Granholm issues directive to protect
By Erica Kolaski
Cheboygan Daily Tribune
April 26, 2004
CHEBOYGAN - Major steps are being taken to help protect
some of Northern Michigan's most valuable natural resources.
Small isolated wetlands areas were the subject of a recent
announcement by state officials, according to Chris Grubb
of the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council.
"Small wetlands areas, which often house rare animal
and plant species, will be better protected thanks to
a new executive directive from Gov. Jennifer Granholm
authorizing the Department of Environmental Quality to
preserve wetlands on public land," he said.
"We applaud the governor for making good on this
aspect of her special message to the Legislature and moving
forward on better protecting isolated wetlands in the
Grubb said that state environmental laws outline that
the DEQ may regulate certain small wetlands when it has
determined that they are essential to the natural resources
of the state.
The new directive will allow the DEQ to better preserve
these "unique ecosystems" on public land, said
He said that a recently conducted DEQ survey that indicated
that at least 37 state rare animal species occurred in
109 isolated wetland sites.
"In addition, some 113 rare plant species were found
in 389 noncontiguous wetland areas, nine of these species
exist only in Michigan," he said.
Grubb explained that noncontiguous wetlands are those
not connected to lakes or streams and are more than 500
feet from a lake or stream and more than 1,000 feet from
the Great Lakes, and are less than five acres in size.
He said that the survey indicated that 271,534 acres
out of a total 5,583,400 acres of wetlands are unregulated
unless the local government takes action to protect them.
"Beyond providing critical habitat for many species
of fish, birds and other wildlife, wetlands provide valuable
services to out state including erosion control, flood
protection and pollution filtration," said Grubb.