Pages tagged "Agriculture Pollution"
Beneath our beloved lakes, rivers, streams, creeks and communities are our aquifers. These features store our vast expanse of groundwater, which irrigates our crops, powers our electrical plants, keeps our surface water and its ecosystems vibrant, and gives us good, clean water to drink.
But failing septic systems, factory farm pollution and toxic chemicals have seeped into our groundwater supply. Industry and agriculture have unsustainably withdrawn water from the ground, threatening water quality, ecosystems and land stability.
To keep our water system strong, clean and perpetually refreshed, we must better understand groundwater and protect it in ways both environmentally and economically beneficial.
MEC program director Tom Zimnicki and MEC board member Bryan Burroughs are using their appointments to the state's Water Use Advisory Council to give Michigan the data it needs to best protect groundwater. This state-appointed, citizen-powered council gave its first recommendations to the Michigan Legislature in 2021: a minimum $11 million to fund systems that would efficiently collect, analyze and use data that will power future decision making on how water is used and monitored.
We know a lot about our surface water. We are, after all, the Great Lake State. But the water beneath is metaphorically murky. We don't even know how groundwater travels. A PFAS-contaminated site or a major water withdrawal could have devastating effects elsewhere in the state, and we wouldn't even know it.
To protect groundwater from toxic and chemical pollutants, we're educating and advocating for three policies: a statewide septic code, sustainable agricultural practices and limits to manure runoff.
Michigan is the only state without a statewide septic code, and many of our counties don't have a code either. That makes it tough to fix septic tanks before they fail, identify where a failure has occurred and help tank owners pay for expenses. When a septic tank fails, the nasty nutrients in our waste can contaminate our groundwater and, thus, our drinking water.
Groundwater is threatened from waste above, too, namely from animal waste that travels down below. We're working in the state administrative courts and with farmers to help promote sustainable agricultural practices that are both environmentally and economically beneficial.
How We Work
- Through Program Director Tom Zimnicki’s and board member Bryan Burroughs’ appointments to the Water Use Advisory Council
- Through Chairwoman Jennifer McKay’s policy leadership with Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
- With member groups like Michigan Trout Unlimited, Healthy Pine River and ECCSCM
- As always, with other member groups
- As always, at the Capitol
Michigan Senate Republicans put politics ahead of improving the lives of their constituents Tuesday when they rejected 13 expert appointees to citizen commissions and boards in a show against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 decisions.
The party line rejection vote means appointees cannot be considered again for their respective workgroups, which provide policy recommendations to the state government and its elected leaders.
Included were four environmental appointees: Thomas Baird and David Cozad to the Natural Resources Commission; Erin Kricher to the Rural Development Fund Board; and Cheryl Kobernik to the Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development.Read more
On Thursday, a coalition of eight Great Lakes region organizations filed a motion in support of the area’s people, water and wildlife.
Michigan Environmental Council, Environmental Law & Policy Center and other partners seek to legally intervene in the 2020 Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation general permit contested by Michigan Farm Bureau and livestock commodity groups.Read more
Tuesday marked the launch of an organization aimed at improving the economic and environmental conditions hindering Michigan farms.
Michigan Agriculture Advancement, or MiAA, will advocate for statewide policies and programs that promote farm prosperity, weather resiliency, water quality and rural economies. Michigan Environmental Council will be a strong supporter of its efforts.Read more
Don a coat and walk to the Pine River’s edge in Gratiot County during Michigan’s winter months and you’d think the Pine River “was the most wonderful river in the world,” said Gary Rayburn.
Gary Rayburn is not fooled, though. The high E. coli levels are always there. And when the weather warms, the algae rise from the depths, a thick, neon green sign of nutrient overload from manure runoff.Read more
Thursday morning, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its partners released the 2020 Seasonal Forecast of Harmful Algal Blooms for Lake Erie.
NOAA predicted a moderate bloom severity of 4.5 out of 10 that could possibly reach 5.5. An index of 5 indicates severe algal blooms. In 2015, the governors of Ohio and Michigan, along with the premier of Ontario, set a public goal of reducing nutrient pollution by 40% by 2025, with 2020 as a halfway interim goal of 20%.
In response to today’s report, the Alliance for the Great Lakes, Freshwater Future, Michigan Environmental Council, and Ohio Environmental Council are calling on the governors and the premier to improve domestic action plans to provide a blueprint, not just a long list of best management practices, that the public can use to hold decision-makers accountable.Read more
A recent draft plan to make Lake Erie healthier and bluer could continue to leave it algae green. Michigan residents can join MEC and other advocates to help improve it.
In April, after weeks of research and collaboration, Michigan Environmental Council sent in a sign-on letter with allies to the state of Michigan. They asked for revisions to its adaptive management plan for Lake Erie's high nutrient levels during a public comment period, which is open to all Michiganders until June 19.
New animal waste regulations came into effect Wednesday after more than three months of review by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. Michigan Environmental Council, member group Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan (ECCSCM) and other allies worked together to urge more stringent requirements during the draft proposal process, some of which took effect.Read more