Catch up on the latest headlines grabbing the attention of HRWC staff, including a feature on the history of the Huron-Clinton Metroparks, reflections on a year of PFAS work in Michigan, and the latest research on the benefits of climate adaptation and Great Lakes restoration investments.
As the Huron-Clinton Metroparks Authority celebrates 80 years since its establishment, take a look back on the conception and evolution of regional efforts to provide public recreational opportunities along the Huron and Clinton Rivers. Established in the midst of the Great Depression, the Metroparks now receive nearly 9.5 million annual visits and serve as a recreational hub for Southeast Michigan residents and visitors.
In September, the Trump Administration announced the repeal of the Waters of the U.S (WOTUS) rule originally developed in 2015 under the Obama administration to provide federal protections for wetlands and headwater streams. HRWC is discouraged by this repeal, as it leaves 60% of our nation’s water at risk and has the potential to negatively impact our waterways, drinking water and aquatic habitat. As the EPA and the Army Corp begin developing a new policy on this matter, HRWC will continue to advocate for policies that robustly protect water for all.
One year after extensive PFAS contamination in the Huron River was publicly revealed, local and state officials are still working to eliminate its presence in the watershed. As reflected on in this article, the past year has seen amplified efforts to better understand, eliminate exposure to, and control discharges of PFAS. As questions still linger related to PFAS, click above for clarification on the movement, treatment, and sources of PFAS within the Huron River watershed.
A new study, conducted by the International Association of Great Lakes Research, found that cleaning up polluted waterfronts in the Great Lakes region spurs both community and economic development. The study, which analyzed the economic impact of 10 restoration sites along Great Lakes waterways in the U.S. and Canada, concluded that investments lead to community revitalization, habitat restoration, and job growth.
In a recent Environment Report piece from Michigan Radio, HRWC Executive Director, Rebecca Esselman, shares her insights into the issue of polycyclic armomatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a carcinogenic chemical used in common pavement sealants. Esselman articulates that use of high-PAH sealants can lead to stream, detention pond, and home contamination. The article also highlights safer sealant alternatives to high-PAH sealants.
Increased investments in climate preparedness and adaptation measures, namely resilient infrastructure, drought-resistant crops, and early warning systems, could create benefits that outweigh costs 4 to 1, states a new report from the Global Commission on Adaptation. Specifically as it related to water, investment in water infrastructure and natural watersheds have the potential to improve drought resilience and expand clean water access.