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E-M:/ Conference to Highlight How to Protect Northern Michigan's Waters

Enviro-Mich message from "Scott McEwen" <scott@watershedcouncil.org>

March 21, 2001

News Release
Megan Motil
Northwest Michigan Council of Governments
Regional planning Program Coordinator
P.O. Box 506
Traverse City, MI 49685-0506

Conference to Highlight How to Protect Northern Michigan's Waters

Local elected officials, planning commissioners, lake association members,
and others interested in local environmental management issues are invited
to attend a Watershed Planning for Local Governments conference planned for
Saturday, March 31, 2001 at the Waterfront Inn Conference Center in Traverse
City.  The Northwest Michigan Council of Governments, the Watershed
Center-Grand Traverse Bay (formerly the Grand Traverse Bay Watershed
Initiative), the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, and the Michigan
Association of Conservation Districts are co-hosting the day long event,
aimed at providing watershed protection tools and strategies to local
agencies and community groups.  Megan Motil, Regional Planning Program
Coordinator for the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments explains,
“This conference is an opportunity for local governments officials and
agencies to access information and assets critical to making informed land
use decisions affecting the future quality of the region’s rivers, lakes,
and streams.”

Local and state level experts participating in the conference will lead
workshops on topics related to their area of expertise.   Presenters include
keynote speaker Bill Bobier, lobbyist for the Michigan Association of
Conservation Districts and former state representative in the 101st
District; Chris Bzdok, a local attorney; Carolyn Lauer from the Michigan
Information Center; Bill Crawford, Health Officer for the Benzie/Leelanau
District Health Department; Catherine Cunningham, Chief of the Coastal
Management Program, Department of Environmental Quality; Marsha Smith,
Executive Director of Rotary Charities of Traverse City; Jeanne Snow,
Executive Director of the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation; Dr.
Bryan Pijanowski, Michigan State University; Dr. Sheridan Haack, US
Geological Survey; and Viet Doan, Geographic Information Systems Analyst
with the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments.

Speakers will stress the importance of local government involvement in
watershed planning as well as how local governments can find the data needed
to plan.  Workshop sessions will offer information about septic treatment
and new technologies, the legal aspects of watershed planning and” takings”
issues, approved watershed management plans, information regarding local and
state-level grant-making agencies and program priorities, a demonstration of
the land transformation model for the Grand Traverse Bay, a demonstration of
locally available composite wetland maps and data, and projects and tools
for watershed planning offered by the US Geological Survey.  Scott McEwen of
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council believes that local governments have a
critical role in protecting our region's water, "protecting our lakes and
streams is often a very local matter and there are many tools available to
local communities to get the job done."

Chris Wright, Executive Director of The Watershed Center-Grand Traverse Bay,
notes, “Watershed professional planning by local governments is one of the
single most important factors in successfully addressing the challenges of
growth in northwest Michigan.”

The conference is scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on March 31,2001 at
the Waterfront In Conference Center on US 31 North in Traverse City.
Registration for the event is $35.00.  Pre-registration is required.  Please
contact Megan Motil at 929-5034 for more information or for a conference
brochure and registration form.

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