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Michigan Wetland Action Coalition e-Newsletter

Dear Wetlands Advocate,
We hope this e-newsletter continues to be a valuable resource for Michigan's wetland advocates. Please forward this on to those you think would be interested. If you would like to be added to or unsubscribed from this list, please email:
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear three cases Monday that sought to restrict the scope of wetland regulations. One of the three cases, United States v. John A. Rapanos (, involved a Michigan man convicted of filling wetlands in Williams Township. By declining to hear these cases, the Supreme Court has rejected industry attempts to broadly interpret the extremely narrow January 2001 ruling in the case of Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the SWANCC decision). This ruling held that Clean Water Act protections do not extend to certain "isolated" waters where the only connection to other waters is through use by migratory birds.

The court's decision not to hear these cases sends a positive message to wetland advocates, but underscores the need to act legislatively to ensure the protection of all waters of the U.S., including wetlands and intermittent streams. The Clean Water Authority Restoration Act of 2003 (H.R.962 and S.473) would clarify the definition of "waters of the United States" in the Clean Water Act to include so-called "isolated" waters. Please ask President Bush, Senators Levin and Stabenow, and your representative to support passage of the Clean Water Authority Restoration Act.

In what one wetland activist described as "three grueling hours of unenlightened debate about the Clean Water Act and the SWANCC decision," the Water Resources and Environment subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee heard testimony on "inconsistent regulation of wetlands and other waters." The subcommittee members heard testimony from the Corps, EPA, representatives of construction and farming groups, an attorney from the Western Environmental Law Center, and others.

Michigan's representative Vernon Ehlers (R) is a member of the subcommittee and in a short opening statement expressed support for the federal wetlands protection program and highlighted his involvement in developing wetland protections in Michigan. He also noted that deciding whether ground water connections are sufficient to establish connectivity to other waters will be key to this issue.

For more information and copies of the witness testimony go to:
Read the GAO report on the Corps' practices in determining jurisdiction:

"Rock the Wetlands" is coming to Elk Rapids all day on May 15 at the Elk Rapids Township Hall on River Street, and anyone interested in wetlands is invited!

Morning events will feature a wetlands birding hike with Bob Carstens
From the Grand Traverse Audubon Society as well as a wetlands education hike with Dr. Chris Grobbel at Petobego Swamp and Maple Bay Farm south of Elk Rapids.

Afternoon events will feature talks by Dave Dempsey, a policy advisor at the Michigan Environmental Council and author of two books on conservation efforts in Michigan and John Nelson, the Baykeeper of Grand Traverse Bay. The speakers will explain why wetland protection is important.

"Rock the Wetlands Unplugged" will begin at 7 pm in the evening and will be a concert featuring Elk Rapids High School students, graduates and friends. Winners of a writing contest "The Value of Wetlands and Why They Should Be Protected" will be announced at the evening concert. All events will be held at the Elk Rapids Township Hall. For more information please call (231) 264-8396.
May 20-22
Traverse City, Michigan

To honor the 25th anniversary of the Wetland Protection Act, the Michigan Departments of Environmental Quality and Natural Resources, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Northwestern Michigan College, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, and a number of other organizations are planning a special conference. The event will include a plenary session on Great Lakes coastal wetlands; presentations by many of the state’s leading experts in wetland science and management; concurrent sessions on wetland restoration, local government options for wetland management, natural history, wetland education, wetland monitoring and assessment, and wetland regulatory protection programs; GIS technology demonstrations; field trips; vendor and non-profit exhibits; and a number of social and networking opportunities.

Visit,1607,7-135-3313_3687-85561--,00.html to learn more and register for the conference.
The Michigan Wetland Action Coalition is a project of:
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
426 Bay Street, Petoskey, MI 49770
Phone: (231) 347-1181 ext. 118
Fax: (231) 347-5928

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