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Perseverance and other Grand Rapids WhiteWater values

It has been a significant couple of weeks for Grand Rapids WhiteWater. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) determined that, as of September 9, 2022, our application to revitalize the Lower Reach (130 feet upstream of Bridge Street south to Fulton Street) is “Administratively Complete.” 

To get here, over the past two years, GRWW and the City modified the design, answered questions, provided hydraulic models and other scientific support, and filed literally thousands of pages of material. We feel confident we have balanced the many, complicated project constraints and demonstrated the overall environmental impact of the project is positive. 

While we are confident the application meets every applicable law and regulation, we are not done yet. Multi-partner, collaborative work takes time and effort. 

To that end, the board of directors of Grand Rapids Whitewater revised its bylaws at its September meeting to add the value “perseverance.” A little unusually, GRWW includes our mission, vision, and values in our bylaws. 

The newly added value states that 

“GRWW values …. (f) Perseverance – the ability as an organization to have the grit and tenacity to overcome all barriers, challenges, and delays to accomplish the mission and vision.”

The GRWW mission, vision and values in their entirety are: 

Section 2. Mission. 

GRWW’s mission is to recreate the spirit of the iconic grand rapids; to make the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids a more natural river environment and to enhance the sustainability of fish, wildlife and natural resources and provide access to recreation and fitness opportunities to all. Specifically, GRWW’s mission is to:

  • Reduce public safety hazards generated by low-head dams by removing the dams, 
  • Create diverse riffles, runs, waves, and pools to restore aquatic riverine habitat and diversity,
  • Improve fish passage,
  • Recapture the sight, sound, and spirit of the historic and iconic rapids, for which the City is named, and
  • Enhancing distinctive recreational opportunities such as wading, angling, and whitewater paddling sports, that are safe, interesting, and substantial enough to engage residents, attract tourists, and serve as a catalyst for local, regional, and equitable economic development opportunities.

Section 3. Vision. GRWW envisions a clean, accessible, eco-friendly river flowing through the center of the City of Grand Rapids with rapids that justify the adjective Grand. A river that contributes to the City’s natural beauty, the health and recreational opportunities of its people and the continued success of Grand Rapids.

Section 4. Values.  

GRWW values 

  1. Nature – particularly the beauty and power of a free-flowing Grand River with more natural structure, fauna, and firma. 
  2. Stewardship – of the Grand River itself, the heritage of the river and of the resources entrusted to GRWW. 
  3. Health and recreation – the health benefits, both physical and psychological, realized by individuals who have access to a natural river and the individual and community benefits of ready access to multiple forms of water recreations within the river.
  4. Equity and inclusion – in all facets of GRWW’s mission, including project development, construction, and recreational and economic opportunity. Seeing the river as a community asset that creates health, recreational and economic opportunities for all, both during the project and after its completion.  
  5. Strategic community building – participation in a thoughtful, collaborative, broad based and objective-oriented community project.
  6. Perseverance – the ability as an organization to have the grit and tenacity to overcome all barriers, challenges, and delays to accomplish the mission and vision. 

As of today, the EGLE public comment period is closed. We are excited to reach this important milestone and look forward to working with EGLE to resolve any outstanding questions as they review our permit application.