The February edition of News to Us highlights news on the Michigan statewide climate neutrality plan, land preservation efforts in the Huron River watershed, and a PFAS investigation in Livingston County. Also found below are articles on climate change mitigation and ice cover changes in the Great Lakes basin.

Whitmer releases draft climate plan to make Michigan carbon neutral by 2050
The draft MI Healthy Climate Plan has been released by Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration. The plan, developed with input from stakeholders, outlines plans to address climate change and make Michigan carbon neutral by 2050. Since the release of the plan, Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy has collected feedback to help shape its final version.

Great Lakes wetlands may mitigate climate change
Coastal wetlands are seen as a key tool in the fight against climate change due to their capacity to sequester carbon, mitigate floods, and provide critical habitat. With over 535,000 acres of coastal wetlands, the Great Lakes basin has enormous potential to absorb carbon dioxide emissions and serve as a carbon sink. If developed and filled, wetlands would instead release stored carbon into the atmosphere.

Climate change brings thinner, more unstable ice to the Great Lakes
Over the past 50 years, average ice cover on the Great Lakes has fallen by 22 percent. Due to warming average temperatures and shifting climate patterns, the Great Lakes are experiencing fewer annual frozen days and more unstable ice conditions. The thinner ice is resulting in more dangerous conditions for winter recreationalists.

Soil sampling effort in December 2021 at the Livingston County farm.
Soil sampling effort in December 2021 at the Livingston County farm. Photo credit: EGLE

Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ found in Livingston County farm’s beef
Beef from a small farm near the edge of the Huron River watershed in Livingston County was found to contain PFOS, a type of PFAS compound. The concerning levels of PFOS at the farm are due to the application of biosolids from the Wixom Wastewater Treatment Plant between 2010 to 2015.  The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team has been leading an investigation into the beef farm, including sending notifications to impacted customers. Read more in a recent HRWC blog.

To protect ‘rural charm’, Washtenaw County township proposes land preservation millage
Dexter Townships’s Board of Trustees recently took steps towards launching a new land preservation millage. During their January meeting, they unanimously voted to draft and submit a tax increase proposal for this fall’s election ballot. The proposed millage would support purchase of development rights similar to existing land preservation programs in Scio and Webster townships.