It’s warming up!! The thaw has begun here, as winter loosens its icy grip. The spring rains will begin soon, if they haven’t already begun in your part of the Great Lakes State. Thoughts of spring flowers bursting forth and spring peepers peeping their little hearts out make me smile! Oh lovely spring!!
But peril lurks under the snow on fields where CAFO waste-haulers have spread manure – in some cases, where they spread it layer upon layer, over and over. When the rains come and the snow melts, the runoff begins. Take a drive this weekend through CAFO-land, down 127 southbound at the edge of Lenawee and Hillsdale counties, take yourself on a tour around Hudson, Michigan! Take a drive through Huron County, home to more dairy cows and swine than any other county in Michigan (from the agricultural stats for 2001-02 http://www.nass.usda.gov/mi/stats02/cattle.pdf ) and Sanilac County, number two in the state. By the way, all rivers and streams in Huron and Sanilac counties flow to Lake Huron. Oh, don’t forget Allegan County, number three, where I believe all the rivers and streams go to Lake Michigan. Get some sterile bottles, and plan a trip to go sampling. Let me know if you need to find labs to run your samples for you, or check the web – the MDEQ site has a list of labs that do microbiology, and most drinking water plants will run samples, you just need to call them ahead of time.
I’ve pasted in the weather forecast for tonight through Monday. You can bet top dollar that E. coli counts from rivers and streams around many CAFOs will be off the chart, referred to as “too numerous to count”, causing a danger to human health via surface and groundwater alike. Dissolved oxygen levels are likely to be very low, non-supportive of aquatic life. The state standard is 5 mg/l. It’s a darn shame that it’s highly probable that only volunteer monitoring data will be available from the coming weekend, because the MDEQ is too broke to be able to monitor the water, the way that most citizens assume they do.
Aaaaah, sweet spring!
Water Sentinels Project
Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
Tonight: Cloudy this evening with showers developing after midnight. Low 31F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.
Tomorrow: Rain showers in the morning becoming a steady light rain in the afternoon. High near 40F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 70%.
Tomorrow night: Mostly cloudy with occasional light rain...mainly in the evening. Low 33F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.
Saturday: Considerable cloudiness. High 37F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph.
Sunday: Times of sun and clouds. Highs in the mid 30s and lows in the mid 20s.
Monday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 30s and lows in the upper 20s.
Water Sentinels Project Director
Mackinac Chapter Sierra Club
"Speak out - even if your voice shakes."