Check out the May edition of News to Us for the latest research on public environmental opinion, microplastics, and the economic benefits of parks and trails. This edition also includes recent developments on the Gelman plume cleanup as well as news on funding for a new Southeast Michigan land and water conservation collaborative.

Studies show major economic benefits from parks and trails – and Michigan leaders are catching on
Recent studies, including one spearheaded by HRWC, document the benefits of parks and trails in stimulating economic growth in their surrounding communities. The article, by Concentrate Media, spotlights River’s Edge Brewing Company, a brewery located on the Huron River in Milford and a partner in HRWC’s annual Suds on the River.

A couple canoes down the Huron River near River’s Edge Brewing Company in Milford. Photo credit: Steve Koss

Scientists find more complexity in microplastics polluting the Great Lakes
New research from the University of Toronto reveals the impact of microplastic pollution on wildlife is due to a range of factors, including the plastics’ size, shape, and chemistry. The research indicates microplastics found in surface waters absorb contaminants from the water, leading to deformities in fish.

City of Ann Arbor helps secure $7.4 million in funding for regional land, water conservation
Led by the City of Ann Arbor’s Greenbelt Program, the newly-established Lake Erie Conservation Partnership was recently awarded $7.4 million via the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service. The Partnership, a collaborative of nine organizations in the Huron and Raisin watersheds, aims to protect 2,000 acres of land, increase climate resilience, and support farmer conservation practices.

Water pollution remains top environmental concern in U.S.
Gallup’s 2021 annual environment survey shows that out of six environmental issues Americans are most worried about water quality. The survey also illustrates discrepancies in public opinion about the environment based on political leaning as well as overall public ratings of environmental quality.

Judge orders new cleanup and monitoring protocols for Ann Arbor dioxane plume
The latest court order in the Gelman dioxane plume settlement mandates a new cleanup and monitoring plan for the plume. The order requires Gelman Sciences, succeeded by Pall Life Sciences, to implement additional cleanup and monitoring activities, including the installation of more monitoring wells and increased pumping and treating of contaminating groundwater. This latest ruling drew applause from HRWC for advancing key elements of the consent judgment.