Environment Picture
Topic: Land Use

Letter to Michigan DNR regarding oil and gas leases on the Au Sable River

Research Reports
A letter from MEC and coalition partners, led by the Anglers of the Au Sable, requesting that Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh not authorize leases for oil and gas activity along the "Holy Waters" stretch of the Au Sable River.
Download ReportDec 6, 2013

133 Michigan scientists have a message for Governor Rick Snyder: Just say no

Michigan Environmental Report
We asked University of Michigan School of Natural Resources Professor Bradley Cardinale, PhD, to answer some of our questions about the anti-biodiversity Senate Bill 78. The legislation would redefine the term “biodiversity” in state law and prohibit state agencies from designating public lands to protect biological diversity. The bill passed the State Senate and was pending in the Michigan House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee at press time.
View ArticleSep 20, 2013  •  Summer 2013 - Michigan Environmental Report

MEC steps up to chart a vision for Michigan’s “Big Wild”

Michigan Environmental Report
The Pigeon River Country State Forest has for decades been the crucible for conservation in Michigan. It’s the focus of heated debates and hard-won compromises about how to manage a place—and by extension, a state—rich in both stunning natural beauty and precious natural resources.
View ArticleJun 20, 2013  •  Spring 2013 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Conservation, Land Use, Legislation

Bell ringers! Environmental successes won in recent weeks

Michigan Environmental Report
In each issue of the Michigan Environmental Report, we celebrate accomplishments by MEC and member groups.
View ArticleJun 20, 2013  •  Spring 2013 - Michigan Environmental Report

Managing Michigan's State-owned Forests: Harvest Levels, Market Trends and Revenue Realities

Research Reports
Our new findings indicate that harvests of timber on state-owned land have generally increased--even during the recent recession--and are at or near sustainable levels. Any push for higher harvest and looser state regulation must be evaluated in light of reliable information about timber harvest on state land and the factors driving those harvests. This includes recognition of the multiple and emerging demands being placed on state forestlands, including forest sustainability, emerging timber demand and market shifts, and important recreational demands.
Download ReportApr 23, 2013

Large-tract forestland ownership change: Land use, conservation, and prosperity in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Research Reports
The Upper Peninsula’s unique identity could be changing as commercial forest ownership changes signal a break with the past, according to a report released today by university researchers and conservation groups in Michigan. The region’s constants – wide open spaces accessible to the public, sustainably managed forests and an economic foundation of forest industries and tourism – need better incentives to remain in place for future generations, the report concludes.
Download ReportApr 22, 2013
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use, Conservation

Critical Dune permit application, White River Township

Research Reports
This application to the state seeks to build a road through a township dune sanctuary as part of a driveway project. The driveway is allowed "by right," even through a Critical Dunes area, under changes to a state law approved in 2012.
Download ReportApr 10, 2013
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use, Legislation, Conservation

Do I stay or do I go?

Michigan Environmental Report
Living in a Detroit neighborhood devastated by vacant lots and abandoned eyesores, my chief dilemma is the same one shared by my neighbors: Do I leave the city I love, or do I stay?
View ArticleMar 25, 2013  •  Winter 2013 - Michigan Environmental Report

Great Lakes, energy and trail network on 2013 agenda

Michigan Environmental Report
A slate of environmental and energy policy initiatives was outlined by Gov. Rick Snyder during his Nov. 28 special address on energy and the environment, including stronger clean energy policies and Great Lakes protections, strategic planning for public lands and development of a trail network spanning the state.
View ArticleJan 17, 2013  •  Fall 2012 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Great Lakes, Land Use, Clean Energy

President's Column: Looking ahead in 2013

Michigan Environmental Report
When it came to environmental issues, 2012 ended on a positive note. We will work to continue that trend in 2013.
View ArticleJan 17, 2013  •  Fall 2012 - Michigan Environmental Report

Michigan Parks and the Power of Place

Michigan Environmental Report
Significant changes may be afoot for Michigan’s state parks, following the recommendations of the Michigan State Parks and Outdoor Recreation Blue Ribbon Panel sent to Gov. Rick Snyder in late 2012.
View ArticleJan 17, 2013  •  Fall 2012 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Conservation, Land Use

Agenda 21: Smart planning or insidious U.N. plot?

Michigan Environmental Report
Depending on where you hang your political hat, United Nations Agenda 21’s non-binding set of environmental recommendations is one of two things.
View ArticleJan 15, 2013  •  Fall 2012 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use

New report: Mining law loopholes put rivers, resources at risk

Michigan Environmental Report
A new report from the National Wildlife Federation and Ecojustice Canada concludes that gaps, inconsistencies and loopholes in U.S. state and Canadian provincial laws are leaving the Great Lakes and other natural resources vulnerable to a new wave of mining activity sweeping the Upper Great Lakes states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota and Canadian province of Ontario.
View ArticleJun 12, 2012  •  Spring 2012 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use

National Group: Michigan has the best state parks system in U.S.

Michigan Environmental Report
If you've wandered a Waterloo trail or hung your snow shoes in the cozy warmth of a Porcupine Mountains cabin, you've probably suspected what a national recreation group has confirmed: Michigan has the best state parks system in the country.
View ArticleDec 23, 2011  •  Fall 2011 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use, Conservation

What services do natural ecosystems provide you?

Michigan Environmental Report
The Stewardship Network, an MEC member group, invites participants to their fifth annual conference, " The Science, Practice & Art of Restoring Native Ecosystems," January 20-21 2012, at Michigan State University's Kellogg Center in East Landing.
View ArticleDec 20, 2011  •  Fall 2011 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use, Conservation

Ken Smith: Growing smart in TC

Michigan Environmental Report
When a massive shopping mall proposal threatened to undermine Traverse City's small town feel in the mid-1980s, Ken Smith showed up at an activists' meeting to help fight it.
View ArticleJun 7, 2011  •  Spring 2011 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use

Bell ringers! Environmental successes won in recent weeks

Michigan Environmental Report
In each issue of the Michigan Environmental Report, we celebrate accomplishments by MEC and member groups.
View ArticleDec 15, 2010  •  Fall 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report

Federal grants aim to help Michigan communities be more vibrant, sustainable

Michigan Environmental Report
Smart, sustainable growth in Michigan was buoyed this fall with the receipt of $19 million in federal grants to improve community housing, jobs, transportation planning and infrastructure in five regions of Michigan.
View ArticleDec 15, 2010  •  Fall 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use, Smart Growth

President's Column: The voters have spoken! Now we have to figure out what they really said

Michigan Environmental Report
In Michigan, as across the nation, voters took out their anger with the continuing economic recession on the party in charge. A key factor in the election was that many voters stayed home. Close to 640,000 voters (300,000 Democrats and 340,000 Independents) who voted four years ago in the last gubernatorial election were uninspired to vote this year. Thus, Republicans swept to power, taking all of the statewide offices, including the Supreme Court; grew their legislative majority in the State Senate; and took a huge 20-seat swing in the State House to retake the majority. Winning the election may turn out to be the easy part.
View ArticleDec 14, 2010  •  Fall 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Legislation, Land Use

Michigan 50 Year Vision

Research Reports
The Vision outlines goals – and intermediate steps – to get Michigan to a year 2060 where energy needs are met cleanly and affordably; thriving centers of commerce prosper in harmony with our Great Lakes and other natural assets; and people thrive in dynamic neighborhoods that have easy access to efficient transportation options, healthy local food and cultural amenities.
Download ReportDec 9, 2010

Natural gas frenzy raises questions about toxic chemicals, water use

Michigan Environmental Report
An explosion of interest in natural gas exploration in Michigan has set the stage for a new gas rush that could stimulate the economy, fund key state environmental programs and bring a measure of energy independence. But it also has the potential to contaminate drinking water, mar natural landscapes and degrade the Great Lakes ecosystem.
View ArticleAug 31, 2010  •  Summer 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use, Water Protection

Rail forums build momentum for a more connected future

Michigan Environmental Report
Part way through a run of 16 public forums on the future of Michigan’s rail system, it’s clear that people from all walks of life crave more options for getting around the Great Lakes State.
View ArticleAug 30, 2010  •  Summer 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report

Modern Michigan high speed rail: First in series of public forums Monday in Royal Oak

Press Releases
The first in a statewide slate of public forums on Michigan’s passenger rail transportation future will take place Monday, June 14 in Royal Oak from 6 to 8 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church on Woodward Ave. at 11 Mile Road.
Read MoreJun 10, 2010
RELATED TOPICS: Transportation Policy, Land Use

Detroit RiverFront CEO Faye Nelson awarded Michigan’s top environmental honor; recycling pioneer Margaret Weber named grassroots hero

Press Releases
MEC's 12th annual Environmental Awards Celebration to honor duo June 9 at a ceremony on the Detroit RiverFront
Read MoreJun 2, 2010
RELATED TOPICS: MEC Member Groups, Land Use

Economic gardening: Looking within rather than outside for Michigan’s recovery

Michigan Environmental Report
Michigan is, by right, obsessed with economic development. The convoluted array of incentive and subsidy programs we’ve built to lure new firms or build new industries is substantial, to say the least. But the theory underlying most of these traditional economic development tools is changing. The shift—one with serious potential for environmental and community-minded folks—is fundamentally moving away from traditional “smokestack chasing” models toward what’s been dubbed “economic gardening.”
View ArticleMar 3, 2010  •  Winter 2010 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use

‘Complete Streets’: 21st century path to a vibrant future for Michigan’s cities

Michigan Environmental Report
Lists of reasons to support policies making it easy to walk, bike and connect seamlessly with public transit read like a too-good-to-be-true advertising gimmick: save money, burn less gas, spew less pollution, revitalize core cities, get in better shape, curb obesity and make our streets safer.
View ArticleAug 31, 2009  •  Summer 2009 - Michigan Environmental Report

Bicycles, yes! But a complete streets policy encompasses much, much more

Michigan Environmental Report
If Complete Streets in Michigan were just about bicycle riders, it would just be another small interest group lobbying in its own self-interest.
View ArticleAug 28, 2009  •  Summer 2009 - Michigan Environmental Report

MEC, Realtor: Walkable, vibrant cities are key to Michigan’s urban recovery

Michigan Environmental Report
Michigan needs great, walkable, urban places if it is to mount a serious economic recovery. This is a refreshingly simple message, and one embraced by places like Chicago and Pittsburgh. But it has been a tough sell in Michigan.
View ArticleMay 29, 2009  •  Spring 2009 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use, Smart Growth

Kennecott still lacks state, federal permits to proceed with mine plan

Michigan Environmental Report
The proposed Kennecott nickel mine that would threaten the headwaters of several Lake Superior tributaries with acid mine drainage contamination is not a done deal by any means, according to Upper Peninsula groups working to safeguard the region’s water resources.
View ArticleDec 14, 2008  •  Fall 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Water Protection, Land Use

Groups target legislation gutting key Michigan billboard restrictions

Michigan Environmental Report
Legislation killing popular billboard restrictions was in the crosshairs of Michigan Environmental Council and member group Scenic Michigan this summer.
View ArticleAug 11, 2008  •  Summer 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use

Jean Klock Park’s dunes closer to conversion from public ownership to private golf course

Michigan Environmental Report
Twenty-two acres of publicly-owned Lake Michigan sand dunes in Benton Harbor’s Jean Klock Park are closer to becoming part of a private golf course after a federal agency reversed itself in July and approved its conversion.
View ArticleAug 11, 2008  •  Summer 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Environmental Justice, Land Use

Michigan’s long-suffering mass transit plans may be inching closer to reality

Michigan Environmental Report
Sky-high gasoline prices may have a silver lining as mass transit proposals see a resurgence in public interest. Reports throughout the summer indicate that vehicle miles traveled dropped significantly in Michigan and nationally, while ridership of busses, trains and commuter pools is on the rise. The Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) continues to monitor and work as a catalyst for several transit alternatives. This article provides updates on recent progress, complete with a thicket of acronyms!
View ArticleAug 11, 2008  •  Summer 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use, Transportation Policy

Legislation would open the door to more billboards along Michigan roads

Press Releases
Legislation killing billboard control measures could mean thousands more billboards along Michigan’s scenic highways and byways, and should be rejected by the State House of Representatives and/or Gov. Granholm, said the Michigan Environmental Council and Scenic Michigan today.
Read MoreJul 10, 2008
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use

Milliken: Conserving a legacy—Michigan’s natural wonders

Michigan Environmental Report
Barely one percent of DNR lands get natural area designations. The following is an opinion column from former Gov. William Milliken regarding natural areas protection, printed on March 2, 2008 in the Lansing State Journal.
View ArticleMay 29, 2008  •  Spring 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use, Conservation

A line in the sand

Michigan Environmental Report
Last issue we profiled Milliken Award winner Prof. Bunyan Bryant. This issue we focus on Petoskey Prize recipient Carol Drake and her David-vs-Goliath battle to stop corporate interests from taking publicly owned Lake Michigan sand dunes. Both were scheduled to receive their awards during the May 28 Michigan Environmental Council Awards Event in Ann Arbor.
View ArticleMay 29, 2008  •  Spring 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Environmental Justice, Land Use

Highway through wetlands, use of DDA funds calls into question wisdom of ignoring “Smart Growth” policies

Michigan Environmental Report
Members of the 4 Towns Citizen Action Team, an MEC member group, have been fighting for Smart Growth policies in sprawling Commerce Township, north of Detroit, where proposed development will impact wetlands, contribute to sprawl and do a legal tap dance around a federal order designed to stop a proposed highway extension through wetlands. This update is from 4 Towns Vice President Lorna McEwen.
View ArticleMay 29, 2008  •  Spring 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use, Smart Growth

A little too much garlic . . .

Michigan Environmental Report
Garlic mustard—an invasive plant that can overwhelm the natural habitat of Michigan’s wildflowers and native flora within a few years—was in the crosshairs of the Stewardship Network this spring. Network volunteers aimed to pull an estimated 100,000 pounds of the invader during April and May.
View ArticleMay 29, 2008  •  Spring 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Conservation, Land Use

New staffer brings construction experience, law degree to bear on land use and legislature

Michigan Environmental Report
Tim Fischer recalls looking beyond the trusses of a home his construction company was building in North Carolina, and seeing 500-home subdivisions sprouting in valleys a half-hour drive from any other sign of civilization.
View ArticleJan 1, 2008  •  Winter 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use, Transportation Policy

Report: Tradition of public access to UP forests threatened by ownership changes

Michigan Environmental Report
The Upper Peninsula’s unique identity could be changing as commercial forest ownership changes threaten traditions of public access and wide-open spaces, according to a report released in December by the Michigan Environmental Council in concert with conservation groups and university researchers.
View ArticleJan 1, 2008  •  Winter 2008 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use

Culture, commerce and natural resources pay no heed to municipal boundaries

Michigan Environmental Report
Communities are defined by where people work, shop and play—and where their natural assets are—not by municipal boundaries, according to a new report, <em>Breaking Down Barriers to Cooperative Land Use Planning</em>. The report was recently released by the Land Information Access Association (LIAA) in Traverse City.
View ArticleOct 22, 2007  •  Fall 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use

Joint planning projects across the state earn kudos

Michigan Environmental Report
Several local projects have achievements to report, and the lessons learned from each can be enlightening for leaders and advocates hoping to get more out of their local planning processes.
View ArticleOct 22, 2007  •  Fall 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Smart Growth, Land Use

Planning for economic development: Rising together or sinking separately?

Research Reports
The “Dollars and Sense of Smart Growth” is a series exploring some of the real-world consequences—and the financial impacts—of the commonplace land use decisions being made in communities across the state.
Download ReportJul 11, 2007
RELATED TOPICS: Smart Growth, Land Use

Smart Investments Series: The Dollars and Sense of Smart Growth

Michigan Environmental Report
With a 35% increase in population from 1990 to 2000 and a major divestiture by large corporate forest land owners, the resource and nature-rich Keweenaw Peninsula was facing dramatic and the potentially harmful land use changes at the beginning of the new century.
View ArticleFeb 1, 2007  •  Winter 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use, Smart Growth

Urban sprawl coming to the U.P., too

Michigan Environmental Report
Urban sprawl is commonly thought to be a problem only in the outlying fringes of southeast Michigan, or Grand Rapids or Traverse City. But MEC is also tackling this issue in the Upper Peninsula, trying to get ahead of the sprawl curve before it undermines the unique lifestyle and natural resources of the area.
View ArticleFeb 1, 2007  •  Winter 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use, Smart Growth

Proposed nickel mine clears its first hurdle

Michigan Environmental Report
A proposed Upper Peninsula nickel mine that would create dangerous toxic acid and endanger a pristine ecosystem got preliminary approval in January from Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s administration.
View ArticleFeb 1, 2007  •  Winter 2007 - Michigan Environmental Report
RELATED TOPICS: Water Protection, Land Use

You can protect the Great Lakes and build a stronger coastal community with Smart Growth strategies

Research Reports
Stormwater runoff carries pollution straight into Michigan’s lakes, rivers, and streams. In Michigan’s coastal regions, development patterns impact the quality, quantity and velocity of stormwater runoff entering the Great Lakes. New federal requirements based on the Clean Water Act require communities to address this increasing problem. Many Michigan communities are establishing plans to address stormwater runoff, today and into the future.
Download ReportOct 30, 2006

Developing our coastlines: Four Michigan communities take stock of their Great Lakes assets

Research Reports
Michigan's Great Lakes coastline is a magnet for development, drawing people and businesses at a brisk pace that outstrips the growth of inland communities. But fragmented and disjointed planning on the coasts is overseen by more than 400 separate jurisdictions, a confusing checkerboard of often contradictory and counterproductive rules, zoning laws and long-range plans.
Download ReportAug 1, 2006
RELATED TOPICS: Land Use

Community, Character and Cash: How you can reform transportation with context sensitive solutions

Research Reports
Context sensitive solutions (CSS) is a new approach to transportation policy. CSS programs -- now underway in numerous states across the U.S. -- are meant to improve the way that transportation projects get envisioned, planned and built. Michigan Environmental Council conducted research and produced this report to provide community leaders with case studies and recommendations to help them implement CSS in their planning processes. Based on our research, we outline ten critical points to follow for a successful CSS program in Michigan.
Download ReportDec 1, 2005

Ten state case studies of context sensitive solutions (CSS) implementation

Research Reports
Each of the ten states described in our research is implementing context sensitive solutions (CSS) through new policies on project development, staff training, conferences, research, and community outreach and involvement. Taken together, they provide a template for success and offer guidelines for building a program in Michigan.
Download ReportDec 1, 2005

Survey of existing programs within the Michigan Department of Transportation

Research Reports
MDOT currently has programs in place that can serve as starting points for developing a fully integrated context sensitive solutions (CSS) program. Among them are programs that focus on safety and balancing the flow of traffic (Access Management), historical features (Heritage Routes), and creative technological solutions for transportation problems (Intelligent Transportation Systems).
Download ReportDec 1, 2005

Smart Growth for Clean Water: Innovative strategies for NPDES Phase II Stormwater Management in Michigan

Research Reports
Polluted stormwater runoff is one of the nation's leading threats to clean water. Rain and snowmelt running over parking lots, roofs, over-fertilized lawns and open construction sites wash dirt, chemicals and bacteria into the water we drink. Communities across Michigan are developing plans to comply with federal stormwater reduction requirements. Smart Growth tools can help Michigan communities find their own, unique ways to address the water quality impacts of land use changes, development and stormwater runoff.
Download ReportJun 1, 2005
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