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Eagle Scout Projects - Troop 944

Since Marguerite Gahagan Nature Preserve was established in 1997, ten Eagle Scout candidates from Boy Scout Troop 944 of Roscommon have completed a variety of projects at the preserve.  These projects have improved access to the cabin and the trail system and enhanced the onsite education program.  Accomplishments at the Marguerite Gahagan Nature Preserve depend on people who love the outdoors, value the environment and realize the need to educate our youth about the natural world.  Thank you to all the Scouts, Scout leaders, Scout families and all those who have contributed time and talents to these worthy projects!​

  • 1997   Howard Huffman   -   Main boardwalk over the swamp

  • 1998   James Gagne   -   Boardwalk to gazebo

  • 1998   Andy Powrie   -   Handicap ramp to the main cabin entrance

  • 2001   Ben Barber   -   Footbridge across Tank Creek (Brookside exit)

  • 2002   Josh Scott   -   Handicap ramp to the classroom entrance

  • 2006   John Ekdom   -   Deer exclosures

  • 2009   Matt Compo   -   Boardwalk to Tank Creek

  • 2009   Nathan Compo   -   Tank Creek overlook platform

  • 2011   Jon Hahn   -   Green Trail development

  • 2014   Noah Ekdom   -   Outdoor classroom bench seating

Upper AuSable Water Quality Monitoring Project

In 2006, the Marguerite Gahagan Nature Preserve brought a number of organizations together to collect data and regularly monitor the water quality of the upper AuSable River watershed.  Volunteers collect insect specimens from the river system at six points on one day in Spring or Fall. Sites include the Mainstream, North Branch, East Branch, South Branch and the Big Creeks. Following the collection dates, teams of volunteers identify the bugs in the laboratory at Kirtland Community College. The type, quantity and variety of these macro-invertebrates are used to score the quality of the water system. Our goal is rather simple - create a baseline of data about the AuSable River's water quality that can be used now and into the future to measure impacts on the river.

The project is done in conjunction with MiCorps (Michigan Clean Water Corps) which was created by executive order by Governor Granholm in 2003 to assist the Department of Environmental Quality. Our AuSable River data goes into the MiCorps record system which is administered by the Great Lakes Commission in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The project’s partners include: Kirtland Community College, AuSable River Restoration Committee, Anglers of the AuSable, the Mershon, Headwaters and Mason Griffith Chapters of Trout Unlimited, AuSable River Center, Roscommon County Community Foundation and Kirtland Community College Foundation.

June 8, 2019 was our last sampling date for this project.  As the accompanying spread of data demonstrates, we have a very abundant collection of results from all six sites over a 12 year time span. These results consistently showed the river to be very healthy and stable in terms of benthic macro-invertebrate diversity. In the future, sites will be sampled on a limited basis as interest and resources permit. The Mason Griffith Founders Chapter of Trout Unlimited will take over sampling of the East Branch and Main Branch sites. Gahagan Nature Preserve will continue to monitor the South Branch site at Chase Bridge on an irregular schedule. Monitoring of the two Big Creek sites and the North Branch site will be discontinued. The complete collections for all sites for the entire 12 year study period are maintained intact at the Au Sable River Center in Roscommon. Contact Tom Dale at if you wish to access the collections or with any questions about the project.

AuSable Project Summary

Data Summary - Includes Summary of the MiCorps Water Quality Score by site and average data by site by collection season. Also includes the total number of taxa found. PDF file format with graphs. Includes a brief description of sampling protocol and the water quality scoring system used. Stream collection of macro-invertebrates is done for 1-hour along pre-designed 300-ft stretches of stream. Visit MiCorps website for details on the collection protocol.

Data Summaries for Specific Dates - Click on a collection date to the right to open a PDF file with specific data for the sampling date. Each includes a map of sampling location, water quality scores and specific counts for each taxa. 

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