Dave, thanks for sharing the Michigan Wetlands group/list-serve. I have found it to have some fascinating discussion. The more I find out about this subject, the more disturbed I am by the Governor's proposal to get rid of the state's wetland program. Here is a post that I have to share with enviro-mich - you can see that Dave has provided some good but troubling information in the post. I recommend that others check this group/list-serv out.
Isolated wetlands that may well not be protected by the Corps may include "typical" wetland types but also bogs, calcareous fens, lakeplain prairies, and other relatively rare ecosystems. In addition, isolated wetlands are critical for many species including reptiles and amphibians (frogs and salamanders often reproduce in isolated wetlands where they are NOT eaten by fish). Copperbelly watersnakes - an endangered species in Michigan - depend upon isolated wetland pockets to reproduce. Isolated wetlands will only be protected by the Corps if an "interstate commerce" connection can be demonstrated on a case by case basis. In fact, this is rarely done.
Headwater wetlands - especially those adjacent to intermittent streams - may also lose protection. These are some of the most important wetlands for maintenance of stream flow, and for protection of cold water trout habitat. Once forested headwater wetlands are gone - especially coniferous habitat - they will be very difficult to replace. These areas MAY be protected, but it will be on a case by case decision-making process by the Corps, relying on all of the legal "tests" in the Rapanos case.
Some inland lakes without an inlet or outlet could be considered non-regulated, if isolated from traditionally navigable interstate waters (and if there is no "interstate commerce" connection). While DEQ will still regulate lakes under Part 301, wetlands ADJACENT to such lakes would not be regulated under 404 - thus wetlands could be filled to the ordinary high water mark.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org on behalf of teejlc
Sent: Thu 2/12/2009 8:23 PM
To: Michigan Wetlands
Subject: MW: prairie fens and other rare communities
We know that the corps' regulatory authority has been decreased due to
recent supreme court decision and that they would not have authority
over a good percentage of Michigan's currently regulated wetlands.
Does anyone know how this would impact rare communities such as
prairie fens? Are rare communities more likely to be unregulated than
some of our more common wetland types?
A discussion group/list-serve has been created dealing directly with Governor Granholm's proposal to repeal Michigan's Wetland Protection Law and end Michigan's Section 404 assumption. Its website has excellent educational information about the issue, some interesting discussion on the topic, and actions you can take to help save Michigan's wetland protection program. You can also become a member of the group through the website and receive e-mails.
The website is: http://groups.google.com/group/michigan-wetlands?lnk=srg&hl=en
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