Learn to protect water quality by engaging your local government.

That was the message heard by 33 attendees of HRWC’s Change Makers Boot Camp Tuesday night at Green Oak Township Hall. We are leading two more Boot Camps on January 30th in Belleville and February 7th in Chelsea. At this first one HRWC’s Jason Frenzel gave an overview of water quality and land use issues. And I discussed local government, its role in land-use planning, and how citizens can get involved in advocating for water protection.

Local residents in Putnam Township share their input on a natural areas planning map at a Green Infrastructure visioning session.

Green Oak Township Supervisor Mark St. Charles shared the innovative steps his township has taken to protect the Huron River and control stormwater runoff.  “The Huron’s Natural River District runs through Green Oak,” he said.  “We realized, what’s the point of protecting the Huron River itself, if we don’t control polluted water coming into the river from its tributaries?”  So, the township extended natural river-level protections, such as prohibiting the clearing of natural vegetation along streambanks, to all the tributaries in the township.

These are the kinds of policies local governments can adopt to ensure the Huron maintains its status as the cleanest urban river in Michigan.

Get involved!

Anybody willing to attend meetings and become familiar with local planning and water quality issues can become a member of their local government.  I shared the story of Lyndon Township resident Sally Rutzky and how she found herself on her community’s planning commission. When Sally applied to join the District Library Board, the township asked if she would like to be on the planning commission instead. Sally agreed and since then, she has become an active commissioner. She convinced her township to adopt several water quality protection policies. Sally is coming to our Chelsea workshop to personally share her experiences as a planning commissioner.

If you would like to join the folks who are learning how to protect the Huron by engaging their local governments, please register below:

January 30, 6 – 8:30 pm, Belleville Area District Library, 167 4th St, Belleville

February 7, 5:30 – 8 pm, Chelsea District Library, 221 S. Main St., Chelsea