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E-M:/ FW: Michigan Wetlands Action Coalition--Past, Present, and Future

Enviro-Mich message from "Wil Cwikiel" <wil@watershedcouncil.org>

> Hello All!
> Thank you for your comments in support of Tip of the Mitt Watershed
> Council expanding its work to organize around wetland protection in
> Michigan.  Dave Dempsey asked me if I'd share a little information
> about the history of MWAC to set the stage for our future efforts.
> The Michigan Wetlands Action Coalition (MWAC) was formed by the Tip of
> the Mitt Watershed Council in 1990 to coordinate the efforts of the
> various non-governmental organizations and individual citizens working
> on wetland protection in Michigan. The purpose of this loose coalition
> was to provide a unified voice for the environmental community on
> state / federal wetlands issues. The goal was not to create a new
> organization, but to help us all work smarter on state and federal
> level issues.  At the same time, we were there to help support each
> other on local issues.
> With help from the support of portions of grants from the Mott
> Foundation, Tip of the Mitt coordinated MWAC by sending out regular
> mailings, developing sign-on letters, coordinating campaigns to
> address threats, well as sponsoring semi-annual meetings. Successes
> included strengthening administrative rules and heading off
> legislative efforts to weaken Michigan's wetland law and the wetland
> provisions of the Clean Water Act.  In the convening years, the funds
> that were used to support this work were split between statewide
> communications on wetlands and river work. As a result, for many years
> MWAC has consisted of Tip of the Mitt sending out wetland action
> alerts.
> Today, we sit on the brink of huge opportunity and threat in the realm
> of wetland protection.  On the opportunity side, we have the 25th
> anniversary of Michigan's wetland protection law and some clear
> improvements to make in statute in order to maintain assumption of the
> state program.  On the threat side, we have a legislature that appears
> to disregard science in the interest of pleasing special interests
> (i.e., passage of the bottomland grooming bill). 
> Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council has recently changed our internal
> structure and plans to re-focus and expand our efforts to coordinate
> wetland activists across the state and facilitate the creation of a
> central voice for Michigan's rivers (many of you attended last week's
> Michigan River Alliance annual meeting).
> On the wetland side, we will inaugurate our bi-weekly MWAC
> e-Newsletter (send your e-mail address to
> chrisgrubb@watershedcouncil.org if you want to be in the loop),
> improve the MWAC website, and call a half-day organizational meeting
> to gather feedback on how to proceed.  In addition, Cyndi Roper has
> offered part of Clean Water Action's water policy meeting in January
> to focus on wetlands. 
> We propose to have the organizational meeting in early December in
> Lansing.  If you are interested in getting involved in expanding the
> Michigan Wetlands Action Coalition, please let Chris Grubb (at the
> email address above) or I know (wil@watershedcouncil.org).
> Thanks for your consideration...sorry about the length of this e-mail.
> Wilfred (Wil) Cwikiel
> Special Projects Director
> Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
> 426 Bay Street
> Petoskey, MI  49770
> Ph: (231) 347-1181, ex. 115
> Fx: (231) 347-5928
> e-mail: wil@watershedcouncil.org

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