Archive for the ‘Bioreserve’ Category
Chances are good that if you’re a regular to HRWC blogs, then you’ve already heard about Senate Bill 78 that would prohibit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) from taking actions that achieve or maintain biological diversity. In doing so, it would prevent the department from carrying out a central tenet of its mission to conserve and protect our natural resources. Biological diversity is critical to our environmental legacy and to the health of the Huron River system.
The bill has passed the full Senate primarily along party-lines, despite the opposition of residents, professors from a number of Michigan’s universities, and environmental and conservation organizations.
Aside from restricting the ability of the DNR to make decisions based on a basic scientific principle, the legislation could also jeopardize Michigan’s ability to receive federal funding for forest management, endanger our forest certifications and put at risk areas of our state that have long been appreciated by Michigan residents for outdoor recreation and their scenic beauty.
The bill is now on its way to the House Natural Resources Committee. To share your views and concerns about SB 78, tell your State Representative to contact Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, Chairwoman of the House Natural Resources Committee, and urge her to stop this bill.
SB 78 is anything but Pure Michigan.
For additional reading on this issue, we recommend the following links:
“State Senate bill puts forests at risk of disease, pests, environmentalists say.” Detroit Free Press.
“Legislation redefining conservation puts Michigan’s diversity of nature at risk: MEC Commentary.” Detroit Free Press
“Anti-Biodiversity Bill hearings Continue.” MEC blog: http://michigandistilled.org/
Volunteer Vernal Pool Training
Help the Michigan DNR inventory Southeast Michigan’s Vernal Pools!
WHEN: Saturday, March 16, 10 am – 2:30pm (Alternate date if bad weather: March 30)
WHERE: Proud Lake Recreation Area
River Hawk Annex – Meeting Room
3500 Wixom Road, Commerce Township, MI 48382, (248) 685-2433
- Learn about vernal pools and why they are so important
- Become trained to identify, map and collect data on vernal pools
- Learn to identify frogs, salamanders and invertebrates
- Contribute to the state-wide vernal pools database
- This training involves hands-on practice outdoors so please come prepared for weather and mud (boots and rain gear)
- Bring a sack lunch. We will provide water and snacks!
- Volunteers interested in visiting one or more “potential vernal pools” in southeast MI in the following areas:
- Highland Recreation Area – Oakland Co.
- Proud Lake Recreation Area – Oakland Co.
- Pinckney Recreation Area – Livingston and Washtenaw Co.
- Waterloo Recreation Area – Washtenaw County
- Volunteers who can commit to visit one or more “potential vernal pools” at least 2-3 times during spring and summer
- No previous experience required
REGISTER: Please register by March 12th, No cost, but registration is limited to 30 people.
Contact Daria Hyde at email@example.com or 517-373-4815
Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Parks Stewardship Program
Funding provided by: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality,
with a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency
HRWC’s Bioreserve project field assessment volunteers have witnessed some pretty spectacular landscapes so far this field season! This includes extensive marsh and fen ecosystems in Lyndon Township and south of West Lake in Dexter Township. Volunteers are even taking their ipads out in the field to help with plant identification!
The field assessors are gathering data about natural areas in order to educate landowners about the ecological quality of their property and help conservancies and communities target their preservation efforts towards the most important natural areas.
For more information about the Bioreserve project, and if you’d like to join our field assessors, contact Kris Olsson
If you are a “Plant Person,” who can identify most wildflower, shrub, and tree species in a typical Michigan forest or wetland, we could especially use your help and expertise! You can join teams of assessors on these fun forays into the “wilderness!”
On June 5, a dynamic and excited group of Lyndon Township residents, board members, and planning commissioners joined HRWC to learn about the forests, fields, wetlands, and waterways that make up their township’s Green Infrastructure.
Green Infrastructure is the network of natural lands, working landscapes and other open spaces that conserve ecosystem values and functions and provide a whole host of benefits, including clean air, filtering pollution from water, providing drinking water, flood prevention, temperature control, and other less tangible benefits such as enjoyment of hiking, fishing, paddling, and other outdoor activities.
Green infrastructure exists from this broad landscape scale of mapping out and planning around large natural area networks, down to the parcel/site scale of installing rain gardens and other natural vegetated forms of stormwater control. In fact, HRWC’s latest Huron River Report has an article about the smaller scale green infrastructure.
Thanks to funding from the Consumers Energy Foundation, HRWC is working with communities to develop Green Infrastructure plans to guide their future land use and development in a way that is in concert with their natural ecosystems. The program is modeled after Oakland County’s Green Infrastructure Program. The county worked with each of its 62 local governments to map out natural areas, recreational opportunities, and linkages between them, and then create Green Infrastructure plans. Lyndon Township is the first local community in the Huron watershed to begin the planning process.
The Lyndon group gathered over HRWC’s Bioreserve map of Lyndon Township forests, wetlands, waterways, and fields, markers and post-it notes in hand, and together designated larger intact natural areas as “hubs,” smaller areas as “sites,” and then created linkages between all those sites. In addition, participants added post-it notes of special places such as known massasauga rattlesnake habitat, high quality fens, and even threats such as a proposed gravel pit.
HRWC will add information gathered at the meeting to our existing GIS computer map of Lyndon’s green infrastructure and create a draft green infrastructure vision map and plan to present at a Fall meeting with the group. The township will then use the plan and map to guide their land use planning decisions about where to direct location and design of new development as well as for greenway and trail planning.
For more information about this project or if you think your community might be interested in participating, email Kris or call 734-769-5123 x607
Assessment training complete, volunteers prepared to “hit the field” this summer.
A few rain showers heightened the spirits and enthusiasm of 30-some volunteers who gathered at Independence Lake County Park, in Washtenaw County, to learn how to participate in HRWC’s Bioreserve Project. Project Director Kris Olsson described the importance of natural areas in keeping the Huron healthy, and the mission of the Bioreserve Project: to assess and find the highest quality natural areas and work towards their permanent protection. ”The reason the Huron is the cleanest river in Southeast Michigan is because of the still large, intact natural areas in our watershed,” Kris explained. ”These natural areas filter polluted runoff, keep creeks and the river flowing cool and constant, and provide wildlife habitat and places to hike, fish, and paddle.”
After lunch, participants headed out to the park’s beautiful forests and wetlands, and the restored “Indy Prairie,” where a patch of yellow lady’s slippers were in full bloom. Participants practiced the assessments on these natural areas in preparation for going out all over the watershed to perform them on properties throughout the summer.
The information from the assessments will help conservancies, local governments, and other preservation programs target their efforts on protecting the highest quality natural areas, so they can continue to help keep the river clean.
For more information about the Bioreserve Project and how to volunteer, contact Kris Olsson.
After a record-breaking March and a more typically cool April, we don’t know what we’ll find out in the field this spring! I’ve seen trilliums blooming (usually they come out in late May) just uphill of freshly sprouting skunk cabbage (usually a harbinger of early spring in early April). I can’t wait to get our annual Bioreserve Field Assessment season started!
Join us in surveying the woods and wetlands in the Huron watershed!
WHAT: Volunteers go out in groups to work together on rapid site assessments of grasslands, forests, wetlands, and aquatic habitats throughout the spring, summer and fall (an expected time commitment of four hours per site).
Volunteers must first attend a training where you learn how you can help identify high-quality natural areas for protection as part of the Bioreserve Project. Participants will gain broadly applicable skills in ecological assessment. Please bring a sack lunch. The workshop includes hands-on practice outdoors, so please come prepared for weather and mud.
WHO: All volunteers are welcome, but if you are experienced in plant identification, we especially need your help! Every team will need at least one “plant person” (someone who has some experience with identifying plants). If you have had a plant identification class, or have become familiar with wildflowers, grasses, and trees over time spent hiking this beautiful watershed, we’d love your help! “Plant People” do not need to attend the training; all other volunteers do.
WHERE: The next training will be at Independence Lake County Park. After attending training, volunteers use the Volunteer Page to sign up to go to natural areas throughout the Huron Watershed throughout the field season.
WHEN: Training session:Rapid Field Assessment Training Saturday, May 12, 2012 10 am – 3pm Independence Lake County Park Whitmore Lake, MI
2012 Field season: May – October 2012.
MORE INFO: Contact Kris at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-769-5123 x 607.
If you are a first time volunteer, you need to first go to our First time volunteer form
Then, you can register with the Bioreserve Rapid Field Assessment Training Registration form
Huron River watershed Oakland County residents invited.
The Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy is an important HRWC partner that works to preserve the landscape and natural heritage of our region. They want to know what you think—what land is important to protect? Join them and share your thoughts in a live, interactive instant response survey at an open house.
Wednesday, March 21, 6:30-9pm
Paint Creek Cider Mill at 4480 Orion Road, Rochester
Six Rivers will share maps of draft priorities for land preservation in Oakland and Macomb counties for your feedback. They have worked with HRWC’s Bioreserve Project and a number of other partners including the planning departments at Oakland and Macomb counties to develop these priorities—now they need to know what the citizens think! There will be refreshments and door prizes, the interactive survey, and a fundraising activity for anyone interested. More Open House details HERE.
Spring is on its way, and soon teams of volunteer field assessors for HRWC’s Bioreserve Project will be fanning out across the watershed, cataloging plants and scoring ecosystem values on natural areas deemed important for the Huron watershed’s health. As part of these assessments, assessors identify all the wildflowers, trees, shrubs, and grasses/sedges they encounter; we have listed over 700 different species of plants inhabiting the wetlands, forests, and fields in the watershed. However, we also encounter some mystery plants — plants we have not been able to identify. Here are some that have really been bugging us!
If you enjoy the outdoors, field botany, and helping out HRWC, sign up for our Bioreserve Field Assessment training, May 12, at Independence Lake Park, in Webster Township, Washtenaw County. After a half day training, you can sign up to join teams doing assessments throughout the watershed this spring, summer, and fall.
Can you identify these mystery plants?
In partnership with HRWC, Legacy Land Conservancy has arranged for permanent protection of woodlands and wetlands on two properties that will help preserve the quality of two creeks; Arms Creek in Webster Township and Horseshoe Creek in Northfield Township.
HRWC’s Bioreserve field assessments on these properties helped Legacy identify the properties as ecologically important as well as provided data they needed to complete the preservation documentation.
The preservation of the Webster Township property in the Arms Creek watershed helps ensure the quality and quantity of water resources for the Ann Arbor area. In fact, Arms Creek is one of the healthiest creeks in the Huron River Watershed and is a designated Scenic River.
The woodlands and wetlands on this parcel house an unusually broad range of habitats and natural life for a property of its size. The 7.8 acres include wetlands, forb and grass communities, emergent marshes, and remnants of pre-settlement oak forests.
The 32-acre Northfield Township property is habitat for fish, wildlife and plants, including: Great Horned Owls, white-tailed deer, other common birds and mammals, and native flora such as mature oak, hickory, and pine trees and native grasses and forbs.
The property includes two headwater tributaries of Horseshoe Creek and Horseshoe Lake. Preservation of this property will allow these natural areas to perform important ecological services by holding rainwater, easing downstream seasonal flooding.
Want to help identify and assess natural areas to help protect more natural areas? Volunteer for our Bioreserve Field Assessments this summer!
HRWC staff spend a lot of time working directly on in-field data collection. Most of our volunteers work on these projects also – THANK YOU! Of course, getting out in the water is great fun and often a wonderful challenge. But what of all the data that we collect? What does it tell us? Where does it go from here?
2011 Field Results
Join HRWC staff as we present the results of the 2011 field work for Bioreserve, Adopt-A-Stream, and Water Quality Monitoring. Program directors Kris Olsson, Paul Steen, and Ric Lawson will give presentations on the most recent findings, followed by Q and A.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
7:00 – 9:00 PM
NEW Center Conference Rooms
1100 North Main Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Please RSVP: click here
Not only will you get to see the results of efforts in the field and let the HRWC staff thank you with some fun and refreshments, you’ll get to try-out HRWC’s Field Monitoring Triathlon!
Overflow Parking at 944 North Main:for map click here