The 6thBinational Lake St. Clair Conference event November 29-30, 2012 hosted by MacRay Harbor in Harrison Township was attended by elected officials such as Mark A. Hackel, Macomb County Executive and Jim Nash, Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner-Elect.
The theme of this year’s conference reviewed the status of environmental management of Lake St. Clair under the efforts of the U.S. and Canadian Lake St. Clair watershed. Mark A. Hackel spoke about his commitment to the “Make Macomb Your Home” campaign and the Blue Economy Initiative that is concern about quality of life, stewardship, and economic development impacting Lake St. Clair and the Clinton River Watershed.
The Blue Economy Initiative includes tourism and the Lake St. Clair Tourism Initiative is a 4 year old non-profit existing to promote and protect the assets of Lake St. Clair offering a portal to destinations thru tours. Brad Simmons, Exec Director of Lake St. Clair Tourism invites campers of all ages to visit Algonac State Park and interact with destinations on “Circle The Lake Tour”. For more information on “Circle The Lake Tour” you can visit www.TourLakeStClair.org.
Senator Carl Levin’s office reminded that Lake St. Clair provides drinking water to 4.5 million people in Southeast Michigan, including Oakland County residents. Congress passed the 2007 Water Resources Development Act and authorized $20 million dollars for the purpose of implementing the 2004 St. Clair Management Plan. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is an international agreement and runs from 2010 to 2014 being the largest investment in the Great Lakes within the last two decades.
Input from citizens can assist GLRI to: clean up areas of concern, reduce nutrients entering the lakes (reducing dead zones), and prevent the introduction of new invasive species. The agreement from the United States perspective is not legally enforceable and relates the work progress as getting done because it is of value. From the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to the citizens we all have contributions to make to ensure that the challenges facing Lake St. Clair get resolved. Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc and Hubbell, Roth, & Clark, Inc. sponsored the reception featuring special remarks from Jon Allan, Director, Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, regarding Governor Snyder’s Message on Energy and the Environment. Hubbell, Roth, & Clark, Inc currently manage the Clinton River Spillway Project stream restoration.
The 6thBinational Conference accomplished its goals of building partnerships, strengthening collaboration and advancing the environmental and economic health of Lake St. Clair through providing 6 topics ranging from beach closures to managing phragmites and other invasive species. Michelle LaRose, Water Resource Engineer with Cardno JFNew and Dr. Eugene Jaworski, Consultant with J & L Consulting Services attended the event and offered services on wetland mitigation and restoration plans. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality offers a landowner’s guide to control phragmites and is accessible from their website at www.michigan.gov/deq. Fellowships are available from the Michigan Sea Grant for students looking for opportunities to learn more about coastal, Great Lakes and marine issues explore details online at www.miseagrant.umich.edu/education. To assist with water quality the Clinton River Watershed Council on May 11, 2013 at the Sterling Heights Nature Center is providing a free presentation on native plants for your yard. Oakland County and Macomb County makes up a large part of the Clinton River Water Shed. To get involved, you can contact the Clinton River Watershed Council at 248-601-0606, for required registration to attend and learn simple steps to help protect water quality. To keep up on these topics, organizations, and government agencies, take a glance at www.GreeningDetroit.com
Author: Michelle Abd’Elaziz, Reporter on Urban Planning, representing GreeningDetroit.com