What a month of newsworthy happenings across the Huron River! Our August News to Us shares updates and reflections on the recent threat to the Huron River from the hexavalent chromium release into Wixom’s wastewater system. There are articles on the climate implications of the Inflation Reduction Act, a new statewide clean water initiative, Lake Erie’s harmful algal bloom forecast, and how beavers help mitigate climate change.

hexavalent chromium released into Wixom's wastewater threatens the Huron River
In early August, Tribar Technologies discharged hexavalent chromium into Wixom’s Wastewater Treatment Plant, 20 pounds of which made its way into the Huron River. Photo credit: Jacob Hamilton, MLive.com

The latest on the chemical contamination of the Huron River
It is with great relief that most of the hexavalent chromium solution that Tribar Technologies released into Wixom’s Wastewater Treatment Plant in early August did not reach the Huron River. In this WEMU 89.1 Issues of the Environment interview HRWC’s Executive Director Rebecca shares updates on the event as well as the latest information related to other contaminants in the Huron such as PFAS and dioxane. Also check out Rebecca’s recent blog on lessons learned from the hexavalent chromium spill and HRWC’s plans for driving home strong protections for the Huron River.

What the Inflation Reduction Act means for the Great Lakes Region
This piece from Audubon Great Lakes provides an overview of climate change impacts across the Great Lakes basin and the expected boosts to the region from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The recently signed federal bill is estimated to stimulate a 40 percent reduction in US greenhouse-gas emissions over the next 10 years while also investing billions of dollars in habitat restoration, forest resiliency, climate-smart agriculture, and renewable energy.

From forests to faucet, Michigan DNR starts new clean-water initiative
A new initiative launched by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, called Forests to MI Faucet, employs land protection as a strategy to protect drinking water. Forest to MI Faucet is working with 12 partners, including HRWC, to develop plans for protecting drinking water sources and implement best management practices such as tree planting. The article features HRWC’s Kris Olsson, who discusses HRWC’s efforts to track, evaluate, and protect natural areas across the Huron River watershed.

Harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie expected to be smaller this year, says NOAA
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) anticipate this year’s harmful algal bloom in western Lake Erie will be smaller than in 2021. NOAA expects the 2022 bloom to measure at 3.5 on the NOAA harmful algal bloom severity index, which ranges from 1 (least severe) to 10 (most severe). Dive into this article for information on EGLE’s commitments towards reducing reducing nutrient loading into Lake Erie and steps homeowners and farmers can take to help mitigate algal blooms.

Beavers are heat wave heroes
As the climate continues warming, beavers can help to mitigate the impacts of climate change and improve resilience to ecosystem changes. This article from Vox explores the role of beavers in cooling water and air, increasing resilience to climate change, and mitigating wildlife and flood severity. For more information on beavers, check out HRWC’s blog from 2020 about their benefits to river ecosystems.