The sun is brighter, the birds are more active, and the temperatures are warming. I even got showered by puddle water as I walked home yesterday on N. Main St.!
The record snow fall will turn in to stormwater with the potential for flooding and back-ups. In the past 2 weeks there have been numerous news articles about flood warnings and predictions. I won’t look in to my crystal ball but I will pass along some solid suggestions from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality on steps you can take to minimize flooding impacts.
Basically, as the weather warms, make sure you take these precautions at home:
- Clear stormdrains, catchbasins, or any kind of detention or yard drains you have from debris, ice, and litter;
- Check that any sumps or back-up generators are working;
- Clear gutters and downspouts of leaves, debris, and ice to expedite drainage
Yeah, you might be sore on Monday, but you’ll be drier in the weeks to come!
For more information about flooding risks, please visit the State’s website.
Ask the Expert! Get Design and Installation Advice!
Saturday, March 15, 10am-2pm
Sunday, March 16, Noon-4pm
Visit our booth at the Washtenaw Home, Garden & Lifestyle Show. We have two fantastic experts on hand to answer questions and offer advice on all things native plants and rain gardens: Susan Bryan, Rain Garden Coordinator for the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office and Drew Lathin, from Creating Sustainable Landscapes. Get a basic introduction or in-depth answers to your native plant and rain garden design and installation questions.
Throughout the three-day show, HRWC and WCWRC are teaming up to share outdoor water saving tips and native plant and rain garden design and installation materials and information with the public.
Free copies of Landscaping for Water Quality, Garden Designs for Homeowners, 3rd Edition will be available.
Susan will be at the booth on Saturday and Drew will be there Sunday for limited hours (see below).
Home, Garden & Lifestyle Show, March 14-16
Saturday 10am-7pm (expert available 10am-2pm)
Sunday 11am-5pm (expert available noon-4pm)
Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds, 5055 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd
Admission $5, 12 and under free
For info, contact Pam, email@example.com, (734) 769-5123 x 602.
There has been a wealth of relevant news we have run across here at HRWC over the past couple of weeks. So much so, that for this edition of News to Us, I couldn’t pick just five. So, in addition to the five article summaries I usually post, I have a list of headlines that may be of interest to you as well. Read about the loss of several key stream gages in the watershed, the proposed Lyndon Township sand mine, Ann Arbor’s new Green Streets policy and several articles on the implications of the severe winter weather we are experiencing.
Deal sought to keep flood predictor intact The Huron Clinton Metropark Authority recently pulled funding for several stream gages in the Huron River and its tributaries. These gages provide river flow measurements used by municipalities and other groups to monitor water levels in the river. Hamburg Township is one community looking into how to keep these gages in operation. They provide critical early warning during flood conditions.
The Crushing Cost of Climate Change: Why We Must Rethink America’s Infrastructure Investments Our nation’s aging infrastructure crisis coupled with more extreme weather events are adding up to burdensome level of expenses shouldered by states and local municipalities. This article discusses action at the national level to support critical infrastructure improvements and rebuilding after disasters.
Ann Arbor adopts ‘green streets’ policy to address stormwater runoff, pollution Ann Arbor’s City Council voted to adopt a policy that requires road projects to address stormwater. Road projects will use engineering and vegetation to infiltrate at least the first inch of rain from storms improving water quality and stream flows, reducing the risk of flooding and minimizing wear and tear on the stormwater system.
CHELSEA: Public sounds off about Lyndon Township sand mine proposal The public hearing pertaining to a proposed sand mine in Lyndon Township between the Pinckney and Waterloo Recreation Areas drew hundreds voicing opposition to the project including State Representative Gretchen Driskell. Concerns about water quality, groundwater wells, wildlife, traffic and noise were among those voiced at the public hearing. A second hearing is scheduled for March 13th and a petition is circulating for those who oppose the development.
Convicted sewage dumper loses another court challenge The conviction of a man charged with violating Michigan’s Natural Resources Protection Act, stands after a recent court challenge. Charges came from an incident where raw sewage was dumped into the Huron River for three days from a property owned by the defendant.
- Two Scio Properties Added to Greenbelt
- Brutal winter costly for Road Commission
- Spring flooding forecast for the Detroit and Ann Arbor areas: See where major flooding could be a problem
- News Briefs: Sewage overflows from manhole at Genoa condos
We are putting together a fantastic conference for you and couldn’t be more excited for the 2014 State of the Huron Conference!
Learn about the focus of the April 24th event including keynote speakers, conference theme, and registration details at www.hrwc.org/sohc2014.
Join us for the only conference dedicated solely to the Huron River where community leaders, planners, scientists, educators, engineers, residents, and business owners engage in a conversation and celebration of this irreplaceable river.
The Senate last night approved legislation from a bipartisan group of lawmakers to boost federal efforts against the harmful algae blooms that haunt many of the nation’s waters.
S. 1254, the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2013, is sponsored by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and 18 colleagues, would authorize interagency work on algae blooms and the dead zones, suffering from a lack of oxygen, or hypoxia, that they frequently spawn. The legislation would also create a national program with a research plan and action strategy. The legislation also requires the interagency Task Force to: (1) submit within 18 months to Congress and the President an integrated assessment that examines the causes, consequences, and approaches to reduce hypoxia and harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes; and (2) develop and submit to Congress a plan, based on such assessment, for reducing, mitigating, and controlling such hypoxia and blooms.
The upper chamber approved the legislation by unanimous consent.
Algae blooms, a result of nutrient pollution that washes off farm fields and suburban streets and comes from wastewater treatment plants, are an entrenched problem across the United States. Sprawling algae blooms on Florida’s east and west coasts this summer kept people from the water and contributed to the deaths of sea animals, including the highest recorded annual death count for manatees (Greenwire, Dec. 20, 2013). Closer to home, nuisance algal blooms impact Ford Lake and Belleville Lake, impoundments of the Huron River, reducing access to the waters for fishing, swimming, and other outdoor pursuits.
“We can’t sit back and let endangered creatures disappear along with jobs in the fishing industry,” Nelson said when he introduced the legislation in June.
Latest posts by Elizabeth Riggs (see all)
- Registration Now Open for 2014 State of the Huron Conference - February 28, 2014
- Senate approves bill to battle algal blooms - February 26, 2014
- Anita Twardesky joins RiverUp! - December 26, 2013
Final results of a 1.5 year study of sediment transport in Millers Creek within the City of Ann Arbor were recently released at a public meeting on February 5. The city contracted with Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. to conduct the study following a series of flooding events near the mouth of the creek. These floods were due to a new course the creek was taking following sediment build-up in its floodway. The study estimated that 47 tons of sediment were deposited in Ruthven Nature Area over a five-year period.
The study recommends a range of small and large projects to reduce future accumulation or sediment transport to the Huron River. Recommendations run from simple annual maintenance activities priced at $2-3,000 per year, but yielding little sediment removal, to the $1.5 million stream restoration design HRWC helped develop for the former Pfizer property (now owned by the University of Michigan). Recommended projects include a sediment trap and removal approach, as well as channel modification (and restoration) to reduce sediment loading at the source. Some recommendations can be undertaken directly by the City of Ann Arbor alone, while others require participation from Ann Arbor Public Schools or the University of Michigan. All recommended projects would further benefit the Huron River by reducing sediment and nutrient loading from Millers Creek.
City staff will share the study with the city council and submit select recommendations for stormwater funding. Take a look for yourself at the project website.
Now available in print or PDF
A four part series on the history of Michigan fish, featured in HRWC’s newsletter over the last two years, has been compiled into one document and is now available digitally and in print form. It is great for students, fishermen, history buffs, and everyone interested in fish and aquatic ecology.“Michigan boasts 11,00 lakes, 36,000 miles of streams and rivers, and is surrounded by the largest system of freshwater lakes on Earth. Over the past two hundred years, European settlers and their descendants have done much to alter these natural systems and the creatures that inhabit them. This special report examines how humans changed fish diversity and abundance in Michigan since 1830 through greed, stewardship, ignorance, and intention.”
If you would like a printed version, please email Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org. The printed version will not be mailed but will be available at the HRWC office for pickup. Supply is limited!
That’s right! HRWC will pay the April water bill for three lucky families in the Huron River watershed, up to $250 each!
HRWC’s “Pledge, Save, Win” Contest encourages watershed homeowners to make the connection between water and energy. Saving one, means saving the other. Up to 13% of our nation’s electrical energy goes to pumping, treating and heating our water supplies.
There are just three steps for entering.
1 — GO to www.h2oheroes.org, to watch a 60-second public service announcement.
2 — PLEDGE to do one or more activities to save water daily.
3 — REPORT what you did to save water by March 31, 2014. Reporting can come in the form of stories, videos, photos or other creative ideas. Winners will be selected based on creativity and effectiveness.
To help jump start your family’s efforts, www.h2oheroes.org has many tips and tools, including an online savings calculator, and a map to verify that you live in the boundaries of the Huron River watershed if you don’t know.
Winners will be announced by April 15, 2014.
Dexter’s Mill Creek Park recieves an award. Also, learn more about the problem underlying Michigan fish consumption advisories, what all this snow means as temperatures warm, and the status of negotiations on the future of Detroit Water and Sewer. Finally, we share two articles on proposed developments in the watershed that are making waves.
DEXTER: Dexter Village recognized by Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors for Mill Creek Park Area realtors give a nod to Dexter’s Mill Creek Park, awarding the Village of Dexter one of two Environmental Awareness Awards. Several groups came together including HRWC and the Village to remove a dam from Mill Creek in 2008. The dam removal and riverside improvements on this tributary of the Huron River show how social, cultural and ecological goals can align and result in something remarkable.
Michigan’s toxic fish face long recovery, state finds Most fish consumption advisories in the State are in place because of high levels of mercury and PCB’s in fish tissue. These pollutants are particularly challenging to reduce as the majority of the pollutants originate in places outside of Michigan and are deposited here when it rains. A sobering analysis conducted by MDEQ concludes clean-up requires global commitments to reduce emissions of these toxins and could take 50 or more years before we see improvements here in Michigan.
Could all this snow bring spring flooding in Ann Arbor? City official says it depends The weather forecast for next week shows warm temperatures at last. Will we see flooding as record setting snowfall accumulations melt?
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson on Detroit water deal: ‘We’re probably going to walk’
Many residents of the watershed receive their drinking water from Detroit Sewer and Water, particularly in Wayne County and parts of Oakland County. With major budget issues DSW has been in flux and one solution on the table is to create a regional water authority. Communities have mixed opinions on the current proposal for this new entity.
CHELSEA: Public hearing on Lyndon sand mine expected to attract concerned residents There are a couple of pending developments in the watershed that are creating a stir. This article shares a proposed sand mining operation in Lyndon Township near Green Lake and Waterloo Recreation Area. To voice your concerns, attend a public hearing scheduled for Monday February 17th at 7:00 PM at Sylvan Township Hall.
Development spurs debate Another development making headlines is a proposed subdivision on one of the last remaining natural areas on Woodland Lake in Brighton Township. A public hearing took place last week. A rezoning proposal now resides with the Livingston County Planning Commission.
Bucking the conventional feeling this winter, I have been loving all of this snow — this is how every winter should be! Avid cross country skiers everywhere agree.
Lest the record snow and polar vortexes (vortices?) distract us, or worse, make us wonder how we could be in the grip of global warming, take a look at the latest
New York Times article on the topic.
The article describes the alarming long term trends in snowfall and snowpack worldwide, and it reminds us all that, taken alone, local weather events on any given day or month cannot support or refute global climate change.
Among many alarming trends the article points out is that Europe has lost half its glacial ice since 1850; 2/3′s of Europe’s ski resorts could be closed by 2100; and the American West may lose 25 to 100 percent of its snowpack by then.
In the Great Lakes region, the number of days with snow cover has decreased by 5 days per decade, since 1975. The average snow depth has also decreased. Future projections predict later arrival of winter and earlier arrival of spring resulting in more precipitation falling as rain than snow (GLISA, Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region).
Of course, global warming is not just about inconveniencing a bunch of skiers. Those winter snows provide drinking water for us all and drought protection for farmers and forests.
So, next time you curse the snow delaying your morning commute, think about the likely future if current trends continue, and when you eventually get to the office or other workplace, give your Senator or Representative a call.