Author Archive

Discount Rain Barrels

The Alliance of Downriver Watersheds Hosts Spring Sale

Save Water and Money and Protect Local Water Resources

Go to www.greatlakesrainbarrel.com now through Wednesday, April 23, 2014 and use the promo code ‘SAVEWATER’ to order your rain barrels in advance FOR PICK UP ADW-Rain-Barrel-SaleON Saturday, April 26, 9:30am-12:30pm at Brownstown Township Hall, 21313 Telegraph Road.

Rain barrels are priced at $79 for a 65-gallon 85% recycled content model in charcoal or $89 for a classic edition barrel in granite – these prices are $10 off regular retail rates.

Rain barrels collect rainwater from rooftops and save homeowners water, energy and money by reducing summer tap water needs. The stored water can be used by homeowners to irrigate gardens and lawns where the water will slowly infiltrate into the soil and plants. In addition, rain barrels also slow the rapid flow of water entering the stormwater system—storm drains, culverts, rivers and lakes—and help reduce soil erosion and flooding. MORE rain barrel resources HERE.

Questions?  Contact Great Lakes Rain Barrel (248) 477-3242, info@greatlakesrainbarrel.com.

Go to www.greatlakesrainbarrel.com to use the promotional code ‘SAVEWATER’ and order your rain barrel.

Native Plants and Rain Garden Information

Ask the Expert! Get Design and Installation Advice!
Saturday, March 15, 10am-2pm
Sunday, March 16, Noon-4pm

1280px-Echinacea_purpurea_Punahattu_Arto_AlanenpääVisit 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).

Booth: E169
Home, Garden & Lifestyle Show, March 14-16
Friday 2-8pm
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, plabadie@hrwc.org, (734) 769-5123 x 602.

Save Water, Save Energy, Win Free Water

That’s right! HRWC will pay the April water bill for three lucky families in the Huron River watershed, up to $250 each!Pledge, Save, Win

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.

“Pledge, Save, Win” is a campaign of the Saving Water Saves Energy Project, funded by a grant from the Masco Corporation Foundation.

Master Rain Gardener Training Class Offered in March

New Year’s Resolution #1: Become a Master Rain GardenerResidential Rain Garden

Train as a Master Rain Gardener – add another skill to your portfolio – and become a resource for your neighborhood by keeping river water clean!  Rain Gardens filter and cool storm water so that our streams and rivers run clean.  It is a nonpoint solution for nonpoint source pollution.  Anyone can plant one in their own back yard.  The Washtenaw County Water Resources office has been building rain gardens for 8 years, and has built more than 140 rain gardens – we can pass along what we have learned to you.  Visit the Master Rain Gardener Hall of Fame (photos).

Thursday mornings 9:30am-12:30, February 27 – March 27, 2014.

Attendees must attend all five classes, and plant a rain garden to receive their Master Rain Gardener certificate.  

Location:  705 N. Zeeb, MSU Extension Classroom

Cost:  $90  (Scholarships available)

Instructors:  Harry Sheehan, Shannan Gibb-Randall, RLA, Susan Bryan, MLA

Questions?   Bryans@ewashtenaw.org  or 734-730-9025   www.ewashtenaw.org/raingardens

To register for the class, use the Rec & Ed registration page – click HERE.

Or, register in person/phone/mail by calling Linda Brzezinski 734-994-2300 x53203 or mailing your check and this form c/o her to: Rec & Ed, 1515 S. Seventh St, Ann Arbor MI 48103.

  • You will need to write a short paragraph answering these questions:  1) Tell us a little about your gardening experience.  2) Are you a Master Gardener? (not required) 3) Why do you want to become a Master Rain Gardener?
  • Residents of Miller Avenue (Newport to Maple), and W. Madison Street receive a discount.  E-mail bryans@ewashtenaw.org for details.

Quiet Water Symposium, Saturday, March 1, 2014

Mark your calendar for this year’s hottest outdoor recreation event!

The 19th Annual Quiet Water Symposium celebrates non-motorized outdoor recreation and a shared concern for our Great Lakes environment with a day of talks and exhibits fromQuiet Water Symposium outdoor recreation providers and experts.

Date:  Saturday March 1, 2014

Location: The Pavilion for Livestock and Agriculture Education
(Farm Lane, south of Mt Hope – on the campus of MSU)

Time: 9am to 5:30pm

Admission: Adults $10.00 Students (with ID) $5.00 – under 12 Free

With 1500 attendees and another 500 exhibitor and volunteers, the Quiet Water Symposium is the largest one day show of its type in the nation.

This year’s program will include entertaining presentations on outdoor activities such as canoeing, camping, hiking and general outdoor skills by noted authors including, Kevin Callan, Cliff Jacobson and the McGuffins.  Along with these seminars will be interactive displays manned by knowledgeable enthusiasts and experts on topics such as wooden boat building, camp cooking, cycling, kayaking and protecting our watersheds and environment.  In addition to displays, many vendors will be available to help you chose the right gear or classes of interest.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.quietwatersymposium.org

The Huron River Water Trail will be at this year’s QWS. The Water Trail is a 104-mile inland paddling trail connecting people to the Huron’s natural environment, its history, and the communities it touches in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The Huron River Water Trail is a consortium of interested groups and communities, and is a project of the Huron River Watershed Council and RiverUp!. See www.riveruphuron.org and www.huronriverwatertrail.com for more information.

Videos That Make a Difference

PSAs, PSAs and more PSAs . . .A Hero Rises

In addition to HRWC’s own PSA,  “A Hero Rises”  produced by our Saving Water Saves Energy project with Detroit Public Television and funded by the Masco Corporation Foundation, we are happy to report that several local college students have been bitten by the film arts bug! I am currently working with a terrific group of Washtenaw Community College students and their instructor Matt Zacharias to review and debut a bevy of Huron-related PSAs (coming in January).

And this is just in from the University of Michigan!

Ever wonder how people understand and make sense of climate change? Ever wanted to convince people that the issue is important? Well now is your chance.

The Erb Institute, in collaboration with the department of Screen Arts & Cultures, has sponsored a competition to create the best student-produced video aimed at engaging the public in climate change.

Public voting for student-produced videos for the Climate Change Communication Challenge is now open!

They challenged U-M students to create a public service announcement that would inspire positive action on climate change. Eleven teams of students put their skills to the test. Now is your chance to weigh in on the best video!

The video receiving the most votes will receive the $1,500 Popular Vote Award. The poll closes at 12 PM EST onThursday, November 21.

Spread the word! Encourage your friends, family, students, and colleagues to vote!


2014 Watershed Community Calendar

Get your hero on!

The communities of the Huron River watershed have come together to produce another spectacular calendar. Chock full of stunning Huron River photography, stormwater pollution2014 Watershed Community Calendar prevention tips and local resources, this year’s version features 15 of your neighbors who are doing their part to protect water quality in their everyday actions!

Your mission if you choose to accept it is to become an H2O Hero yourself. Pick a sidekick, choose your color, select hero gear and decide which “bad guys” you will fight. You can get your hero on in seven easy steps — check the hero handbook that starts on page 28 of the calendar. Once you’ve done it, “like” HRWC on Facebook and update us with your hero name (clever or not). We’ll enter you to win one of 50 H2O Hero t-shirts that we’ll give away in January.

How to get your calendar.

By mail.  City of Ann Arbor, City of Brighton and Village of Dexter are direct-mailing to most households in their communities the week of November 4th.

In person.  Calendars will be at these customer service counters:2014CalendarJanuaryPhoto2014-CalendarJanuaryTip
-Livingston County Drain Commission and Road Commission
-Washtenaw County Water Resources Commission and Road Commission
-City of Ypsilanti
-Village of Pinckney
-Green Oak Charter Township
-Marion Township
-Pittsfield Charter Township
-Charter Township of Ypsilanti

From HRWC. Contact Pam Labadie at plabadie@hrwc.org or (734)769-5123 x 602. We can mail a calendar to you for $5 or you can pick one up for free at HRWC.

About the Calendar.

The 2014 Watershed Community Calendar is a collaborative effort to educate residents about the importance of water stewardship and nonpoint source pollution prevention. The communities listed above believe there are substantial benefits that can be derived by joining together and cooperatively managing the rivers, lakes, and streams within the watershed and in providing mutual assistance in meeting state water discharge permit requirements. HRWC would like to thank them for their continued support of the calendar program.

Laura Rubin, River Hero

River Network recognizes HRWC executive director for inspirational leadership.

Laura Rubin has been recognized as a 2013 River Hero by River Network, a national association of watershed protection groups. The award celebrates rivers and watersheds, recognizes victories, and honors those who provide leadership that inspires the work of others and uses innovative strategies and techniques to achieve significant results.

Laura Rubin

Laura with her River Hero award, a hand-carved paddle symbolizing how River Heroes work with and are guided by rivers.

Laura, who is celebrating 15 years at HRWC’s helm, has been instrumental in establishing HRWC’s reputation as a regional and national leader in river protection work. Her leadership makes it possible to undertake innovative new initiatives like RiverUp!, a million dollar campaign for a river renaissance of the Huron River.

HRWC is known for its outstanding citizen scientist programs like Adopt-A-Stream and the Bioreserve Project, its stormwater and pollution management services for regulated communities, and programs that address natural areas protection, climate resiliency and water efficiency.  Laura’s efforts have shaped HRWC into an organization that provides a framework for local governments, citizens, non-profits, industries and regulators to partner for the benefit of the Huron River and its watershed.

Rubin and HRWC have made a difference.  A few notable achievements include:

  1. Implementing the first phosphorus reduction strategy in the state and seeing phosphorus numbers falling;
  2. Seeing the Village of Dexter embrace the river and build a vibrant downtown around the river through the successful removal of Dexter Dam;
  3. Protecting over 6,000 acres of high quality natural area and farmland with our partners in the watershed;
  4. Tackling climate issues making local communities more climate resilient and residents aware that saving waters, saves energy; and
  5. Developing a sound financial foundation for the organization, with a diverse source of funding. HRWC’s budget and ability to implement water quality programs has increased more than tenfold in her tenure, with an annual budget of $1,200,000 for fiscal year 2014.

“Laura has exceeded our expectations in building and leading team success–success in achieving measurable water quality results while creating programs designed to measure and accelerate further improvement of water quality throughout the watershed,” Evan Pratt, Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner and HRWC Board Chair.

Laura Rubin and Matt Naud

Laura Rubin and Matt Naud, City of Ann Arbor Environmental Coordinator.

Laura and four others were named River Heroes at River Network’s national conference, River Rally, in May. Long time colleague and friend Matt Naud, Environmental Coordinator for the City of Ann Arbor traveled to St. Louis to introduce Laura at the award ceremony.  “She has enthusiastically led our communities to the river . . . and we are better for it. Neither the Huron River nor the watershed communities who enjoy her will ever be the same thanks to our River Hero, Laura Rubin,” stated Matt.

Laura has also been recognized for her outstanding public service with a “Special Tribute” from the State of Michigan and a “Proclamation” from the City of Ann Arbor declaring May 20, 2013 “Laura Rubin Day”.

Congratulations Laura!

Catch the video of the award ceremony at River Rally.

Leslie Park Golf Course Project Benefits Traver Creek

Grand Opening Celebration, Saturday, June 22, 5:30 to 8pm.

The City of Ann Arbor, in partnership with the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office, recently completed a streambank stabilization project on Traver Creek,

Traver Creek Restoration

Photo: Scott Spooner

extending through the Leslie Park Golf Course. The project corrected severe streambank erosion and addressed high volumes of sediment and attached pollutants that were being removed and deposited downstream.

This project is a partnership between the city and the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office. Departments within the city that worked collaboratively include Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation, Natural Area Preservation and Water Quality Management.

The scope of this project included Traver Creek being regraded, stabilized and naturalized. This project will alleviate downstream flooding, and address bank erosion as well as reduction of the phosphorus load in Traver Creek, tributary to the Huron River. In addition, there was an opportunity to create an area with native wetland plantings to establish an inline constructed wetland. Constructed wetlands are one of the best methods for pollutant removal, mitigation of peak flow rates and even reduce runoff volumes. They also can provide considerable aesthetic and wildlife benefits.

Interesting project-related facts:

  • Length of channel: 3,300 feet
  • Earth moved: 30,000 cubic yards
  • Native Area/Wetland created: 6.5 acres
  • Native restoration: 10.2 acres
  • Erosion prevented: 687 tons annually
  • Native trees planted: 79
  • Native shrubs planted: 347
  • Species of wildflower seed planted: over 50
  • Daylighted/reestablished the Arrowwood branch of the Traver Creek
  • Aquatic habitat structures installed to create riffles and runs
  • Approximately $865,000 received in grant funding for water quality improvements

Flooding and bank erosion not only affect water quality, but increase golf course maintenance and sometimes limit golf play. For these reasons, the project was designed to help stabilize the creek channel and increase the drainage capacity of Traver Creek on Leslie Park Golf Course. The ponds on holes 12 and 17 were reconfigured to slow runoff that occurs after a rainstorm and will help capture sediment.

HRWC staff and volunteers conducted water quality monitoring prior to and during construction. We plan to continue monitoring for the coming 3-5 years to determine effectiveness of the project. Prior to the project, it was determined that the section of creek being repaired was releasing 48% more phosphorus than upstream and 200% more than downstream sections. Also, HRWC volunteers, along with Leslie Science and Nature Center camp youth conducted benthic macroinvertebrate evaluation, temperature study, and water chemistry analysis.

The public is invited to see and learn how the improvements benefit water quality, the environment, and enhance the golfing experience at the award winning Leslie Park Golf Course. The grand opening event takes place Saturday, June 22, 5:30 to 8 p.m. and will feature tours, games, and refreshments will be served.

Washtenaw County Parks Wants YOU!

Take a survey to help inform the Parks and Recreation Commission master plan.

You’re on the golf course, and you’re about to take your next shot. Your eyes narrow on the flag. You take a few deep breaths and let them out. Listen to the wind and the birds sing. You swing your club and it whistles through the air. Your friend shakes his head. He knows he lost yet another round. You look around and glory in your success. Isn’t it great that you have this area in which you can play golf, enjoy the sun, and witness your friends lose? Now imagine if this didn’t exist…

The Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission is working on a master plan that acts as a guide to the development and operation of the county’s parks, preserves, and other recreational activities. Included in these activities are multiple recreation centers, water parks, and — you guessed it! — a golf course. In order to manage these areas to the best of their ability, they need information from you!

You can fill out their survey here:  Washtenaw County Parks Survey. By giving your feedback, YOU can have a direct say in how your parks will be managed.

Plus, you can enter a drawing to win one of several prizes. Five lucky participants will receive one of the following: a pass to the Rolling Hills Water Park or Independence Lake’s Blue Heron Bay Spray Zone; Yearly Vehicle Entry Pass; a round of golf at Pierce Lake Golf Course; or a day pass to the Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center.

If you have any other questions or additional comments, you can contact Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation office via phone at 734-971-6337 or via email at parks@ewashtenaw.org.

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