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Great Lakes Article:

Granholm issues directive to protect remote wetlands
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 state."

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 Grubb.

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.

 

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