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  • published The Sands of Time in Learning to Live in Dynamic Dunes 2020-04-09 16:19:30 -0400

    The Sands of Time

    To most Americans, a sand dune conjures up an image of an exotic place somewhere far, far away. But Michiganders don't have to travel far, with the world's largest body of freshwater coastal dunes in their backyard. 

    These unique Michigan landmarks began forming around 5,000 years ago and have evolved in complex ways since that time. While scientists generally understand the overall chronology of dune formation, there is a continued need to better understand how the dunes have changed in the historic period.

    Our most recent project, Learning to Live in Dynamic Dunes, built an archive of historic coastal sand dune photographs at many points along Lake Michigan. This database is allowing researchers to better understand and predict the morphology, movement, and characteristics of dunes. This information is crucial for long-term preservation, conservation, and management activities within coastal areas.

    For this project, Michigan State University Professor Alan Arbogast and his research assistant Kevin McKeehan, collected a cache of over 200 historical photos from various state and private archives along with contributions from citizen scientists in the general public. A subset of these historical photos was then paired with exact modern replicates to create the Michigan Coastal Dunes Repeat Photography Map.

    Curious about the process used to create the map?   

    Learn more about repeat photography

    Taken in Van Buren State Park in 1997.  Same site taken from the same place in 2014.

     


  • published Keep septic regulations in place 2019-05-13 12:33:39 -0400

    Keep septic regulations in place

    Michigan Environmental Council and our partner organizations have been working for years to create a statewide septic code that will require the periodic testing and inspections of septic systems. Every other state in the nation has a statewide septic code, except the Great Lake State. Only 11 counties in Michigan currently exercise some oversight of septics, including Kalkaska. Kalkaska county has a Point of Sale ordinance for their septic systems, and because of this ordinance, residents of Kalkaska are less vulnerable to human waste loaded with pathogens like E.coli entering into their drinking water.

    Unfortunately, the Kalkaska County Board of Health recently voted to repeal the Point of Sale septic program. The repeal now goes before 10 county Board of Commissioners for approval or rejection. These counties include Crawford, Kalkaska, Lake, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Missaukee, Newaygo, Oceana, and Wexford County. Since we do not have a statewide septic code, we must keep the few existing regulations on septics in place to protect the health and safety of Michiganders.

    IF YOU ARE FROM ANY OF THESE COUNTIES, WE NEED YOUR HELP! USE THIS FORM TO TELL YOUR COUNTY CLERK TO KEEP DRINKING WATER PROTECTIONS IN PLACE 

    This regulation is an important step in making sure the residents of Michigan are protected from dangerous water contamination. We will not be able to fix what we are not looking for, which is why it is imperative that the Board of Commissioners hears from you and keeps the Point of Sale septic inspection in place.



  • House Leadership Slashes Funding for Programs that Protect our Water, Land, and Public Health

    LANSING - The House appropriations subcommittee passed out their fiscal year 2020 budget for the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on a party line vote. In their budget, House Republican leadership took a hatchet to programs that protect Michiganders from environmental and public health threats by cutting an astounding $9 million from Governor Whitmer’s proposal. This comes in sharp contrast to what Senate Republicans supported in their budget for the departments, which included $120 million in general funds for EGLE. Michigan Environmental Council released the following statement in opposition:

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  • Governor Whitmer Promotes Transparency in New Freedom of Information Act Executive Directive

    LANSING - Today, February 1, Governor Whitmer issued an executive directive (ED) that makes it clear that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is important to her administration and encourages state departments to work with residents who request information. The ED includes ways in which state departments could enhance their transparency, including holding more publically accessible meetings. It also asks for departments to name a liaison who will provide assistance for people navigating the FOIA process and to create advocates in transparency when available. Michigan Environmental Council issued the following statement in support:

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  • Senate Bill Introduced to Natural Resources Committee Threatens Wetlands, Lakes, and Streams

    On Wednesday, November 28, the Senate Natural Resources Committee heard testimony on SB 1211 introduced by Senator Tom Casperson. Michigan Environmental Council, as well as many other environmental organizations, are strongly opposed to this bill. SB 1211 will completely overhaul how Michigan’s wetlands, inland lakes and streams are regulated by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Currently, Michigan is one of two states with delegated authority from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to administer the Clean Water Act. Michigan’s program is already noncompliant with federal standards, and SB 1211 will push us further out of compliance. The result is increased degradation of our water quality and the elimination of lakes and wetlands vital for ecological health and outdoor recreation. Michigan Environmental Council released the following statement in response:

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  • Here are some voting tips plus one change you'll see on the ballot this year

    On Tuesday, November 6, Election Day will finally be here. With Michigan’s environment facing threats on multiple fronts, strong leadership is more important now than ever. We understand that taking just an hour out of your day to go vote can be difficult, so here are some helpful tips to make your Election Day a good one!

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  • New Agriculture Proposal Threatens the Health of Michigan’s Public and Environment

    LANSING - Starting in 2019, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has proposed to no longer consider local zoning when determining the location of livestock operations under the Generally Accepted Agriculture Management Practices (GAAMPs). GAAMPs are voluntary farming guidelines established under the Right to Farm Act. If followed, GAAMPs afford farm operators protections from nuisance complaints and lawsuits from neighbors. Under current GAAMP standards, MDARD considers local zoning ordinances when evaluating locations for livestock operation placements. Under the proposed changes, however, MDARD would not consider such information. Michigan Environmental Council and the Michigan Townships Association released the following statement in regards to this proposal:

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  • The Price of Power: DTE Energy’s new proposal could mean much higher bills for Michiganders

    On July 3, DTE Energy filed a rate case with the Michigan Public Service Commission. If it is approved, it would increase electricity bills for DTE residential customers by $240 per year by 2022.

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  • commented on Governor Debate 2018-10-15 14:59:27 -0400
    hello

    What do you want to ask our next governor?

    On October 24, Gretchen Whitmer and Bill Schuette will face off in their final debate before the election. Got anything you'd like to ask them on the environment? Submit your questions here!

    Michigan Environmental Council will collect your questions and send the top ones to the producers of the debate. From Line 5 to PFAS, there are many environmental concerns in Michigan that must be addressed. What do you want to hear the candidates speak on before you go to the polls on November 6?

    It's time to ask the hard-hitting questions. After submitting, please share this with your friends and family with #ShapeTheDebate!

    Send your question(s)

  • published Contaminated water in our backyard in News 2018-08-24 12:37:34 -0400

    Contaminated water in our backyard

    Growing up in a community like Rockford, Michigan, it’s easy to take a lot of things for granted. It felt safe and welcoming, and the idea that my family or neighbors could be drinking toxic water never crossed my mind. Then, one weekend while I was home from college, my Mom told me that I couldn’t drink from the tap, explaining why we had an unusually large amount of bottled water in the house.

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  • published Cultivating a Better Future in News 2018-08-10 15:17:04 -0400

    Cultivating a better future: how Michigan farmers can help prevent algae blooms

    Over the past few weeks, we have shared with you parts one and two of our plan to combat nuisance and toxic algae blooms. Today, we have the final installment which focuses on better practices for both crop and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

    We saved the best (or worst) for last because, simply put, runoff from agricultural operations is the main contributor to the algae blooms occurring in Lake Erie and all around the Great Lakes Basin. The runoff from both CAFOs and crop operations feed nuisance and toxic algae blooms, and despite the state spending millions of dollars trying to address this problem, we’ve seen only marginal improvements over the past decade.

    Help us fight algae blooms. Sign this petition and urge Governor Snyder and the State Legislature to take action now.

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  • endorsed 2018-08-02 09:39:25 -0400

    Vote for Water Pledge

    Add your name to the list of those taking action to protect Michigan's water at the upcoming election.

    What makes the Great Lakes Michigan's most valuable natural resource? You could list facts about this all day long, such as how the lakes provide 40 million people with drinking water and 1.5 million jobs. But to a Michigander, you can’t sum up what the Great Lakes are worth with statistics. We know these lakes are priceless. So when you cast your vote in the upcoming August 7 primary, remember to Vote for Water.

    Who we choose to elect has a direct impact on the waters of Michigan. Our Great Lakes and inland waterways are currently facing a multitude of serious threats that need to be addressed. We urge you to keep these in mind during this election cycle:

    1. Algae Blooms - At their best, algae blooms foul our waters and make them a sickly green color, but at their worst, algae blooms can contain toxic cyanobacteria which contaminates our drinking water and closes beaches.
    2. Drinking Water Contamination - Michigan’s drinking water is threatened by pollution. In 2017, 71 water systems had higher lead levels than Flint and there are 35 sites and counting that have been identified with PFAS contamination.
    3. Aging Septic Systems - There are over 100,000 septic systems leaking over 30 million gallons of raw sewage into our groundwater every day. This waste pollutes our rivers, streams, and lakes and is loaded with pathogens like E. coli that threaten the health of Michigan residents.
    4. Line 5 - Every day, 23 million gallons of oil flow through a 65-year-old pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. A recent study found that a spill from this pipeline could pollute up to 400 miles of Great Lakes shoreline and would cost the state nearly $1.9 billion to clean up.
    5. Plastics - 22 million pounds of plastic enter the Great Lakes every year, and once it’s in our water, it never goes away. Instead, it breaks down into “microplastics” that get into our drinking water supply.
    6. Invasive Species – More than 180 invasive and non-native species have entered the Great Lakes, wreaking havoc on their ecosystem. These intruders, like the parasitic sea lamprey, outcompete native species, degrade habitats and disrupt food-webs which ultimately affects Michigan’s fishing, agriculture and tourism industries.

    This list could go on, but you get the point. The waters of Michigan are being attacked on multiple fronts. One of the greatest ways you can help protect them is by voting in the August 7 primary with these issues in mind. Pledge to Vote for Water now - and share this page with your friends and family with #VoteForWater.

    Endorse

  • Plugging the Leak: Help us keep raw sewage out of our waters

    So far in our three-part plan to combat toxic algae blooms we have shared with you how healthy soil leads to clean water. In this installment, we share part two of our plan: a statewide septic code.

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