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E-M:/ Inkster Wetland Contested Case



A small group of local residents is petitioning the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for a Contested Case Hearing and seeking an injunction regarding the imminent destruction of what should be about 5 acres of regulated wetland near the southwest corner of Cherry Hill Road and Beech Daly Road in the City of Inkster, Wayne County, Michigan. The proposed development, "The Meadows", is a 43-lot residential subdivision on an approximately 12-acre site. The site is approximately 1/2 mile north of the Lower Rouge River, and just a few hundred feet northeast of Westwood Park.
 
As usual, the DEQ (Andrew Hartz) has sided with a wetland consulting firm (King & MacGregor - Woody Held), in its determination that a larger wetland system is actually broken up into small, unregulated pieces of less than 5 acres, thereby deregulating all of the wetland on the entire site. DEQ confirmation of these wetland boundaries was conducted in January 2000, well out of the "growing season". The DEQ decision was also based on a wetland map, appearing to have significant dimensional errors relative to the actual location of wetland flagging on the site. Because there is no wetland permit required, and therefore no public comment available, and because of the DEQ district staff's refusal to reassess the site, we are forced to pursue administrative and legal remedies.
 
Most of the wetland on the site is second-growth swamp forest dominated by Green Ash and Silver Maple. Smaller portions are more mature, containing Pin Oak. Some of the upland forest on the site is quite mature, unusual for an area like Inkster, containing large Sycamore, Red Oak, and Sassafras, and woodland wildflowers like White Trillium, Mayapple, Yellow Trout-lily, Blue Cohosh, and False Solomon's-seal. There are even morel mushrooms. A remnant forested area like this in the Detroit area is worth every effort to protect, even though it may not be the highest quality.
 
These residents need the help of anyone in the local area that can show "standing" for the Contested Case Hearing, as we expect Engler's Administrative Law Judges to deny standing as much as possible. Anyone living in the general area, or making use of land such as Westwood Park or the Lower Rouge River corridor should have some degree of standing. We may have an attorney lined-up for an injunction but could use additional legal counsel and pro bono or reduced-fee assistance for a lawsuit against the DEQ of a much broader scope.
 
For further information contact Bill or Cheryl Collins at Huron Ecologic, LLC, phone: 248-853-6233 or e-mail: huronecologic@netzero.net