The new year is here and so are five fresh news articles. Our first 2022 edition of News to Us brings you stories on water affordability, state park infrastructure funding, and road salt best practices. Don’t miss this edition’s additional stories on land preservation and wildlife in the Huron River watershed.

Water is unaffordable across Michigan, study shows
A recent report from the University of Michigan, Michigan State, and Safe Water Engineering concludes that water and sewer service affordability is a challenge for many Michiganders, especially low-income individuals. The report found that water affordability affects people throughout the state, including in urban, suburban, and rural areas. When adjusted for inflation, areas of the state have seen average water and sewer costs rise by by up to 320% since 1980.

A flock of bald eagles soar over the Huron River at Ford Lake in early January. Photo credit: Jeffery Parker

53 acres of western Washtenaw County wildlife habitat to be permanently preserved
A stretch of wildlife habitat and agricultural land in Sharon Township is now protected via conservation easement. Located within the Huron River watershed, the 53-acre property is now protected thanks to the efforts of the Legacy Land Conservancy and the property’s landowner. The preservation of this property creates a corridor connecting two existing Washtenaw County preserves.

Michigan’s state parks have needed repairs for years. Then the pandemic hit.
Michigan’s system of 103 state parks are home to crumbling and outdated infrastructure in need of repair. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act, the 102-year-old parks system may receive up to $250 million in funding for its growing list of repairs and upgrades. The proposal is still awaiting approval by the Michigan Legislature.

Study shows critical need to reduce use of road salt in winter, suggests best practices
With a tripling of deicing salt use since 1975, water resources are faced with increasing chloride levels and, in turn, threatened aquatic ecology. New research from the University of Toledo outlines the impact of road salt on drinking water, stream health, and public health. The article cites a number of best management practices to help curb the increasing salinization of water resources.

Michigan man captures beauty of a group of eagles and eaglets from home
In early 2022, a Ford Lake resident captured a stunning sight out his window: a group of 11 American Bald Eagles. The eagles and eaglets were sighted hunting and catching fish on the waters of the Huron River. Michigan’s bald eagle population has seen a resurgence over the past 50 years, growing from a mere 30 pairs to nearly 900 pairs today.