Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
Water Sentinels Project
109 E. Grand River Ave.
Lansing, MI 48906
Media Release from the Sierra Club Water Sentinels Project
For Immediate Release Contact: Rita Jack
Friday, April 25, 2003 Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter 517-484-2372
Volunteers Needed to Help Investigate Pine River and Horse Creek
Sierra Club Water Sentinel Volunteers Plan for Part 3 of Study of Aquatic Life
in Gratiot County’s Pine River
Lansing, MI: On Saturday May 3, trained volunteers in Michigan’s Sierra Club Water Sentinels project will assess habitat and biologic conditions in Horse Creek and the Pine River in Alma and St. Louis in Gratiot County. More volunteers are needed to help assess conditions at 8 to 10 sites. They will be trained to collect data on habitat conditions, and collect and count aquatic organisms to assign a “health score” to each site.
This is the group’s third monitoring session on the Pine, and represents an ongoing commitment to see the river restored. This year, water quality monitoring to assess current conditions is more important than ever as several important changes will occur at the Total Petroleum, TPI site, now owned by Valero Energy Company. Horse Creek, used for decades by the refinery to discharge petroleum hydrocarbon wastes to the Pine River, is slated for cleanup this year. Dismantling work at the oil refinery site is on schedule, with completion due in 2004. It is very important to assess current conditions and establish a baseline, so that future long-term monitoring can be done to assess recovery of the Pine River and Horse Creek. Work of the volunteer Water Sentinels complements monitoring done by refinery consultants and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. “We can use all the help we can get, and local knowledge is especially needed,” Rita Jack said. “The Pine River is finally getting the attention it deserves, and we want to help that process as much as possible. I think it’s wonderful that the state is taking steps to ensure the Pine River will be returned to health one day, and that our work helped to make it happen.”
Individuals who want to help with these efforts are welcome to join in, no experience is needed! Please RSVP to Rita Jack at the Sierra Club office in Lansing at 517-484-2372. We will meet at Alma College in the geology lab of Dr. Murray Borrello, located in the Dow Kapp building in room 234 at 9am for training and orientation and to pass out equipment and maps to the sites. Breakfast snacks, coffee and juice will be provided. All Water Sentinel volunteers will also receive free t-shirts.
Water Sentinels Project Director
Mackinac Chapter Sierra Club
"Speak out - even if your voice shakes."