It’s our 150th edition of News to Us! To celebrate, we selected six articles to fill you in on the latest environmental news across Michigan and the Huron River watershed. Read our hand-picked articles below about volunteer river cleanups, warming winters, new fishing license requirements, the latest on the 1,4 dioxane plume, and a public park in Ypsilanti.

A volunteer in a green kayak sits in front of a giant heap of trash and cans along the banks of a river
Over 1,600 volunteers across Michigan removed over 31,000 pounds of trash and debris from Michigan rivers in 2023 thanks to funding from the Michigan Clean Water Corps program. Photo credit: Paul Steen

More than 31,000 pounds of trash removed from Michigan rivers, streams, and creeks
Thanks to the Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) program, over 31,000 pounds of trash was removed from rivers and streams across Michigan in 2023. Last year, MiCorps granted elevens organizations, including conservation districts and local governments, with funding to support volunteer river cleanups. The cleanup days supported over 1,600 volunteers working a total of 3,699 hours to remove trash from Michigan’s water bodies. The 31,000 pounds of collected trash was an annul record for the MiCorps program due to the massive volunteer effort.

Climate change is erasing Michigan winters, taking our heritage with them
This year, Michigan witnessed its warmest winter on record. Fewer cold days across the state means fewer opportunities to engage in the state’s beloved winter activities, like snowmobiling, skiing, snowboarding, sledding, ice skating, and ice fishing. This article from Bridge Michigan discusses how warming winters threaten the seasonal recreation that is fundamental to the state’s culture and Michiganders’ collective sense of identity.

Michigan adds license requirement for inland fishing guides: What to know
As of March 1, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources requires inland sport fishing guides to operate with a license. The new three-year licenses will cost inland fishing guides between $150-300, depending on whether they live in Michigan. For more information on the licensing requirements or to obtain an inland fishing guide license, click here.

Michigan doesn’t have a set plan for preventing microplastic pollution. Could that change?
A package of five bills addressing microplastics is currently under development by State Representative Rachel Hood and the Michigan Microplastics Coalition. The state currently lacks any legislation on microplastics, however, federal guidelines prohibiting the production and distribution of plastic microbeads have been in effect since 2015. The potential bills would (1) ban the use and the discharge of microbeads into the waters of the state of Michigan, (2) mandate the development of a statewide microplastics strategy, (3) create a program to control the discharge of nurdles (tiny pellets of pre-production plastic) into Michigan waters, (4) require mesh filtration systems in new washing machines, and (5) require testing and reporting on microplastics in public drinking water supplies.

Feds officially propose Ann Arbor-area dioxane pollution become Superfund site
In early March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed adding the 1,4-dioxane plume west of Ann Arbor to the Superfund National Priorities List, a list of sites across the US where contamination threatens human health and the environment. If added to the Superfund list, more federal resources would be available to support management and cleanup of the plume. A 60-day public comment period on the Superfund list designation began on March 7th. To make a public comment, click here.

Property with access to Huron River named Ypsilanti’s newest city park (MLive Subscriber Exclusive)
The City of Ypsilanti recently voted 7-0 to establish Huron Landing Park, a small, one acre lot along the River near the Spring Street bridge and Waterworks Park. That area has historically been a highly trafficked area for fishing, however, there is no indication that the area is publicly held. The new designation will lead to the installation of new signage at the park and ensure the land is preserved for public access.