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E-M:/ Hearing for Wetlands filling in Kalamazoo

MDEQ will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, April 10, 7 p.m., at the

Kalamazoo City Commission Chambers, City Hall, on a wetlands mitigation

permit application by the Hinman Company of Kalamazoo.  It is critically important that

concerned Kalamazoo residents attend the hearing and voice their opinion.

The applicant proposes to construct a 95,000 square foot Home Depot

facility on the former site of a bowling alley on Stadium Drive, adjacent to

a city wellfield and bordering on Arcadia Creek. The project would involve

placement of 725 cubic yards of fill in the Arcadia Creek floodplain and

74,000 cubic yards of fill in 3.67 acres of wetland. Mitigation would

involve creation of 2.48 acres of wetland on the project site and on the

city's wellfield, with an additional 3 acres of wetland elsewhere in the

Kalamazoo River watershed.

There are several environmental concerns (aside from the questionable

appropriateness of and need for the Home Depot project itself, as Kalamazoo/Portage

already has 5 big box home improvement stores):

1) There is already under way a Clean Water Act 319 project devising

watershed-management plans for Arcadia Creek and three other contiguous


2) The level and the flow of stormwater in and through the created

wetlands would be intermittent, variable, and undependable, rendering the

success of the restoration problematic;

3) The 16 foot drop at the rear of the proposed fill, with a steep slope

(1:2) would make stabilization of the slope difficult and erosion and

sedimentation possible, in a watershed already severely impaired by


4) A state-listed special-concern species--Eastern Box Turtle--is present

on and near the site and since it development has already greatly limited the

turtle's range, the project would severely disrupt its habitat. Moreover,

almost immediately downstream of the city's wellfield there is degraded but

virgin floodplain wetland and oak savanna remnant with a very high diversity

of native forbs, grasses, sedges, and shrubs--including at least two

state-listed threatened species (Rosinweed and Rattlesnake Master). The

processes of excavating, filling, and construction could release more

nutrient and sediment, further degrading this area.

5) Since the excavation for the project would destroy upland habitat and

reduce the entire area behind the Home Depot building to wetland, the

diversity of wildlife habitat and herbaceous species would be considerably


6) Finally, any wetland mitigation is problematic. Only about 22% of

wetland mitigation projects are successful.


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