New Year’s Resolution #1: Become a Master Rain Gardener
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
This edition of News to Us shares several articles on pollution, both where we are losing ground and making some gains. Two stories provide updates on pending park improvements. Finally, take a look back at January’s weather in a piece that captures the month in numbers.
Michigan rivers polluted by human, animal waste more than double previous estimates Occurrences of pathogen pollution have more than doubled in Michigan’s rivers and lakes in recent years. The new numbers are thought to be the result of better monitoring rather than marked changes in water quality. The problem is, and has been, widespread. Most of the waters impaired by pathogens (from human and animal waste) are located in southeast Michigan. Failing septic tanks, manure from farm fields, sewer overflows and polluted runoff are the leading contributors to the problem.
Can sewage treatment plants protect fish from the chemicals in the water? Building on the story we published in the last edition of News to Us on trace chemicals in drinking water, Michigan Radio’s The Environment Report, covers potential impacts to fish from emerging contaminants – pharmaceuticals.
Michigan: Thornapple River. Removing Dam Improves Dissolved Oxygen Levels in River It is not all bad news when it comes to water quality. Before and after monitoring data showed improved dissolved oxygen (DO) levels at the site of a dam removal. Prior to the removal of the dam, DO levels were so low, the river was listed as impaired under the Clean Water Act. The river will be delisted for its DO impairment.
By the numbers: See how Ann Arbor’s cold and snowy January stacks up against history This is a fun look at this month’s weather. It uses Ann Arbor’s weather stations but similar numbers would apply across the watershed. Spoiler alert: It’s been coooold!
Milford Village Council Approves Final Submittal for Phase I of AMP Project Milford is one step closer to making significant improvements its Central Park that includes an amphitheater for their summer concert series. Pettibone Creek, a tributary of the Huron River, runs through this park. Milford is one of five Huron River Trail Towns.
Next steps for Ann Arbor greenway project uncertain after grant funds denied A key parcel in the Allen’s Creek Greenway, did not receive state funding for improvements necessary to take it from a retired city maintenance yard to a welcoming civic space. The Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy and the City of Ann Arbor will be meeting to determine what the next steps for keeping the greenway project moving forward.
Partnering to Protect Michigan’s Inland Lakes
May 1-3, 2014, Boyne Mountain
The Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership is pleased to announce that registration is open for the inaugural Michigan Inland Lakes Convention, May 1-3 at Boyne Mountain Resort in Boyne Falls. Register by March 1 to take advantage of the Early Bird discount!
Bill Rustem, Director of Strategy for Governor Rick Snyder, will join us for a plenary address on Friday morning, May 2. Mr. Rustem will focus on the conference theme of partnerships, with his address “Successful Partnerships – Importance to Government”. Prior to his current position in the Governor’s office, Mr. Rustem was an owner of Public Sector Consultants (PSC) and was the firm’s president and CEO. While at PSC, Mr. Rustem directed studies on the status of Michigan cities, wastewater treatment needs, recycling, and land use. Before joining the firm, Mr. Rustem was Gov. William G. Milliken’s chief staff advisor on environmental matters and director of the Governor’s Policy Council.
The Convention presents an opportunity for lake enthusiasts, lake professionals, researchers, local government officials and anyone else interested in protecting our water resources to participate in three days of educational presentations and discussion, in-depth workshops, tours, exhibits and much more focused on Michigan’s 11,000 inland lakes.
The 2014 Michigan Inland Lakes Convention is brought to you by the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership, launched in 2008 to promote collaboration to advance stewardship of Michigan’s inland lakes. The Convention is a cooperative effort between many public and private organizations including the Michigan Chapter of the North American Lake Management Society, Michigan Lake and Stream Associations, Inc., Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and the Michigan State University Institute of Water Research.
Visit the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership website at http://michiganlakes.msue.msu.edu to register. Questions about the Convention can be directed to Dr. Jo Latimore, MSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, at email@example.com or 517-432-1491.
Winter, without a doubt, is upon us. And after a major ice storm and the polar vortex hitting our area, the weather and water are making headlines. Read a couple of pieces on the polar vortex, what it is and what responses it provoked. Also, a lovely winter resident, the Snowy Owl, is making a little trouble for air travel. Read a local article on new substances showing up in our drinking water and a national article chronicling some major issues facing our water supply and where technology made hold the solution.
U.S. Cold Snap Inspires Climate Change Denial, While Scientists See Little Room for Doubt The Polar Vortex sure did a lot to spark conversation about Global Warming. This article shares why cold weather and a warmer climate are not mutually exclusive.
The Polar Vortex Explained in 2 Minutes And speaking of the Polar Vortex…what is such a thing anyway? This short video explains the phenomenon for those of us that do not spend our days thinking about jet streams, pressure systems and temperature differentials.
Why airports look like home to snowy owls Detroit Metro Airport is landing more than planes these days. This winter has been a bumper year for the Snowy Owl, a sometimes winter resident of southeast Michigan. They are a welcome sight but pose a particular challenge at airports.
What should we do about the trace chemicals found in drinking water? Recent testing found 19 different drugs in the water used for Ann Arbor’s drinking water, of which, only 8 were filtered out during treatment. What does this mean for our health and the health of aquatic organisms? Listen to this report to find out more.
EPA’s Top 10 Technology Needs For Water Nutrient, sediment, and bacterial pollution, aging infrastructure, inefficiencies in water use and climate change all strain the nation’s water supply. This article shares what the Environmental Protection Agency deems the top ten water issues that could benefit from technological solutions.
Winter Stonefly Search is Saturday, January 25, 2014. You’re invited to come on your own or bring a small team of friends and family for a unique wintertime activity in/on the Huron River.
As part of a long-term river study, each January, HRWC looks for “winter stoneflies,” which grow, feed, and find their mates in the coldest months when most fish are too sluggish to eat them. Stoneflies are very sensitive to changes in water quality and habitat. Like canaries in a coal mine, they tell researchers a lot about the health of the river.
Trained volunteer collectors take each team to two of HRWC’s 70 designated study sites throughout the Huron River system, where the group helps search through stones, leaves, and sediment taken from river bottoms. All equipment is provided. Participants are encouraged to dress for the weather. Volunteers meet in Ann Arbor and car pool to their assigned sites.
Participants must register to be assigned to a team. Children are welcome to attend but must bring their own adult.
DATE: Saturday, January 25, 2014
WHERE: Meet in Ann Arbor. Then car pool to two streams in Livingston, Oakland, Wayne and/or Washtenaw Counties.
WHEN: Two starting times: January 25, 2014 at 10:30AM or NOON. Takes 4 – 5 hours (2-3 hours outdoors).
DEADLINE: Registration closes on January 21, 2014.
First time volunteers, please fill out both forms:
Returning volunteers, please fill out the registration form only:
MORE INFO: Please email Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out this article: http://www.annarbor.com/lifestyles/hrwcs-annual-winter-stonefly-search-a-chance-for-anglers-others-to-learn-about-stoneflies-and-stream/
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 from 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.
Joining Dexter and Lyndon townships in Washtenaw County and all communities in Oakland County, Unadilla Township has created a Green Infrastructure Plan that provides a map of its natural areas — woodlands, wetlands, grasslands, and waterways — and connections and pathways connecting them. At a workshop facilitated by the Huron River Watershed Council as part of our Portage Creek Project, residents and officials from Unadilla Township studied maps of the township’s natural areas, topography, master plan designations, land use, and other natural assets, and drew over them onto transparent mylar natural area hubs, links connecting them, and special natural features such has Heron rookeries or rare plant communities. HRWC used the sketching to create the map and plan.
The township will use the plan to inform their land use planning and policy development, directing future development in a way that is in concert with their natural infrastructure.
HRWC will will hold a similar workshop for Stockbridge in January. The Dexter and Lyndon township green infrastructure planning processes were also part of our Portage Creek Project. Oakland County Planning and Development completed its Green Infrastructure planning program in 2009 — all of their communities now have plans and maps that inform their planning and policies.
Happy New Year from all of us here at HRWC. We hope 2014 brings you many opportunities to convene with the rivers and lakes of the watershed. To start the year off right, consider heading to Proud Lake Recreation Area for some winter river recreation. This edition of News to Us also shares stories on the dioxane contamination in Ann Arbor’s groundwater, an Ypsilanti riverfront development, a new State-level strategy on aquatic invasives, reports of another major waterbird die-off event and how water loss from pipes is affecting your water bill.
Heavner Canoe, Kayak Rental To Host Outdoor Open House on New Year’s Day
Bundle up and get down to the river tomorrow to kick off the new year! Heavner Canoe, the Department of Natural Resources and Solar Club are hosting an event at Proud Lake Recreation Area. Snow shoe, kayak or canoe your way into 2014.
Michigan DEQ could set higher standards for dioxane pollution cleanup in 2014 The Department of Environmental Quality is considering higher State-level standards for dioxane contamination. This is welcome news for Ann Arbor residents who have been advocating for a better cleanup of a dioxane plume spreading in the groundwater in the Wagner Road area and moving toward the Huron River. The toxic plume is the result of contamination from the Pall Life Sciences medical manufacturing facility. HRWC supports stricter standards for the clean up of this toxin.
Smaller $12M Eastside Recreation Center proposed to accommodate future Water Street developments Ypsilanti may be home to a new recreation center along the Huron River. The proposed community center is a cornerstone of the Automotive Heritage Trail District being created by local partners to brand this section of the Huron River and border to border trail from Peninsular Park to the historic Ford Lake Dam.
Michigan agencies step up invasive species fight Michigan state agencies now have a shared strategy to help fight the spread of aquatic invasive species. Implementation of the strategy will begin in earnest with coordinated early detection and rapid response. The strategy also involves public education as a means of identifying new infestations early.
Paying more to lose water by the minute Volumes of water are lost from leaking pipes in our water systems. Aging infrastructure and the absence of standardized required water audits have led to the loss of approximately 66.5 billion gallons of water annually in the Great Lakes region. Water loss leads to revenue loss for utilities which results in increased water rates for consumers.
Botulism Bacteria Blamed for Deaths of Waterbirds on Lake Ontario Another significant Great Lakes waterbird die-off event is occurring now, this time in Lake Ontario. A complex mix of factors, including nutrient pollution and algal blooms, lead to the botulism outbreaks that are killing loons and other water birds at alarming rates.
The Huron River Watershed Council is pleased to announce that Anita Twardesky has joined the RiverUp! initiative as Trail Towns Coordinator. Anita will guide the five largest communities on the river – Milford, Dexter, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Flat Rock – in becoming Trail Towns, trailside and gateway communities that are true recreational destinations. The Huron River Water Trail is a project of RiverUp!, the initiative to make the Huron River a new “Main Street” for the river towns where residents and tourists recreate, live, commute, do business, and treasure their riverfronts.
Anita is an experienced and respected recreation and trails professional. She also serves as Public Relations & Community Outreach for Riverside Kayak Connection in Wyandotte where she is responsible for promoting outdoor recreation, paddlesports, and the ecotourism in the region. Previously, she served as Parks & Recreation Director for the cities of Woodhaven and Flat Rock. Her appointments include co-chair of the Downriver Linked Greenways Initiative, Chair of the Trails Committee for the Michigan Recreation & Parks Association, and a member of the State Wide Advisory Group Michigan Water Trails.
The Huron River Water Trail is a 104-mile inland paddling trail connecting people to the river’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!.
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