The summer is drawing to a close, but there is no shortage of hot News to Us. Our August edition, compiles articles covering the latest land preservation win in Webster Township and continued environmental challenges across Michigan, including climate change, microplastics, and septic systems. Read more below.

Webster Township completes land preservation project

A recently completed land preservation project in Webster Township preserves over 200 acres of property.

A 200 acre property on Strawberry Lake Road has recently been acquired by the Webster Township Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program. The property, which includes wetlands, woods, and prime agricultural soils, joins with surrounding preserved land to form a contiguous block of over 550 acres. While the land will remain in private ownership, the conservation easement purchase ensures it will never be developed. HRWC’s Natural Area Assessment and Protection Project evaluated the property for its ecological health back in 2017!

Health officials: Climate change threat to Michigan. But few make it priority.
A recent study from the University of Michigan reveals over 75 percent of Michigan’s local health department officials feel climate change will impact their jurisdiction over the next 20 years. Interestingly, only 35 percent of these officials say climate change is a departmental priority. This Bridge Magazine article also assesses climate-induced adverse health effects, including heat illness, vector-borne disease, and waterborne disease.

Swimming in plastic: Great Lakes microplastics pollution is showing up in fish, birds — and your beer glass
Microplastics pollution has grown in public awareness as a pollutant of concern. Researchers have found these microscopic particles everywhere, including in tap water, craft beer, in the bellies of birds and gulls, and in human feces. Research gaps still exist, with no peer-reviewed studies on how microplastics biodegrade in freshwater systems and how they affect human health. Learn more about microplastics pollution in the Huron River.

Does Michigan need a statewide code for septic systems?
Without a statewide septic code, Michigan relies on local ordinances to regulate its over 1 million onsite wastewater systems.  This piece from WEMU’s Issues Of The Environment discusses the debate over a statewide septic code as well as the success of Washtenaw County’s Time of Sale program, which has been effective in uncovering failing or inadequate septic systems. Learn more about septic systems as a source of bacteria in the Huron River and what you can do to keep your system healthy and our water clean.

How Michigan forests can do more to help protect the planet
This Detroit Free Press opinion piece discusses the massive role of Michigan’s over 11 million acres of forests in responding to climate change. Through carbon sequestration, forests capture and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Policies such as tax credits and economic incentives could play a role in incentivizing forest carbon storage to help combat climate change. Learn how trees and forests fight climate change and water pollution.