that degrades water flow and quality.

“The work at Soper Creek is near and dear to my heart,” said Al Whitehouse. “I’m thankful for the DTE Energy Foundation’s commitment to environmental stewardship and to the DTE Energy employees who spent their day working to restore this area for future generations.”

Whitehouse grew up near Soper Creek and fished the waters as a boy. After the trout farm was abandoned, he purchased the land and partnered with organizations, including the CRA, to remove harmful dams, restore the land to its natural state and plant trees. CRA managed the project and brought together multiple partners, including the DTE Energy Foundation.

“We immediately recognized the importance of the work at Soper Creek because of its cold-water habitat and an aging trout farm infrastructure that has degraded land and water quality at the site,” said Amy Beyer, director of CRA. “Each partner on this project has brought a unique passion to the work, including today’s volunteers who helped with one of the final steps to save the bank from long-term erosion.”

Since 2003, the DTE Energy Foundation has supported CRA’s River CareTM program, which focuses on improving wildlife and waterways by replacing road and stream crossings, removing dams, improving aquatic habitat and enhancing the stability health of the river. Environmental stewardship is one of the pillars of the Foundation’s work, which supports efforts to protect, preserve and restore Michigan’s natural beauty and resources.

“We’re honored to be part of this project and to work with passionate individuals and organizations that are taking action to care for our environment,” said Lynette Dowler, president of the DTE Energy Foundation. “By partnering to restore this important section of Soper Creek, we’re enhancing the river’s ecosystem, positively impacting the area and supporting the Manistee River Watershed.”

The DTE Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of DTE Energy, continuing the legacy of community support and involvement of its electric and natural gas utilities, which serve 2.2 million electric customers in Southeast Michigan and 1.3 million natural gas customers in Michigan.

In 2017, the DTE Energy Foundation provided $18 million in grant support to nonprofits throughout the company’s service territories. As one of Michigan’s leading corporate citizens, DTE Energy is a force for growth and prosperity in the 450 Michigan communities it serves in a variety of ways, including philanthropy, volunteerism and economic progress. www.dteenergy.com/foundation.

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