DEQ just released the
final report on their Biosurveys of 15 sites in tributaries near two CAFOs
(Vreba-Hoff 1 and 2) and other streams in the Bean/Tiffin watershed. The
major finding is significant impairment
of Durfee Creek and Medina
Drain, both in Medina Twp, Lenawee Co, near Vreba-Hoff 1, which was the first
CAFO constructed, in 1997, and so has the longest history of liquid manure
application draining to those streams.
Medina Drain was just added to Michigan's 303(d) list of impaired waters.
The DEQ biosurvey report concludes "the headwater portions of Durfee
Creek and the Medina Drain are significantly impaired, and that the nature
of these impairments is consistent with excessive nutrient inputs, such
as animal waste entering these streams on a common basis."
report also notes that
"a local volunteer monitoring group in the
Bean/Tiffin watershed has been monitoring common water quality parameters
on area tributaries including Durfee Creek and the Medina Drain (see
) ...the data, as
posted on their Web site, is consistent with
the findings of this study effort."
The DEQ biologists also took sediment samples in the Medina Drain and
found "relatively high concentrations of Syrphidae (syrphus sp
an insect that is only found in the presence of significant and persistent
concentrations of animal waste."
We had provided DEQ with possible good quality stream stretches for
comparison (St. Joseph Creek, which flows through my farm) -- and the report
documents how good the water quality is in that stream, and how poor the water
quality is in comparable streams near CAFOs. "St. Joseph Creek provided
representative data of a least-impacted stream within an approximate ten-mile
radius. This stream contained a diverse macroinvertebrate population that
was rated as excellent."
Another important point in the report concerns the damage that extreme
drainwork does to aquatic systems -- the report does not connect drainwork
to CAFOs. But we've all seen it, with the coming of CAFOs has come the industrialization
of the landscape near them, and destruction of water resources and aquatic
habitat, with clear-cutting of trees and removal of vegetation from streambanks,
dredging of substrate.
Copies of the full report are available from DEQ Water Division. Title:
"Biological Surveys of Tributaries in the Vicinity of Two CAFOs in the St.
Joseph and Bean/Tiffin Watersheds, Hillsdale and Lenawee Counties, Michigan"
Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan