Recognition and Awards

John Richter received the “Honor Award” on behalf of the Friends of the Jordan River Watershed from the Michigan Chapter of The American Society of Landscape Architects in Lansing on 10/7/10. A most interesting event. Award is given to non-landscape architect for advocacy for natural resources, environmental advocacy. Richter was given the award for Alba well opposition and Establishing a position in opposition of Biomass and advocating development of a biodiversity stewardship zone.

It is an honor to introduce Dr. John Richter as this year's Honor Award recipient, the highest award given by the chapter to someone other than a landscape architect for their contributions to the landscape and to the environment.

John is a veterinarian and a founding member and president of the Friends of the Jordan River Watershed. I cannot tell you about John without telling you about the environment he cherishes.

The Jordan River Watershed encompasses 125 square miles from its headwaters to the floodplains of Lake Charlevoix. It contains nearly too linear miles of rivers and streams. It is renowned for the Jordan River - the first river in Michigan to be designated wild and scenic under the state's Natural Rivers Act and a blue ribbon trout stream. The watershed possesses a full range of ecological components resulting in a high degree of biodiversity and biologic integrity including: large blocks of forested land, unfragmented. headwaters, intact integrated riparian zones, contiguous greenbelts and ecologic corridors.

The Friends of the Jordan River Watershed was established in 1990 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and preservation of the watershed. Over the years, the organization has hosted numerous public information seminars and activities. It networks with a multitude of groups and organizations and mentors students on water quality and natural resource issues. They are tireless advocates for the natural features of the Jordan River Watershed, seeking ways to remediate past abuses and striving to balance sustainable use for the future.

The springs which form the Jordan River bubble out of high glacial plains in northeastern Antrim County. It is within these very plains that it is proposed to dispose of cement kiln dust leachate from the Bay Harbor site in Petoskey through deep well injection. Over the past 4 years, the Friends of the Jordan River Watershed, led with eloquence, imperturbable determination and great technical acuity by John, has fought to prevent this action. Funds to support this protracted legal battle, like friends of the watershed itself, have literally come from all over the world, an indication of the rare quality of the resource and the high standards of stewardship devoted to its protection.

Along with this ongoing challenge, John is at the leading edge of confronting issues associated with wood-burning biomass plants, is seeking "old growth" status for Jordan River watershed forests and is initiating a biodiversity stewardship project.

Please join me in welcoming and congratulating Dr. John Richter!

Mark Robinson
American Society of Landscape Architects

On April 16th, 2010 Northern Michigan Environmental Council (NMEAC) held its 30th Annual Awards Ceremony at the Park Place Hotel in Traverse City. This is a special night in the environmental community where various individuals and organizations are recognized for their outstanding contributions to the environment of Northern Michigan.

This year FOJ’s Vice President, Ray Bier, was voted “Environmentalist of the Year” in the Volunteer category for his long term commitments protecting the Jordan River Watershed and especially for his work to stop the Alba waste injection well.

Ray led FOJ’s strategic and highly successful public relations campaign to stop the Alba well and currently represents FOJ on the Regional Stakeholders’ Group (RSG). This diverse group has been meeting twice monthly for nine months trying to identify proper cleanup and disposal methods for the massive cement kiln dust contamination at Bay Harbor Resort. His efforts require enormous amounts of time, energy and dedication all done on a volunteer basis. Congratulations Ray for this much deserved award.

Other FOJ members were also nominated for recognition by NMEAC. Rick Beemon was nominated in the Journalism category for his diligent work video recording and documenting FOJ events and meetings for Cable Access TV and for our own superb website. Rick has made good use of our recently purchased, state of the art, recording equipment and produced numerous important videos for our website or archived in FOJ’s files. FOJ hopes to make this technology available to others for educational or informational use. Well done Rick and congratulations.

Anne Zukowski and Michelle Nerone were also nominated for recognition for their energetic volunteer contributions to FOJ and environmental protection activities. Both of these individuals perform the many behind the scenes tasks that are essential for any organization to function. Once again, a well deserved congratulations. What would we do without you all?

Finally, Dr. Ed Timm was once again nominated in the Professional category, even though all the work he did for FOJ was on a volunteer basis. Dr. Timm poured over the mountains of technical data regarding the contamination Bay Harbor and the Alba waste injection well. His 30+ years as a chemical engineer made him uniquely qualified to assess these data and advise not only FOJ but the RSG as well. Dr. Timm is another unsung hero in the fight to protect the natural resources of Northern Michigan. We all owe him a great big debt of gratitude. Thanks Dr. Timm.

During the evening’s presentations, FOJ’s President, Dr. John Richter spoke about the values of our forests and the threats posed to them by the “Biomass” burning of trees for electricity. He called for a state-wide moratorium on building power plants designed to burn trees and that biodiversity be used as a measure of forest health instead of renewable or sustainable.

We are proud to announce that on April 17, 2009 the Northwest Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) acknowledges Friends of the Jordan River Watershed/POWER Coalition as 2008-09 Environmentalist of the Year
in the Grass Roots Organization category for its advocacy and diligent efforts to oppose the Alba Injection Well and to offer reasonable and responsible solutions to the Bay Harbor environmental disaster.

We appreciate the support of our members and the community in these efforts and ask for your ongoing assistance in this vital work.

On April 16, 2008 the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) presented its “Environmentalist of the Year” awards recognizing individuals, students, educators, journalists, public service employees, volunteers and businesses who best represent the most outstanding individuals involved in environmental advocacy and action throughout northern Michigan. 12 awards were presented from a group of 36 nominees. The Friends of the Jordan River Watershed is pleased to announce that President John Richter was awarded Environmentalist of the Year (General) “for his leadership of Friends of the Jordan River Watershed, his efforts to stop gas and oil drilling within the boundaries of the Jordan River Natural Area, and for valuing and protecting this wonderful natural resource as his life’s work.

“Led by Dr. Richter, the Friends of the Jordan have allied with Star Township and Antrim County to challenge construction of an injection well at Alba, headwaters of the Lake Charlevoix and other major river watersheds. CMS Energy plans to transport 135,000 gallons of toxic leachate a day emanating from kiln dust (CKD) under the Bay Harbor Golf Course, to Alba. Friends of the Jordan River have criticized CMS, and Bay Harbor for creating golf courses using uncapped CKD as a base. Golf course watering contributes to the hazardous leachate that is planned for disposal at Alba.

The keynote speaker at the award ceremony was Dr. Howard Tanner, Director of the DNR for 8 years under Governor Milliken’s administration. Gov. William Milliken and Dr Howard Tanner were founding fathers of the Jordan River State Forest. Accepting the award, Richter stated, “This award given by NMEAC affirms the important work done by members of Friends of the Jordan. It was particularly meaningful to accept this award in the presence of Michigan conservation giants Governor Milliken and Dr. Tanner.”

"East Jordan Issues Honors" January 26, 2008
The East Jordan Chamber of Commerce annual meeting held at Castle Farms issued honors for its "Citizen of the Year", "Ambassador of the Year" and the "Renaissance Award". John Richter , representing Friends of the Jordan River Watershed, received the "Renaissance Award". "The Friends of the Jordan River Watershed are being recognized for their magnificent restoration and renovation of one of East Jordan's oldest commercial buildings - not only is it the place where several communities meet - but it will be the catalyst for the future as East Jordan continues to carve its niche as a nature based tourist destination," chamber president, Mary Faculak said.

On Nov 17, 2005 The Board Members of the Friends of the Jordan recognized FOJ President John Richter for his dedication to the environment and substantial contribution to the organization, by presenting him with a framed photograph of the Jordan River from the Visions of the Valley photography contest. Vice President Joe Nerone made the presentation acknowledging John as the "Best Friend of the Jordan".

1971 - Marquette, Michigan

Governor Milliken presenting Conservation Organization Award to the Jordan River Watershed Commission by Michigan United Conservation Clubs and the National Wildlife Federation.

Shown on the right is Dr. David Pray accepting the award.

Below are just a few of the many awards presented to our organization over the years.

Environmentalist 2008 Direct Impact Rivers - Trails Environmental Leadership Environmentalist 2009 Certificate of Adoption MDOT 2008 Renaissance Award 2008 Special Tribute 2007 jquery slideshow with lightboxby VisualLightBox.com v6.0