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E-M:/ Sibley Prairie - Urgent - Comments Needed



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Enviro-Mich message from Smileysmlc@aol.com
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SIBLEY PRAIRIE - Application #04-82-0134-P

Application by Kingtel Associates (Biltmore Homes), Steve Chizek, 2025 West 
Long Lake Road, Suite 104, Troy MI  48098.  (Application amended from Fritz 
Enterprises as applicant, to Kingtel Associates.)

Sunday, August 15, is the deadline to submit comments.  Please fax and mail 
them directly to: 

Andrew J. Hartz 
Wayne County Field Representative 
Geological and Land Management Division 
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality 
38980 West Seven Mile Road 
Livonia MI 48152 
FAX:  734-953-0243
Direct phone:  734-953-1483
E-mail:  Hartza@michigan.gov 

You can download the application (link under "Public Notice Date 7/6/2004") 
at:
http://www.deq.state.mi.us/lwmpnh/default.asp?PermitNo=04820134

Unfortunately, the download takes a while.  You can also gather summarized 
information on the application at that site.

The Sibley Prairie in Brownstown Township, Wayne County, is the largest 
remaining lakeplain prairie in Michigan.  The subject property comprises the lar
gest part of the identified prairie area.

Here are a few quotes from "A Survey of Lakeplain Prairie in Michigan", 
Michigan Natural Features Inventory, January 1995.  (I can fax a few relevant pages 
to interested parties.)

Abstract, p. vi:  “Lakeplain prairies are globally imperiled natural 
communities...”
“Less than one percent of historical lakeplain prairie acreage remains in 
Michigan.”

Page 120:

“The Sibley Road prairie complex is located in Sections 7 & 8 of Brownstown 
Township, Wayne County.  This site is the largest and most diverse lakeplain 
prairie remnant in Michigan and represents our greatest hope for preserving a 
functional lakeplain prairie ecosystem.  The prairie has remained remarkably 
intact.  It has had less hydrologic alteration due to draining, has no record of 
agricultural use (outside of small pockets along the site’s margins) and 
represents the largest land area not dissected by roadways in Wayne County...”

“One hundred and ninety plant species have been identified during four site 
surveys.  The site’s Floristic Quality Index is 69.65.  This (is) the highest 
ranked site out of 53 lakeplain prairie sites surveyed.  The average 
Coefficient of Conservatism for plants on the site is 5.05, this is the highest ranking 
for any site with over 50 species recorded.  The site’s composite Wetness 
Coefficient is -0.9 (Fac+).”

“Sibley Road prairie is also rich in special plant species.  There have been 
14 special plant species identified on the site along with three community 
element occurrences and one state threatened butterfly, Dukes skipper (Euphyes 
dukesi).  The special plant occurrences include seven state threatened species 
and seven state special concern species.”

Page 121:

“In addition most major land owners have been informed of the presence of 
state threatened species on their property and the need to obtain an endangered 
species permit before a take can be made.”

Based upon the prior investigations by the state, the consultants for Kingtel 
Associates/Biltmore Homes, appear to have underestimated the amount of 
wetlands and lakeplain prairie on site.  Additional--independent--surveys should be 
completed.

The proposed permit is to allow a massive residential development of 1,133 
single family, duplex and mult-family units.  The application notes that 21.7 
acres of wetlands will be filled, and 4.2 acres of wetlands will be excavated.  
These numbers are questionable, and the entire development will fragment and 
isolate numerous acres of wetlands and prairie habitat.  No mitigation is 
proposed for the wetland loss, except existing wetlands are proposed to be left 
alone as "mitigation".  Much of this wetland and prairie acreage will be isolated 
and surrounded by development, and the hydrology will be altered so that the 
wetlands and prairie areas will most likely fail to continue as functional 
systems.

A thorough endangered species survey should be completed, and an endangered 
species permit should be required as noted by the state experts who wrote the 
lakeplain prairie report.

This project is not wetlands-dependent, and there numerous prudent and 
feasible alternatives.

Please submit comments soon on this proposed permit.  The Sibley Prairie is 
just as important as Humbug Marsh, and it is much more rare in terms of plants 
and biological diversity.

Please feel free to forward this notice to other groups and e-mail lists.

Jack Smiley
President
Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy
(we own land adjacent to the proposed development)



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