Developing a Watershed Management Plan for the Upper Pine River

We are in the initial stages of developing a watershed management plan for the upper Pine River and we would like your input and support. Watershed planning brings together the people within a watershed to evaluate the quality of the land and water, without regards to political boundaries. A watershed includes all the land that drains to a common point, in this case the Pine River. The rationale for watershed management is that if we properly manage activities on the land, we will protect and improve the water resources within the lakes and streams.

There are many locations within the Pine River Watershed that show signs of impairment, and we would like your help to identify them. Some examples of impairments include sediment buildup in the stream bed, algal blooms, erosion of road-stream crossings, failing septic systems, stream bank erosion, etc. Basically, anything that interferes with Michigan’s identified designated uses would be considered an impairment. According to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), all surface waters are designated for and shall be protected for the following uses: agriculture, industrial water supply, public water supply at the point of intake, navigation, warm water fishery, other indigenous aquatic life and wildlife, partial body contact recreation, and total body contact recreation between May 1st and October 31st. There are places in the Pine River that are so built up with sediment that ducks can walk across the stream. Other locations have degraded habitat for fish and an obvious reduction in wildlife. Some areas of the stream have non-native plant build-up that has choked out the natural flow of the river.

We need letters of support: If you are aware of specific locations that shows signs of impairment, please jot down as much information as you can to help us identify where we can begin our study. Include in your letter a brief description of the area of impairment, the changes you have witnessed over the years, the geographic location of the impairment (including a map if possible), the changes you would like to see, and your interest in supporting the project.

The watershed management plan could take up to 12-24 months to develop, and then another 12-24 months to implement the identified projects. Because this plan is in its infancy, we are looking for local support. We know that there are many opportunities to improve the Pine River Watershed and the sooner they are identified, the sooner we can make some improvements. Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to working with you as this project goes forward.

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