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Large view calendar: Here



TRC Meetings

Agendas and Minutes



Become a

TRC Contact

Stay infomed of Watersheds issues and events


Useful Links


Agencies & Organizations


 24-Hour Pollution Hotlines

Play a part in keeping our lakes, streams and rivers clean.

Report Activities That Are Causing Water Pollution!


Septic Systems 

How they work (video)

How to maintain (info)


Fracking in Michigan

Presentation Slides

Speaker Contact Info


Garlic Mustard

A major threat to our woodlands!

Identification and Control



Keep our water clean!

Use Phosphourous Free Fertilizers


Paw Paw River Odyssey 2010

Enjoy Kevin Haight's chronicle of his paddle from the Paw Paw Maple Lake Dam to the confluence with the St Joe River - 66 river miles!

Two Rivers Coalition

    *Monthly Meeting: 3rd Tuesday of the Month

Welcome! Explore and discover with us,
the Black and Paw Paw Rivers and all the
streams that flow into them!

Find TRC on Facebook


  Click Map for larger image 


Learn what you can do to help protect and improve the wonderful resources in these watersheds. Learn about the Two Rivers Coalition, Inc., a citizen based group working to protect the health of the Black River and Paw Paw River Watersheds through conservation, education, and advocacy.

Our goal is to be your source of information about the Black and Paw Paw River Watersheds here in Southwest Michigan.  We hope our web site will provide you with accurate and thought provoking information about these watersheds and the community we live in.  We believe that an informed and engaged community is the key to making this one of the best places to live and play. Please look around and let us know if there is information that you would like for us to include on our web site. Looking for a specific topic?  Try Search at the top of the page.

The Black and Paw Paw Rivers drain lands in Allegan, Berrien, Kalamazoo and Van Buren Counties.  The Black River flows into Lake Michigan at South Haven.  In Benton Harbor, the Paw Paw River flows into the St. Joseph River which then flows a short distance to Lake Michigan.  Some say that the St. Joseph River is actually the Great South Branch of the Paw Paw River.


How will Climate Change Affect              Southwest Michigan?

Attendees of the TRC 10th Annual Meeting on November 8, 2018 were treated to a highly informative and persuasive presentation by Dr. David Karowe of WMU. He explained the scientific evidence which absolutely establishes the dominant role humans are playing in the warming of the planet. He went on to explain what life will be like in the Great Lakes by the end of this century under two scenarios: business as usual (do nothing) or return to the Paris Climate Agreement. There will be rising summer and winter temps, earlier and more severe spring floods, more frequent and more intense rain events, and more severe late summer droughts. We could lose iconic tree species like White Pine and Sugar Maple. Bottom line is that if we do nothing different, by the end of the century we will not recognize the place we call Michigan. But, if we act quickly, we can still choose the type of planet we leave to future generations.

Click here to see the full presentation.

Learn more about the Paw Paw River Water Trail on their new website



Upcoming Events in 2020:

Sunday Sept 27

Paw Paw River Up and Back Adventure Paddle

   If you have a canoe or kayak, a P.F.D., a sense of adventure, and are a strong paddler, please consider joining TRC for an all day adventure paddle. We will be departing the Graham Ave Boat Launch in Benton Harbor at 9 am and will paddle 5 miles upstream to Sarett Nature Center's Brown Sanctuary. Depending on water levels, we may spend some time exploring the marsh and eating lunch (bring your own). We will then paddle 5 miles downstream back to Graham Ave. You need to be a strong paddler since part of the trip will be against the current, there may be strong headwinds, and there is nowhere to take out. There may also be downed trees to portage around. Bring appropriate clothing for changing weather conditions. And remember, bringing and wearing a P.F.D. is required to be part of this group paddle.  


Fall Volunteer Stream Monitoring for Macroinvertebrates

Sunday Oct 4

Many people tell us this is the most fun they and their families ever had wading in a creek with a net or squatting on the muddy bank of a stream sorting out aquatic insects from woody debris. All in the name of citizen science as we continue our partnership with VBCD to get more data on the aquatic insect species living in our streams.

Due to COVID-19, we have decided to reach out to volunteers and their families by invitation only in hopes to limit the amount of multiple-household interaction. We are asking volunteers to RSVP by Wednesday, September 30th so we can assign sites and organize teams. Please note that a RSVP is required this year, as we try to maintain safety for all our volunteers. We appreciate your understanding in these strange times and your commitment to help monitor Van Buren County's important rivers and streams!

What to Expect


Please complete the Invitation Form HERE (or paste this link into your address bar: ) The form should take about 3 minutes.

Site Assignment

A few days before the event, you will be sent an email with your Sampling Leader's name and directions to your monitoring site. You can expect your team to monitor one river and one stream. All sites are within Van Buren county, and we will try to organize teams based on your location to the best of our ability.


All necessary equipment will be provided by the VBCD, but it may be a bit chilly in early October and we will be working in and around water, so please dress appropriately! 

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to Abbie Bristol, who is the new Van Buren Conservation District liaison for this joint program at  Or you can call the VBCD office: 269-657-4030x5.
Thank you for helping TRC and VBCD continue to compile data on water quality in our local streams.



Sunday Oct 25

Black River Fall Color Paddle

Bring your own boat and P.F.D. and join TRC for a fun and relatively easy up and back late season paddle on the BlacK River. We will start at 10 am from the Black River Park kayak launch in South Haven and paddle upstream for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. We may paddle and explore a short way up the North Branch as well. Then we will turn around and head back to Black River Park. The current will not be a problem but be prepared for possibly strong headwinds. Dress appropriately for changing weather conditions. Bringing and wearing a P.F.D. is required to be part of this group paddle.


Two Rivers Coalition 12th Annual Meeting on Wednesday Dec 2

Save the date!


2019 annual meeting flyer

     Two Rivers Coalition Annual Meeting, Thursday November 7     

There are other ecosystems besides beautiful forests, pristine lakes, and clear rivers here in our little corner of paradise. We also have prairie fens, coastal plain marshes, and drowned river valleys, to name just a few. Come learn about some of these fascinating and unique local ecosystems at the Two Rivers Coalition (TRC) annual meeting on Thursday, November 7.

The TRC 11th Annual Meeting will take place at the Van Buren Conference Center in Lawrence MI, located at 490 S. Paw Paw Street.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for enjoying home-made desserts, browsing table displays from local environmental groups, and bidding on silent auction items donated by local artists. Free sample packets of native flower seeds will be given to the first 100 attendees, courtesy of Cardno Native Plant Nursey.

The main program begins at 7:00 p.m. and will include a review of TRC projects throughout the year such as macroinvertebrate sampling, river clean-ups, and E. coli testing with sniffer dogs. Also, there will be an update for paddlers about the very successful Paw Paw River Water Trail. The keynote presentation will follow, given by Ryan Postema, Executive Director of Chikaming Open Lands, and is titled, “Rare and Unique Ecosystems of Southwest Michigan”.

This meeting on Thursday Nov. 7 is free and open to the public. TRC is a volunteer, non-profit environmental organization concerned with the health of the Black River and Paw Paw River watersheds. For more information, please go to and/or find us on Facebook: @TwoRiversCoalition.


line 5 pic

Or Why Two Rivers Coalition is Calling for the Shutdown of Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac

At its July meeting, the TRC Board of Directors passed a resolution calling for the immediate shutdown of Line 5 which carries crude oil products under the Straits of Mackinac. My job is not to convince anyone of the correctness of this decision, but rather, to explain why we felt it was an appropriate action for a local environmental group to take. Remember, the mission of TRC is to…”protect the health of the Black River and Paw Paw River watersheds through conservation, education, and advocacy.” As a water quality organization, we believe it is just not enough to work to protect the water only until it runs into Lake Michigan.

Continue Reading Risk vs Reward (click on for full write-up)

Two Rivers Coalition Resolution Calling for Shutdown of Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac


Because of Two Rivers Coalition’s paramount interest in protecting the waters of the State of Michigan and the entire Great Lakes Basin to which the Paw Paw River and Black River flow, and because the potential risk to those waters from a spill or leak from the sixty-four year old Line 5 pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac is potentially catastrophic in terms of both environmental and economic damage, and because the risks of such a catastrophe far outweigh any short-term benefits to the people of the State of Michigan from continued transportation of crude oil products through Line 5,

THEREFORE, Two Rivers Coalition calls upon elected state and federal governmental representatives and relevant regulatory entities to immediately shut down Line 5.

Adopted July 12, 2017

About Enbridge Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac

JUNE 26, 2017

Watch the Oil & Water Don't Mix video presentation about Enbridge Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac.

Also, here is a link to a site about Line 5 run by the State of Michigan:


You can submit a comment to the State of Michigan about Line 5 from either of these websites.




Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program

ATTENTION: Due to high water levels, the May 5 volunteer macroinvertebrate collection has been postponed until Sunday May 19.

Sunday May 19- Volunteer Stream Monitoring/Macroinvertebrate Collection


Congratulations to Two Rivers Coalition and Van Buren Conservation District on being award the MiCorps Michigan Volunteer Stream Monitoring Grant for 2014.  The start-up grant was for $2,923 to establish a macroinvertebrate monitoring program along the middle section of the Paw Paw River watershed, which is a tributary to the St. Joseph River.  For more information go to Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) Program


2016 Fall Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program Macroinvertebrate Collection

Paw Paw River & Black River Watersheds


Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program Morning Training & Collection

Sunday, October 2, 2016, Lawrence River Park, Van Buren County

Volunteers gathered together at 9am to learn about the Volunteer Steam Monitoring Program and Insect Collections in the Paw Paw and Black River Watershed, Van Buren County. Two Rivers Coalition and Van Buren Conservation District introduced their board members and staff and gave a short update of their organization.

Individuals were divided into six teams, assigned a team leader and sent off to their designated locations with the proper equipment.

Read more...Volunteer Stream Monitoring Article PDF 

Interview:  Two Rivers Coalition Collecting Insects From Paw Paw River


Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program Page 

Are you into horror flicks?  Here is one that will make your blood run cold: Oil and Water


Hydraulic Fracturing or "Fracking" - TRC"s Endorsement to Ban in Michigan


Motion - August 12, 2015 Board Meeting:  TRC officially endorses petition to ban fracking in Michigan because of potential threat to ground water and surface water resources in Michigan. 

The ballot summary on the circulating petition is:[8]


An initiation of legislation to prohibit the use of horizontal hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” and acid completion treatments of horizontal gas and oil wells; to prohibit emission, production, storage, disposal, and processing of frack and acidizing wastes created by gas and oil well operations; to eliminate the state’s policy favoring ultimate recovery of maximum production of oil and gas; to protect water resources, land, air, climate, and public health; and to allow residents to enforce the provisions of this ballot language, by amending Public Act 451 of 1994 entitled “Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act,” by amending section 61528, 61529 and 61530.[9]



Anti-fracking ballot effort fails to collect enough signatures, seeks more volunteers (link to article)






The Story of Bottled Water(Click for Video)

This page last updated on 9/20/2020.