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Re: E-M:/ wetlands threatened by gravel mining

Enviro-Mich message from "Bill Tobler" <williamtobler@critterswoods.org>

We saw much the same behavior that Nancy relates when London Aggregates 
began operations in 1993.

Wetland areas, and areas that were wet, dried up.  Small ponds 4 to 5 
miles away disappeared.  Wooded wetlands had many of the mature trees 
die when their traditional habitat changed, again in an area several 
miles away.

Big Marsh cuts through my farm, two miles from the quarry. There is a 
floodplain and wetland on one side of it. Traditionally, there was 
shallow standing water in this wetland 9 months of the year.  This 
changed post 1993.  After 93, the only time there was standing water 
was during the spring thaw, and after occasional very heavy rains when 
Big Marsh would spill over its banks.  Much of the original flora 
disappeared.  There was a lovely stretch of some kind of "purple iris" 
looking plant that would bloom for months in late spring.  Gone.  Also, 
the frogs, turtles and crayfish that were once abundant became scarce.

The flow in Big Marsh and in other small creeks and drains all but 
disappeared, which demonstrates the symptom of the disappearance of the 
high surface water tables.  This was not everywhere, there seemed to be 
some localities that maintained high levels.  But in general, there was 
a significant environmental change.

Thousands of wells went dry, and stayed dry for 10 years.
All this happened while the company claimed that their analysis showed 
that there were no groundwater effects beyond thier property line and 
the state did nothing to enforce permits.

Now that the quarry has not been withdrawing aquifer water for 10 
months resulting from a citizen Clean Water Act lawsuit, I see signs of 
change.  The above mentioned floodplain/wetland now has water upon it 
again for the past month.  Big Marsh itself is still at low flow, but 
most of its water comes from several more miles away.  A large number 
of residential wells have returned to operation after many years of 
being bone dry.

I urge anyone who can help the Bridgewater folks to contact them. I 
spent an evening with them on the night that their citizens group was 
meeting for the first time.  In particular, they need wetland 
expertise, and ground and surface water impact analysis.  They also 
need expertise with air quality impacts.

As I understand it, the Bridgewater quarry intends to expand and deepen 
their operations onto neighboring properties regardless of the impacts. 
It sounds like deja vu to me.


> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich message from "Nancy Hebb" <nchebb@msn.com>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
> Hello.  I'm a resident of Bridgewater Twp., Washtenaw County.  15 or 
more of my 38 acre farm is distinctive wetland (the whole thing is part 
of a greater wetland); interesting sedges, lake and marsh grasses, 
oak/hickory wood, (invasive pampas & cattails too), and a wide variety 
of wildflowers including acres of thick trillium, bloodroot, 
toothworts, jack-in-the-pulpit, and hundreds more I haven't 
identified.  Some of the sedges (particularly tussock) have been 
established a century to reach their current development.
> About 1/4 mile from me a 40+ acre lake, 110 feet deep, has been 
excavated for gravel mining.  This affected runoff patterns to my land. 
Stansley Mineral Resources now proposes a 58-acre lake directly 
opposite a narrow dirt road, and down-gradient from, my wetland.  The 
area surrounding me on the north (higher ground) and west (wetland and 
former wetland) recently was sold to Daniels Management who, it's 
reported, has or is selling it to Adrian Sand and Gravel.
> Bridgewater Twp. hired Tetra Tech to do a quick study for comments at 
the Oct. 21 DEQ Inland Lakes permit hearing.  Public notice of that 
hearing appeared Oct. 16 in the local paper for the hearing on the 21st 
and adjacent property owners received notice by mail that arrived after 
Oct. 10 for many and even after Oct. 14 for some.
> Wells immediately up-grade of the current lake have dropped 10-13 
feet consistently, while wells farther away and those down grade from 
the existing operation remain basically the same (the latter could have 
been expected to show a rise).  Run-off studies show the wetlands have 
suffered a significant reduction in recharge, and the groundwater 
change indicated by the well testing would indicate a decrease in 
groundwater feeding it, too (it is both stream and spring fed).  IF THE 
PROPOSED LAKE IS APPROVED, water available to the wetland could be 
reduced by 40% or more, according to Tetra Tech.
> I am trying to document the species in the wetland, and have been 
told it contains a much greater than average diversity of wetland 
species.  I cannot, nor can a citizens group - Stewards of Bridgewater -
 afford an extensive hydro-geological study to determine where natural 
barriers (there are clay hills nearby) to groundwater, springs, aquifer 
depth may be, etc.
> A spring that used to produce 15 gallons/second and ran nine months 
out of the year ran only a few weeks this year at a MUCH reduced rate.  
A smaller wet area that's spring fed had far less water this year, 
also.  It's assumed the groundwater level WAS very high, as last year 
we pulled several illegal straight pipe "wells" the previous owner used 
to water livestock...these were 10-20 feet deep.  The old dug well on 
the property was 12 feet deep.  Stansley claims groundwater level is 
about 50 feet on property just a hundred feet from mine. I KNOW the 
level here is no more than 20 feet in many places, as the straight 
pipes were still producing a year and a half ago when I moved in. 
> All this is happening within 2000 feet of the River Raisin itself.  
The field where the lake is proposed has been tiled for agricultural 
use, and re-tiled within recent years because it was still too wet.  
Thus, that 147 acres of former wetland and some wetland northwest of 
mine already have been lost by "reclamation" for agriculture.  
> I and the "Stewards of Bridgewater" are seeking any support we can 
find, in the form of expertise, tips, records of other Stansley 
engineer "miscalculations" in Findlay OH or elsewhere, spreading of the 
word, comments to the DEQ (address below) by November 1st, and 
suggestions for how to go about fighting the mining expansion (just 
part of a huge expansion which would include up to five more lakes) to 
protect our wetlands, wells, and flood plain.
> We also would be very interested in finding out which townships or 
other entities have sued the MDEQ in order to get them to enforce their 
own DEQ restrictions/guidelines or any instances where criteria for 
permit granting was overlooked or treated in a questionable manner.
> We are looking for legal help, particularly in reference to violation 
of the statutes of '69 RE "not less than 10 nor more than 60 days" 
public notice of a hearing.
> Comments urging denial of the mining application may be sent to:
> James Sallee (Reference: File #03-81-0065-P)
> Geological and Land Management Division
> 301 E. Louis Glick Highway
> Jackson, MI 49201-1535
> salleej@michigan.gov
> Any help, suggestions, contact information or ideas may be sent to 
me, Nancy Hebb, at my farm:
> 11840 Hogan Rd.
> Clinton, MI 49236
> (517) 456-8024.
> nchebb@msn.com


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