HRWC Volunteer searches for stoneflies. Credit: John Lloyd

This edition of News to Us shares articles on HRWC’s annual Stonefly Search, the recovery of Michigan raptors and a significant dam removal on the Flint River. Also, learn more about the Governor’s plans to fund cleanups of contaminated sites and read a piece on the implications for communities of increased flooding while contaminated sites await cleaning up.

Tiny bugs help volunteers track water quality in region
On a mild Saturday morning in January, volunteers throughout southeast Michigan headed to the rivers to search for stoneflies.  Stoneflies are a group of aquatic insects sensitive to water pollution and as such can help indicate when water quality is declining or improving. HRWC, the Clinton River Watershed Council and Friends of the Rouge all organize stonefly searches to help monitor river condition.

Gov. Rick Snyder pitches plan to clean up Michigan’s polluted sites
This is an important read on the Governor’s plan to raise funds needed to clean up contaminated sites, improve recycling programs, and improve water quality and state parks. The plan calls for increasing the cost of waste disposal to raise money. The cost to most Michigan families would be under $5 each year with the balance coming from Michigan and out-of-state businesses. A secondary benefit may be to make Michigan a less desirable place to export waste to. Currently Michigan receives a lot trash from out of state because of the extremely low cost of disposal here. HRWC’s Laura Rubin comments Governor Snyder’s announcements in her recent blog, Dried Up Funds for Water Infrastructure and Environmental Cleanups.

Floods Are Getting Worse, and 2,500 Chemical Sites Lie in the Water’s Path
This New York Times article chronicles a national issue that is very relevant in the Huron River watershed. As water moves through the environment it brings with it what is in the soil. Chemical sites are often located near rivers – part of our industrial past.  As flooding increases due to urbanization and a changing climate, the mobilization of these chemicals becomes a bigger threat.

The return of the raptors: The state of birds and the Michigan environment
After devastating declines in the middle of the last century, this articles summarizes the recovery of peregrine falcons, osprey and bald eagles throughout Michigan.

Preparations may begin this week for Hamilton Dam demolition
The plan to remove a significant dam in Flint’s downtown is coming to fruition.  The removal of Hamilton Dam is scheduled to begin this week. It is a part of an overall plan to revitalize Flint’s river front.