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Re: E-M:/ Drain code to the house floor



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Enviro-Mich message from "David Zaber" <dzaber@chorus.net>
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Thanks to Sue Julian for keeping us up to date on the Drain Code revision
process.  I hope that folks understand that this piece of legislation has
the potential to reverse years of watershed improvements in Michigan.
Without a strong drain code that fully accounts for the irreplaceable
ecological functions of headwater streams (and some lower reaches too)
Michiganders can be certain that they will forced to pay to destroy their
rivers and streams.

For a great example of the ecological destruction that occurs from
activities permitted under the drain code, check out the Grass Lake drain as
it flows west from Grass Lake to its confluence with the Grand River.  In
the early 1990s, the waterway was starting to show signs of ecological
health and recovery but low and behold, the "Drain Brigade" made short work
of this recovery when they dredged the small headwater stream.  What was
once a recovering (read stabilizing) stream reach is now another a source of
bank erosion and sediment.  The temperature extremes that occur in the
stream (from lack of tree cover) means that aquatic species will be hard
hit.  Downstream flooding in the Grand river will also be exacerbated (that
means "made worse" for all of you politicians thinking of supporting this
bill) as flow fluctuations become more extreme.

Wastewater dischargers in the state should also oppose this bill since
degradation of the  structure of aquatic ecosystems damages the functions of
those systems and one of those functions is to attenuate and assimilate the
billions of gallons of wastewater discharged to Michigan lakes, rivers and
streams each year.  Without proper dilution, dischargers will likely be
forced to rachet down their wasteloads to comply with the Clean Water Act,
costing Michigan residents even more.

One of the saddest aspects of this bill, is that it ignores the majority of
scientific information pertaining to aquatic ecosystems, much of which was
developed by Michigan scientists in Michigan colleges and universities and
governmental agencies.  But science be damned, it seems.  Perhaps the
drafters of this legislation should have included a provision that dumps the
dredge spoils directly on the Institute for Fisheries Research building.
Once it's covered, they would not be reminded of that pesky ecological
information produced by the scientific professionals there and throughout
the state.

With this drain code revision, Michigan citizens should be certain that the
state will rightfully take its place among the most ecologically regressive
states in the nation.

David J. Zaber
dzaber@chorus.net
----- Original Message -----
From: Sue Julian <benj@tir.com>
To: <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>
Sent: Wednesday, December 01, 1999 6:48 AM
Subject: E-M:/ Drain code to the house floor


> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich message from Sue Julian <benj@tir.com>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Your phone calls are doing some good, but legislators simply don't know
> what to make of this 283 page bill.  None of them will read it--they'll
> just respond to what they've heard about it.  The lobbyists the drain
> commissioners' association has hired say, "It an improvement over what
> we've got."  They fail to mention ways in which it is worse, or the vast
> majority of current problems that now exist that haven't been "fixed."
>
> More than 30 organizations have lined up against it and more are calling
> in, but they're not a substitute for phone calls and faxes to legislators.
>
> The bill, HB 4803 H-2, was officially referred from committee at 8:06 pm
> last night "with recommendation for second reading and passage." It's
> difficult to predict, but it could see action today December 1st.
>
> Check out the web page for more information and a list of legislators with
> phone and fax numbers <http://www.members.tripod.com/Michigan_Drain_Code/>
> *****************************************************************
> * Sue Julian                                                    *
> * Michigan Drain Code Coalition                                 *
> * Phone: (248) 634-3513                                         *
> * Phone: (517) 324-9664 (ans. mach.)                            *
> * P.O. Box 304                                                  *
> * Holly, MI 48442                                               *
> * email: benj@tir.com                                           *
> * MDCC Homepage: http://members.tripod.com/Michigan_Drain_Code/ *
> *****************************************************************
>
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