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!
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 pollution 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:
-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
-Pittsfield Charter Township
-Charter Township of Ypsilanti
From HRWC. Contact Pam Labadie at firstname.lastname@example.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.
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, 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:
- Implementing the first phosphorus reduction strategy in the state and seeing phosphorus numbers falling;
- Seeing the Village of Dexter embrace the river and build a vibrant downtown around the river through the successful removal of Dexter Dam;
- Protecting over 6,000 acres of high quality natural area and farmland with our partners in the watershed;
- Tackling climate issues making local communities more climate resilient and residents aware that saving waters, saves energy; and
- 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 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”.
Catch the video of the award ceremony at River Rally.
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,
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.
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 email@example.com.
Discount rain barrels for sale at two community events this spring!
Save at least 20% off regular prices. Two sales + one great supplier (Great Lakes Rain Barrel) = Water saved, Huron protected
Rain Barrels come with all parts needed for installation and operation and can be used “planter-style.”
Option 1 = Washtenaw County Area
Pre-order your barrel online by Monday May 13 and pick it up on Saturday May 18th.
Go to www.hrwc.org/rainbarrels for more information and to order.
Use promo code HRWC1 or HRWC2, depending on which barrel you want.
Discounted prices on a 65-gallon Rain Barrel (85% recycled RainStation in charcoal), $75, promo code HRWC1; OR a 65-gallon Rain Barrel (Granite Classic Edition), $85, promo code HRWC2. All pre-orders MUST be picked up at the sale location on the day of the event.
Pickup: Saturday, May 18, 9am-2pm
Washtenaw County Road Commission
555 N. Zeeb Rd., Ann Arbor, MI
Hosted by Great Lakes Rain Barrel, HRWC, the City of Ann Arbor, the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner, the Washtenaw County Road Commission, and Barton Hills Village.
Option 2 = Down River
Pre-order your barrel online by Monday May 6 and pick it up on Saturday May 11th.
Go to www.greatlakesrainbarrel.com for more information and to order.
Use promo code SAVEH2O.
Discounted price on a 65-gallon Rain Barrel (85% recycled RainStation in charcoal). The barrels are available for $75.00 (regular $99.99 value) using the promo code SAVEH2O. All pre-orders MUST be picked up at the sale location on the day of the event.
Pick Up: Saturday, May 11th 10am-2pm
Van Buren Township Hall
46425 Tyler Road
Belleville, MI 48111
Hosted by Great Lakes Rain Barrel and the Alliance of Downriver Watersheds.
Questions? Contact Great Lakes Rain Barrel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248.477.6988
Pledge to conserve water and reduce pollution!
The month of April is the Second Annual National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation, a friendly, community-based competition between cities across the nation to see who can be the most “water wise.”
Presented by the Wyland Foundation, the month-long Challenge invites city leaders and their residents to pledge to conserve water. All those who take the pledge are entered into a national competition with other communities to win hundreds of prizes – including a Toyota Prius, water saving fixtures and Never Waste water bottles from the Alliance for Water Efficiency. Last year residents from over 1,000 cities participated and pledged to save a total of 4.7 billion gallons of water.
HRWC Deputy Director Elizabeth Riggs helped pre-launch the campaign with a presentation to 6-8th grades at Tappan Middle School in Ann Arbor. HRWC and Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje were invited to introduce the Wyland Foundation’s mobile learning experience to the Tappan community and talk about HRWC’s work.
HRWC’s Saving Water Saves Energy program has lots of tips, tools and calculators on saving water, as well as a new 60-second PSA that promotes the connection between water and energy. Start your April by joining in the National Mayor’s Challenge and by going to www.h2oheroes.org to tap into the H2O Hero in you!
At the Home, Garden & Lifestyle Show, March 15-17
Saturday, March 16, 11am-5pm, Ask the Expert! Susan Bryan, Rain Garden Coordinator for the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office will be on hand to answer questions and offer advice on all things rain garden. Get a basic introduction or in-depth answers to your rain garden design and installation questions.
Throughout the weekend, HRWC and WCWRC are teaming up to share outdoor water saving tips, rain garden design and installation materials, native plant information and the H2O Heroes spring rain barrel sale with the public. Free copies of Landscaping for Water Quality, Garden Designs for Homeowners, 3rd Edition will be available.
Home, Garden & Lifestyle Show, March 15-17
Friday 3-9, Saturday 10-7, Sunday 11-5
Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds, 5055 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd
Admission $5, 12 and under free
Free tickets for HRWC members available — contact Pam, email@example.com, (734) 769-5123 x 602.
The Huron: Rivers of Michigan Series
By Kit Lane
Reviewed by Grace Shackman
Kit Lane has saved Huron River enthusiasts a great deal of time by collecting all the facts she can about our river. The Saugatuck-based author has written more than twenty books on Michigan history including one on John Allen, Ann Arbor’s co-founder, and four on other rivers in the state.
The book starts with an explanation of how the Huron was formed, followed by pre-settlement travelers’ accounts and information on early river communities. Lane explains why dams were built and discusses the issue of removal. Her chapter on environmental concerns goes into detail on the founding and work of the Huron River Watershed Council.
Lane includes specific information helpful to river users such as boating conditions, variety of rapids, parks, and trails. The second half of the book is devoted to a trip down the Huron listing all the public places where people can stop.
In the course of the book Lane answers several questions I’ve always wondered about. One is whether LaSalle really did use the Huron River when he took a trip across the state in 1680. Lane thinks he did and using a translation of his journal identifies where he stopped. Another is why the river wasn’t used by early settlers to move their supplies. The answer is it was too shallow after Rawsonville and the rock bottom didn’t allow deepening. One criticism, in two places she says that Ann Arbor was founded in 1823, when it was 1824, a fact she does get right in her book about John Allen.
Grace Shackman writes history articles for several local publications as well as teaching Washtenaw history and architecture at Washtenaw Community College.
The Huron: Rivers of Michigan Series, is 168 pages, with black and white maps, old postcard views, newly shot photographs, and a full index with bibliography. It retails for $18.50 and is available for purchase locally at the West Side Book Shop, 113 West Liberty, Ann Arbor.
HRWC would like to thank author Kit Lane for sharing her book with us and Grace Shackman for writing this review.
Sepp Holzer To Lecture on Ecological Farming Techniques at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Tuesday, April 2, 6:30-9pm
Rackham Amphitheatre, (Rackham Building, 4th floor)
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
In-depth Three Day Permaculture Course, April 2-4, 2013 also offered.
Permaculture is a whole-systems-design-approach to land, water, food, energy and buildings. When it comes to water, permaculture designers create landscapes that catch, store, clean and reuse water resources. These methods have numerous benefits to ecosystems and watersheds, including water conservation, aquifer restoration, minimizing soil runoff and erosion control. Permaculture utilizes organic agriculture practices, eliminating the use of toxic pesticides and chemicals that pollute our rivers, streams, and damage biodiversity. The goal of Permaculture design is to provide for human needs and protect diverse ecosystems, all within the flow of natural patterns and cycles.
Sepp Holzer has pioneered the use of ecological farming and Permaculture throughout the world. He began farming this way in Austria in the 1960’s after being unsuccessful with conventional agriculture methods. He is known as the “rebel farmer” because he persisted despite being fined and even threatened with prison. His “Krameterhoff” farm in the Austrian alps receives thousands of students and visitors each year.