Archive for the ‘Events’ Category
FLAT ROCK — The culmination of more than 10 years of work will be recognized at 4 p.m. today at Huroc Park with the groundbreaking for the Flat Rock-Oakwoods connector trail. HRWC will be there to celebrate the work of many partners over the past decade who made this important link happen. In addition, we’ll kickoff the Huron River Water Trail Paddlers Companion in this Trail Town.
Sponsored by the Downriver Linked Greenways Initiative, the one-mile trail will be the final piece of the east-west connector trail. The project includes construction of the path from Huroc Park to Oakwoods Metropark in Huron Township, work at a railroad crossing and route signage.
Funding for the $684,300 trail is provided by federal funds and a local match from the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Department of Natural Resources.
The 24-mile east-west route stretches from Belleville Lake to the shores of Lake Erie. It encompasses nearly 20,000 acres, runs through four metroparks and follows the Huron River. In fact, just a few undeveloped trail miles in Van Buren Charter Township separates the downriver route from the Border to Border Trail system in Washtenaw County, an eventual 35-mile contiguous non-motorized path along the Huron River.
The ceremony will feature remarks from Rodney Stokes, special adviser for city placemaking for Gov. Rick Snyder; Vince Ranger, grant coordinator for the Michigan Department of Transportation; Mayor Jonathan Dropiewski; Tom Woiwode, Community Foundation Southeast Michigan’s Greenways Initiative director; John McCulloch, Huron-Clinton Metroparks director; Elizabeth Riggs, Huron River Watershed Council deputy director; and Anita Twardesky, co-chair of greenways initiative.
U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-12th District) is invited to attend.
Join us today at 4 p.m. to help celebrate the realization of a vision where residents and visitors come together to live, work and play on the shores of the Huron River.
This edition of News to Us starts with a success story and we all like success stories. Learn also about the islands of plastic polluting our Great Lakes. We share a few opportunities to attend public events on flooding and fracking. Read also a refreshing perspective on approaching river conservation by finding common ground among individual objectives.
A Tern for the Better: The Detroit River Comeback The common tern has returned to Belle Isle after a 50 year absence. The refuge on Belle Isle is a bright spot showing what can be when we invest in wildlife habitat even in the most urban of places. Read about the successes of our neighbors to the north.
Polluting Plastic Waste Invades Great Lakes: Pacific Garbage Patch May Have a Rival This article brings to light a less often cited, yet major source of pollution in the Great Lakes. Plastics in our waters have implications for birds, fish and other organisms in the food chain. Consider finding ways to keep plastics out of our waterways like switching to reusable bags and cleaning debris and trash away from stormdrains that carry plastics directly to our waterways during rain events.
Ann Arbor kicks off $1.2M study of sewer system, footing drain program and basement sewage backups It is the wet season again. Spring rains rejuvenate our rivers, groundwater, forests and landscaping. But for some households the rains can mean problems when water ends up in basements or sits on roads. Ann Arbor is holding a public meeting to provide updates on ongoing efforts to reduce damaging flooding including an assessment of the sanitary sewer system and footing drain disconnection program.
Sunday Brunch: A tiny trickle turns into a torrent of conservation issues for Michigan This blog from Helen Taylor, State Director of the Nature Conservancy in Michigan, shares a nice perspective on river protection. She encourages individuals and groups to consider the “whole-system” rather than a more personal view of the river with an eye on shared goals rather than win-lose propositions—a healthy lens through which to envision the path to a healthy river serving many purposes for many interests.
University of Michigan to hold town hall on future of fracking in the state For those interested in learning more about the practice of fracking to extract natural gas, University of Michigan is hosting a forum on the topic this evening. As far as we are aware, there are no plans for fracking in the watershed at this time but there is very active debate on this topic at the national and state level.
Your View of the Huron River
HRWC is hosting two Photography Workshops in 2013, May 11-12 & October 19-20. Local professional photographers Michael Seabrook and Marc Akemann will lead the classes. Each workshop, in May & October, will consist of 2 half-day classes. We encourage you to register for both workshops to get the full benefit of what Marc and Mike will be teaching. Come prepared to get hands-on experience in the field, and learn basic techniques for taking great nature photos—obtaining correct exposures, controlling the depth-of-field, making sharper photos, customizing your camera to do what you want it to, and more. All skill levels are welcome.
Special guest speaker: world-renowned photographer and local Ann Arbor resident, Howard Bond will be speaking at both workshops. Maximum registration for both classes is 20 participants.
What to Bring: A camera that allows you to manually set the shutter speed and aperture. All participants will receive a Huron Camera coupon good for 10% off camera bags, memory cards and filters. One time use only but you can purchase multiple items.
Visit HERE to find out more, and see examples of Marc and Mike’s work and to register for the classes.
Photography Workshop Schedule: May 11-12 & October 19-20
2-3:45PM – New Center* – Introductions, class time, Q&A, Howard Bond.
4-6PM – Shooting time in the field (along the Huron somewhere…TBD).
8-9:45AM – Shooting time at Delhi Metropark (tentatively)
10AM-12PM – New Center* – Work on an image or two/project images, Howard Bond.
*New Center is at 1100 N Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Last week over 500 people from 43 states and two territories gathered in Denver, CO for the inaugural National Adaptation Forum. These 500 represented our national climate adaptation community—folks from around the country helping people and wildlife prepare for a changing climate. I attribute it to the universal nature of the issue that the event was attended by federal, state and local government staff and officials, academics and professionals from the non-profit and private sectors. City planners, public works professionals, wildlife biologists, sustainability directors, climate scientists, insurance and hazard mitigation professionals all exchanged ideas, successes and challenges. Each brought new perspectives and innovations that crossed sectoral silos and built a common fabric upon which all of us can draw and build. I was fortunate to be a part of this seminal event.
The program and presentations were exciting and energizing. Cities and towns throughout the nation are taking action to reduce vulnerabilities to climate change impacts which vary depending on where you are in the country. Out west, water scarcity will worsen as less snow falls on the mountains to replenish their water sources. Wild fires are becoming more frequent and severe. Coastal areas face sea level rise, higher storm surges and salt water intrusion. Here in Michigan, we are expecting more severe droughts in the summer and larger storms in the spring and fall. Many communities are reacting to extreme events that have already occurred such as Superstorm Sandy, the 2012 drought or the Chicago heatwave. The thread running throughout the talks, no matter where a speaker was from or what issue they were focused on, is that communities should be minimizing risk. We cannot know when that big storm will come or how long a drought or heat wave will last. But we can be proactive and ready our communities for these times.
I was proud to speak on behalf of HRWC and the communities in the watershed participating in our Climate Resilient Communities project. Our work is unique in that we are approaching adaptation on a whole systems scale – the watershed. Involving the many municipalities in the watershed is challenging but innovative. And there is power in our numbers. What we can accomplish together is far greater than what any one community can accomplish on its own.
The National Adaptation Forum was the first climate adaptation event of this nature and, exceeding the expectations of the conference organizers, generated tremendous interest. Twice as many presentations were submitted as could be accommodated. Registration closed long before the conference and a long wait list formed. As conference organizer and plenary speaker Lara Hansen of EcoAdapt stated, we are part of the “adaptation vanguard”- a group of forward-thinking individuals at the front lines of a growing movement. This made me feel hopeful. I hope it does the same for 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.
Friday, February 22, 6pm
Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor
Support HRWC by watching films!
The 2013 Fly Fishing Film Tour is coming to Ann Arbor to share stunning films from places as diverse as the jungles of Thailand, northern California, Alaska, the Potomac River and even the “trophy waters” of Michigan’s own Au Sable River. These films are guaranteed to deepen your love of fly fishing or inspire you to learn the sport.
Take a look at the F3T Trailers, then get your tickets. If you’ve ever spent time fishing or paddling the Huron River or even helping HRWC look for stoneflies or other macroinvertebrates at one of our Roundups, you won’t want to miss this!
Discount tickets are available for HRWC members — $13 each (regularly $15).
Buy two tickets and F3T will donate half the proceeds back to HRWC.
Discount tickets available at:
4 East Cross Street
1100 North Main Street, Suite 210-A
Ann Arbor, MI
734-769-5123 x 602 (Pam Labadie)
Saturday turned out to be a lovely day for HRWC’s Stonefly Search. 110 volunteers returned safely from the field after successfully accomplishing their mission. These hardy souls endured the snow, enjoyed the sun (briefly), had fun breaking through the ice, and learned about the Huron and the critters who live here. Interesting finds included a slumbering frog, mute swans, and Canada geese (not to mention lots and lots of insects). Look for a detailed report from Paul Steen regarding the Stonefly results. Until then, here is a bit of verse to paint a picture of how the day went for many…
Winter Stoneflies in Arctic Michigan
By Dave Wilson
We don our coats and boots, go forth to break the ice
In frigid, frosty weather that no one could say is nice
We flounder through the streams in search of a great prize
Taeniopterids and Capniids, precious winter stone flies
Winter stones are quite the thing
Though one surely might be wondering
How these tiny creatures could ever be so bold
As to live and thrive in this bitter winter cold
Paul tells us that in winter these critters really thrive
Cold water holds the oxygen to keep them all alive
And winter is helpful in another major way
The cold keeps fierce predators so very far away
Quite sensitive to any water pollution,
Winter stones provide a quick solution
If we find ‘em we can be sure
That the stream is sweet and pure
The critters are small and rather dark
In this frigid weather they have a lark
Scamper about in the ice and snow
There’s no other place for them to go
To ID them here’s what you do
Look for wingpads four and cerci two
Along the flanks no gills are found
And on each leg two claws astound
The ice is thick, the water chills,
With cold I’m fed up to the gills
But none could say that we are quitters
We’ll search ‘til we find those little critters
Believe me, I know whereof I speak
You’ll find out fast if your waders leak
One hears screams of pain from the bravest jocks
When that icy water hits their socks
Collectors and runners can stay in motion
Stay warmer thus, I have a notion
But picking requires that one stand still
Can be quite bleak, cause many a chill
Don’t go on ice unless waders you wear
If you’re not wearing waders your weight it won’t bear
If you should venture this dumb thing to do
I guarantee you’ll surely break through
Let me warn you right now; listen up and take heed
Bring twice the wraps you think that you’ll need
That usually turns out to be about right
So that you are not left in a piteous plight
A jug of warm water is always quite pleasing
Helps to keep that D-net from freezing
And stout rubber gloves keep collectors’ hands dry
Help a great deal when frostbite is nigh
On these trips a truly most gracious amenity
May help the participants keep some of their sanity
A big jug of cocoa sure hits the spot
Beloved by all if it’s nice and hot.
On a crisp Thursday morning last week, as the sun rose over the pond formed by Argo Dam in Ann Arbor, 25 owners and operators of small dams within the Huron River watershed gathered to discuss their management and responsibilities for the dams.
Here are some of the highlights:
Elizabeth Riggs provided background information and statistics about dams in the watershed, in Michigan and around the nation. The majority of dams in the watershed are more than 40 years old, which presents a significant maintenance issue across the watershed as these dams may be approaching (or passed!) their design life. Elizabeth also discussed the growing national trend of dam removal. She indicated that removal can be 3 to 5 times less expensive than dam reconstruction, and funding is available for removal, but not reconstruction.
Luke Trumble, environmental engineer with the Hydrologic Studies and Dam Safety Unit of MDEQ, spoke to the group about the state’s regulation of dams and how it impacts dam owners. He emphasized liabilities associated with dams and the importance of inspection for dam safety. He indicated that owners of high-hazard dams are about 95% compliant with inspection and maintenance regulations. MDEQ inspects state-owned and municipally-owned dams upon request. Private owners must hire private, licensed engineers.
Shawn Middleton, engineer with the Spicer Group, presented on dam inspection and maintenance considerations and the economics of dam management. He highlighted observable evidence of dam deterioration, what to do about it, and how to quantify and minimize cost. One interesting point of discussion was that most of the older dams were not designed for the flood sizes that can be expected in the near future. For example, storms have caused dam failure in western parts of the state in recent years.
Following the presentations, Laura Rubin facilitated a discussion with the attendees and speakers on topics such as restoring river systems following a long period as a dammed system; dam ownership and transfer; and hydropower cost vs. revenue. Cost/benefit analysis in Michigan is showing that converting to hydropower is a liability rather than a benefit financially.
Leading up to the seminar, HRWC has worked to inventory the dams in the watershed and collect information about the structures, their ponds, owners and management. Dam owners and operators were surveyed to update information in the dam database. During this process, more dams, many which are too small to be regulated by the state, were discovered. The large dam operators on the river mainstem recently formed an informal association to establish communication and share information. The smaller dam owners were invited to last Thursday’s seminar.
Presentations and Links of Interest are now available at www.hrwc.org/events/past-seminars.
Laura Rubin to give talk on the health of the Huron River watershed at Washtenaw Community College
WCC faculty members are creating a greater understanding of environmental issues with a yearlong series of awareness events and activities focusing on Michigan’s waterways. WCC’s
“Year of Water” officially kicked off in July and August with a few awareness activities for students. Join HRWC Executive Director Laura Rubin as she gives an overview of the health of the Huron River watershed as part of WCC’s ongoing commitment to support and sustain the environment and their year-long focus on water.
Date: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Location: Great Lakes Training Center, Room 202 (Campus Map)
Free and open to the public.
The HRWC Auction Team has been hard at work, compiling our largest collection of fabulous items for your bidding pleasure! This year we have over 40 items listed online at BiddingForGood and all proceeds benefit HRWC’s efforts to restore and protect the watershed.
Bids on the River is online now until November 26 and is the perfect shopping opportunity for the holidays or any occasion.
Here are our team members’ picks:
Rebecca: I wish my kids were little again, because I would be all over the “Fun With Bugs” workshop being offered by our very own Paul Steen. Actually, this would be great for not-so-little kids and anglers too. Learn all about the bugs in our watershed and why they are critical to the local ecosytem. Got someone with entomological tendencies? Coolest. Gift. Ever.
Margaret: It’s a toss up between Unadilla Boatworks’ “Build A Boat” workshop and Schultz’s Outfitters Fly Fishing Lessons (4 on offer!). I think both are great experiences directly connected to recreation on our river. Ron Sell and Mike Schultz support HRWC efforts in raising awareness of responsible use of our water resources while enjoying the recreational opportunities offered in the watershed.
Meg: How do I choose? I want to bid on them all! But, if you’re going to force me to pick one…I think I’ll have to go with Jolly Pumpkin & Melissa Ferrick Package. I can almost never pass up the food and beer at Jolly. And while I can’t say I’m a hardcore Melissa Ferrick fan, per se (I just listened to her music for the first time today), I am a lover of good music and I know that good times are always had at The Ark. Good food, good beer AND good times. How can anyone pass that up?
New items added since the auction opened include a rain barrel from Downtown Home & Garden, a rap workshop from Rap For Food, a “Bucket of Balm” from North Wind Naturals and a Bake Class from Zingerman’s!
The auction closes on November 26, so start your bidding soon and check check back often. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to purchase a beautiful gift for yourself or a special someone and support HRWC with just a couple of clicks!