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E-M:/ Great Lakes Habitat Watch #72
Enviro-Mich message from firstname.lastname@example.org
>>From bin Tue Jul 15 20:33:29 1997
>Date: Tue, 15 Jul 1997 15:24:19 -0700 (PDT)
>From: Great Lakes United <email@example.com>
>Subject: Great Lakes Habitat Watch #72
>GREAT LAKES UNITED
>Great Lakes Habitat Watch #72
>Week of July 7, 1997
>STRANGE DAYS IN MICHIGAN I -- New Baltimore Marina: In
>an unprecedented action by the U.S. Army Corps of
>Engineers which threatens to overturn district
>disapproval of a habitat-destroying marina, the
>Secretary of the Army has ordered that a permit review
>be handled by the Corps' headquarters rather than the
>district office. The decision by Secretary of the Army
>Togo West comes on the heels of the district office's
>1996 rejection of the City of New Baltimore's proposed
>construction of a marina on Lake St Clair in Michigan.
>The plan would involve dredging 17,000 cubic yards of
>bottom material in one of Lake St. Clair's most
>valuable offshore shallows. According to the Michigan
>DEQ's Wildlife Division, these waters are one of only
>four or five extremely important feeding and resting
>areas for thousands of waterfowl. Independent and U.S.
>Fish and Wildlife Survey studies concluded that the
>project would 1) likely shift the vegatative community
>from its current status (dominated by wild celery
>critical to canvasback and redhead ducks) to dominance
>by non-indigenous nuisance species; and 2) shift the
>benthic and fish communities to a low-diversity
>community comprising a few stress-tolerant species such
>as common carp and shad.
>The permit was initially rejected, but with backers
>including Gov. Engler and U.S. Sen. Spencer Abraham,
>New Baltimore resubmitted the plan to the Corps without
>alteration. Secretary West's decision to remove the
>decision from the district office, conceding policy to
>political pressure, has opened the Corps to political
>influence in a manner that compromises the Corps'
>authority and creates a new threat to our endangered
>coastal and wetland habitats. Critiques of the
>secretary's decision can be directed to Togo D. West,
>Secretary of the Army, Pentagon, Rm. 3E700, Arlington,
>VA 20310-0101. Contact Dave Dempsey of the Michigan
>Environmental Council at (517) 487-9539.
>STRANGE DAYS II -- Clinton Township Wetland: In a
>second bizarre decision ending a nine-year contested
>case, Michigan's DEQ has decided to permit the
>destruction of 30 acres of wetlands near the mouth of
>the Clinton River spillway feeding Lake St. Clair, and
>to give the developer a reduced mitigation requirement
>to boot. In a June ruling, DEQ Administrative Law
>Judge Richard Patterson concluded: 1) the site
>revealed no "substantial standing water" -- even though
>he failed to walk the site and was advised of the
>importance of seasonal standing water; 2) the site has
>no impact on the Clinton River or Lake St. Clair --
>even though the developer has no stormwater management
>plan; 3) the project services a public need and there
>are no feasible alternatives -- even though the
>developer failed to document an alternatives analysis
>and despite a scaled-down proposal from the DEQ which
>"would not generate a sufficient return" (i.e., ensure
>a 10% profit); and 4) warping years of legal precedent,
>that the residential development project is "wetlands
>dependent" in that wetlands must be destroyed to
>complete the project.
>Adding insult to injury, where the state has
>traditionally required 1.5 acres of mitigation for
>every 1 acre of wetland lost, the draft mitigation plan
>would only replace 0.3 acres for every 1 acre lost.
>This policy stems from a recent memorandum by Chief
>Administrative Law Judge Lacasse that ruled the 1.5:1
>ratio "out of line."
>According to a review of contested DEQ case decisions
>conducted by Terry Miller of the Lone Tree Council and
>Dave Dempsey of the Michigan Environmental Council,
>there is a solid trend of overturned DEQ decisions by
>two of the three administrative law judges and an
>initiative to close the backlog of contested cases
>through settlements that favor development. The review
>also identifies other enforcement and management
>problems within the DEQ. Contact Terry Miller at (517)
>686-6386 or Dave Dempsey at (517) 487-9539.
>Note: The EIC's phone number was incorrectly reported
>in HW 71, it is (202) 887-8800.
>Next week: STRANGE DAYS III - Minden Bog, and OHIO
>GL Habitat Watch is produced by GLU's Biodiversity and
>Habitat Protection Task Force. The Task Force is
>committed to protecting natural areas and resources and
>strong conservation laws in the face of wise use
>opposition. Please send your stories to Andy Frank
>via phone [(716) 886-0142]; fax [(716) 886-0303] or e-
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