Posts Tagged ‘dam removal’

News to Us

In this edition of News to Us find a wealth of local news including the economic impact of the Huron, proposed park improvements in Flat Rock, smart technology research for stormwater management, Rover pipeline troubles and the future of Peninsular dam in Ypsilanti. On the national stage read a piece on the Lake Erie algal blooms and review a list of all the environmental protections at risk under the current administration.

The Huron River near Flat RockThe Huron River Worth Billions Of Dollars To Local Economy New Report Reveals
Through our River Up! program, HRWC commissioned an economic valuation study to better understand the value of our river and natural resources. Elizabeth Riggs discusses the results of the research and the release of a new report with 89.1 WEMU’s, Lisa Barry.

Flat Rock ponders $1 million ‘river walk’ improvements along Huron River
Flat Rock has engaged an architecture firm to consider riverfront improvements along the Huron River near Huroc Park. HRWC is excited to see projects that improve river access, recreation and safety like this one.

Pipeline Company Cited For Spilling Gas-Water Mix Into Local Wetland
Energy Transfer, the company currently installing the ET Rover pipeline in Livingston County, has been cited for an incident that spilled a water and gasoline mixture into a wetland in Pinckney. HRWC has been in contact with the DEQ to keep up on actions associated with the incident and remediation.

So, Ypsilanti, should we repair or remove the Peninsular Dam?
Read an interview of Laura Rubin by Mark Maynard on the potential for removing the Peninsular dam in Ypsilanti.

NSF awards $1.8M to help develop smart stormwater system
HRWC partner Branko Kerkez, University of Michigan College of Engineering, was awarded funding to pursue the development of smart technologies to better manage stormwater. Kerkez and his team have been piloting one of these systems in the Mallets Creek watershed and will continue work in the Huron under this new grant.

52 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under Trump
With so much news coming out of the federal government these days it has been hard to keep track of exactly what actions the Trump Administration has been able to push through. This article gives a succinct and thorough look at environmental rules and regulations either overturned already, in progress or under consideration. This list is long and troubling and will undoubtedly grow with Pruitt, who in his previous role sued the agency more than a dozen times, at the helm of the EPA.

Miles of Algae Covering Lake Erie
Once again, Lake Erie is turning green. This nearly annual explosion of algal is making national news. The New York Times reports that while this year’s bloom is low in the toxic algae that shut down Toledo’s drinking water supply, the size of algal blooms are growing. Phosphorus, agriculture and the Maumee drainage area are called out as the primary contributors to the problem.

News to Us

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Mulching fall leaves is a river friendly practice. Photo credit: Dean Hochman via Flickr Creative Commons license.

HRWC’s commitment to compiling and sharing noteworthy water-related news continues. This month’s News to Us covers the recent listing of Lake Erie as impaired waters, problems associated with low density development, a great river recovery story and some tips on good river “housekeeping” for autumn leaves.

 

Conservation Groups Applaud Michigan’s Inclusion of Lake Erie in Impaired Waters Report
Last week the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality listed western Lake Erie as impaired waters under the Clean Water Act. Environmental groups have been advocating for this for some time now as it will allow for further research, funding and action to address the nutrient pollution that leads to toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie. This is very good news for this Great Lake. Many are pushing for Ohio to follow suit.

Is the Infrastructure ‘Time Bomb’ Beginning to Blow?
It may not be immediately obvious, but low density development—what we see in suburban and rural areas where homes are built on large lots far from city centers—is not good for waters and watersheds. Here at HRWC we prefer high density development in a few areas as opposed to low density development everywhere. This article highlights one of the problems associated with sprawling development. “Low density housing cannot pay the bills.”  The tax revenue is too low to cover the cost of infrastructure maintenance like roads, sewer and water necessary to serve these developments. When this infrastructure fails, the environment suffers. Check out our Smart Growth publications to learn more.

Taking Down Dams and Letting the Fish Flow
Last issue we shared an article about the human safety benefits of dam removal. This heartening story shows how quickly an ecosystem can rebound after dam removals. Three dams were removed on the Penobscot River in Maine in 2012 and 2013. Just three years later, huge numbers of native migratory fish have resumed their migration up the river—a trip they have not been able to make for nearly 200 years!

Leave The Leaves–Putting Organic Waste To Work
Leaves and grass that make their way into waterways add excess nutrients and use up valuable oxygen as they decompose. Local Master Composter Nancy Stone gives advice on how to utilize fall yard waste to maximize the benefits of fallen leaves. Leaves can be used in your yard to improve your soil and reduce weed growth. Nancy recommends mowing the leaves into your lawn. Mulching leaves can also reduce the greenhouse gas methane. Give this interview a listen as you are getting ready to clean up fall leaves. For more tips on river friendly home care visit our pollution prevention page.

News to Us

Winter scene in Fleming Creek

Winter scene in Fleming Creek

This edition of News to Us shares several articles on pollution, both where we are losing ground and making some gains.  Two stories provide updates on pending park improvements.  Finally, take a look back at January’s weather in a piece that captures the month in numbers.

Michigan rivers polluted by human, animal waste more than double previous estimates Occurrences of pathogen pollution have more than doubled in Michigan’s rivers and lakes in recent years.  The new numbers are thought to be the result of better monitoring rather than marked changes in water quality.  The problem is, and has been, widespread.  Most of the waters impaired by pathogens (from human and animal waste) are located in southeast Michigan.  Failing septic tanks, manure from farm fields, sewer overflows and polluted runoff are the leading contributors to the problem.

Can sewage treatment plants protect fish from the chemicals in the water? Building on the story we published in the last edition of News to Us on trace chemicals in drinking water, Michigan Radio’s The Environment Report, covers potential impacts to fish from emerging contaminants – pharmaceuticals.

Michigan: Thornapple River. Removing Dam Improves Dissolved Oxygen Levels in River It is not all bad news when it comes to water quality.  Before and after monitoring data showed improved dissolved oxygen (DO) levels at the site of a dam removal. Prior to the removal of the dam, DO levels were so low, the river was listed as impaired under the Clean Water Act.  The river will be delisted for its DO impairment.

By the numbers: See how Ann Arbor’s cold and snowy January stacks up against history  This is a fun look at this month’s weather.  It uses Ann Arbor’s weather stations but similar numbers would apply across the watershed.  Spoiler alert: It’s been coooold!

Milford Village Council Approves Final Submittal for Phase I of AMP Project  Milford is one step closer to making significant improvements its Central Park that includes an amphitheater for their summer concert series. Pettibone Creek, a tributary of the Huron River, runs through this park.  Milford is one of five Huron River Trail Towns.

Next steps for Ann Arbor greenway project uncertain after grant funds denied  A key parcel in the Allen’s Creek Greenway, did not receive state funding for improvements necessary to take it from a retired city maintenance yard to a welcoming civic space.  The Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy and the City of Ann Arbor will be meeting to determine what the next steps for keeping the greenway project moving forward.

Last guided walk of the Summer

Mill Creek ParkThis past Tuesday we had our last guided watershed walk of the summer. The rain didn’t stop us from learning about the restoration process that has been going on at Mill Creek Park in Dexter. Laura Rubin and Paul Evanoff explained how the Village of Dexter removed the Mill Creek dam and how doing so can restore an area of natural beauty for the community to enjoy.

The park consists of a boardwalk surrounded by lush vegetation along the river’s edge, amphitheater, and put-in’s/ take-out’s for paddlers. Local artists have created one of a kind pieces of art for visual enjoyment as well. If you haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy Mill Creek Park; make sure to do so and visit the local shops Downtown while you’re at it!

Thanks to all of those whom braved the rain and to Laura and Paul for informing all of us on the recent restoration processes at Mill Creek Park.

Restoring a River in Grand Rapids

Mill Creek flows freely after dam removal in July 2008

This week Michigan Public Radio ran a story on efforts in Grand Rapids to restore the Grand River in downtown.  It is an interesting story about restoring the rapids in “Grand Rapids” and removing 5 dams.

Click here for the story

Last week, malady the big news on river restoration was Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding awarded to the Clinton and Rouge Rivers for dam removal.  Communities and citizens across the state are seeing the value in improving water quality, cialis removing aging infrastructure, and adding recreational and economic development opportunities.


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