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E-M:/ MEC Capitol Update - HB 4257 - Destruction of Emergent Coastal Wetlands



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Enviro-Mich message from James Clift <jamesmec@voyager.net>
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FIRST MAJOR ENVIRONMENTAL VOTE FOR THE NEW LEGISLATURE 

The House as early as Wednesday (4/2) may take up HB 4257 that allows
for emergent coastal wetlands to be plowed under without a permit from
the MDEQ. 

Due to a recent drop in water levels, additional wetlands and riparian
vegetation have been exposed along our state's Great Lakes shorelines.
For ecologists, this exposed land represents a natural part of the
lake's cycle and a valuable opportunity to reestablish wetland
vegetation, habitat and food for migrating waterfowl and fish. 

But to a group of property owners, it represents an opportunity to
overturn state environmental regulations. 

Why you should oppose House Bill 4257:

1.  Current regulations allows landowners to undertake "beach
maintenance activities" (mowing, leveling sand, and removing vegetation)
with a permit allowing Michigan's residents to protect the long-term
stability and integrity of Great Lakes shorelines is protected.   

2.  Under common law and Michigan policy, the land in question is held
in the public trust. This bill allows lakefront property owners to
destroy
these resources that provide critical fish and waterfowl habitat. 

3. When higher waters return, perch, yellow perch, walleye and northern
pike use these coastal wetland areas for spawning and nursery areas. 

4.  28 of the 29 states with coastal wetlands have a permit compliance
program to protect beaches and dunes, including Michigan.

5. The selfish bill proponents have rejected  a compromise offered by
the MDEQ could have groomed 25% of the lakefront footage up to 100 feet
for recreation purposes.

Bill sponsor: Representative Palmer

Opposed: 

Michigan United Conservation Clubs
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Detroit Audubon Society
Clean Water Action
Huron Pines RC&D
Izaak Walton League of America, Michigan Division
Lake Michigan Federation
Lone Tree Council
Michigan Environmental Council
Michigan Land Use Institute
Sierra Club, Michigan Chapter
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
Watershed Center-Grand Traverse Bay

PLEASE CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TODAY 

Contact information for Representatives can be found at: 

http://house.michigan.gov/LocateRep.asp

Thanks, 

James Clift
Michigan Environmental Council
(517) 487-9539


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