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To conserve, protect and restore Michigan's cold water fisheries and their watersheds, including our own Huron River!

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Michigan Environment Action Updates

State Conservation News for the Preservation of our Waters

MEMBER ALERT: PROPOSED CHANGES TO MICHIGAN’S WETLANDS, LAKES, AND STREAM REGULATIONS
The Michigan Senate Natural Resources Committee (SNRC) has scheduled a meeting on Wednesday, November 28, at 12:30 pm to discuss a major reduction to the extent of wetlands, lakes, and streams protected in Michigan under Part 301 (Inland Lakes and Streams) and Part 303 (Wetland Protection) of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. The bill also makes significant changes to permit application review procedures and to the handling of potential wetland, lake, and stream violations. Currently the proposed bill is listed on the SNRC committee web page as Bill Request # 01951'17 (Casperson) Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act).

The Michigan Wetlands Association is concerned because the proposed bill would eliminate protection under Part 303 of thousands of wetlands between 5 and 10 acres in size; artificial wetlands such as wildlife floodings and impoundments; wetlands that receive special protection because they support threatened and endangered species; and some other wetland types. Although federally defined wetlands would be protected, the legal definition of federal wetlands is currently in a state of flux, and determination of the extent of federal jurisdiction can be problematic. The bill would also eliminate protection under Part 301 of thousands of lakes between 5 and 10 acres in size, lakes formed by impoundment of streams – including numerous large recreational lakes, and some other categories. Finally, the bill would remove protection of any stream that does not meet the federal definition of “Waters of the United States”. This definition is currently in a state of flux and will most likely face years of legal challenges such that its meaning in the near future is totally uncertain. Wetlands contiguous to deregulated lakes and streams would also lose state protection.

At a time when many states are considering assumption of the Federal permitting authority under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act to clarify and simplify the regulatory process, the proposed amendments would most likely result in withdrawal of Michigan’s 404 authority due to inconsistency with Federal law. This authority has significantly streamlined Michigan’s permitting process over the last 34 years. Should 404 permitting authority revert to the federal agencies, permit applicants would be required to apply to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for all major and minor Section 404 dredge and fill activities impacting inland lakes, streams, and wetlands. Because multiple changes to federal regulations are currently being considered, while other changes are being challenged in federal courts, significant costs and delays would be highly likely in addition to the basic cost of duplicative state and federal permit programs.

We are calling for all members to read the requests/bills and contact your individual State Senators and attend the hearing and make a public comment or provide written comments to the committee clerk (phone 517-373-5312) and Governor Snyder’s office (phone 517-373-3400). Please forward this information to anyone interested in the protection of Michigan’s natural resources.

Go to DNR Videos

   Good News and Bad News on the Subject of Fish Farming
First the good news:
MEC (the Michigan Environmental Council) and allies have argued for more than two years that commercial fish farms have no place in our Great Lakes. This week, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette agreed. Click the following link to read the Michigan Environmental Council newsletter article : http://michigandistilled.org/2017/01/18/big-win-for-the-great-lakes-schuette-says-no-to-fish-farms-in-public-waters/
Now the bad news:
A state judge has sided with a northern Michigan fish growing company that wants to dramatically increase production of rainbow trout on the Au Sable River, turning aside objections that the expansion would pollute the prized waterway. Click the following link to read the Detroit Free Press article: http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/02/02/rainbow-trout-hatchery-michigan/97404818/
So, stand by to continue the fight for the integrity of the Holy Water.
   This area is fully editable and gives you the opportunity to go into more detail about your business, what you do and what sets you apart from the competition.
Congressman Dan Kildee: Protecting Michigan Rivers   
Read:
   Anglers of the Au Sable plans to challenge a recommendation by a state administrative law judge issued Feb. ... “The fish farm will still use the river as its sewer, and that should be .... It only takes one snail, in one fish, to start a new population. .... A well-known aquatic biologist under retainer by Anglers first found the New ...
   http://www.ausableanglers.org/blog/

Fish Farming on the AuSable
"Hearings are taking place at the state Capitol as environmental groups argue against a permit issued by the Department of Environmental Quality. That permit allows the operation of a fish hatchery operated by the Harrietta Hills Trout Farm in Grayling to raise rainbow trout on a branch of the Au Sable River, which is located in the northern lower peninsula, about 50 miles east of Traverse City... 'The primary concern is the addition of nutrients to the Au Sable River,' said Professor Luttenton, who will be testifying on behalf of the anglers’ groups that are objecting to the permit, which would set regulations for certain levels of water quality for the river.  
  DNR Link
[PDF] Commercial Net-pen Aquaculture in the Great Lakes: Public ...
... concern over the effect of escaped fish on genetic ... had escapements of 250,000 rainbow trout in past ... will be conflicts with sport fishing, boaters and ... 
   
Michigan Trout Unlimited: Advocacy Alert: Great Lakes Net Pen Fish Farming
It's Time for Your Voice to be Heard
We have been communicating with you for the last year about the proposal to allow large-scale commercial fish farming in the Great Lakes. There are now legislative bills introduced for this. Now is the time for you to voice your opinion to your legislators. It's imperative that you do. Below is information on this critical subject to help you accomplish being informed, but the need is simple: we need you to contact legislators to voice your opposition to Great Lakes net pen fish farming. Please take the time during the next couple of days to let your voice be heard on this subject.
 
The rest of this message contains supporting information on focused advocacy needs, current legislation information, background on the subject, and links to useful research on this subject.


House Natural Resources

Anthony Forlini R - 517-373-0113  AnthonyForlini@house.mi.gov 


Andrea LaFontaine R - 517-373-8931  AndreaLaFontaine@house.mi.gov 


Ken Goike R - 517-373-0820  KenGoike@house.mi.gov 


Lisa Posthumus Lyons R - 517-373-0846  LisaLyons@house.mi.gov 


Bruce Rendon R - 517-373-3817  BruceRendon@house.mi.gov 


Ed McBroom R - 517-373-0156  EdMcBroom@house.mi.gov 


Julie Plawecki D - 517-373-0849  JuliePlawecki@house.mi.gov 


Charles Smiley D - 517-373-3906  CharlesSmiley@house.mi.gov  


John Kivela D - 517-373-0498  JohnKivela@house.mi.gov 


Joy Brewer, Committee Clerk - 517-373-8474  joybrewer@house.mi.gov 



House Leadership
Speaker Pro Tem Tom Leonard R - 517-373-1778 TomLeonard@house.mi.gov 
Speaker Kevin Cotter R - 517-373-1789 KevinCotter@house.mi.gov 
Majority Floor Leader Aric Nesbitt R - 517-373-0839 AricNesbitt@house.mi.gov 
Democratic Leader Tim Greimel D - 517-373-0475 TimGreimel@house.mi.gov 
Democratic Floor Leader Sam Singh D - 517-373-1786 SamSingh@house.mi.gov



PLEASE MAKE THE TIME TO ADVOCATE FOR THE GREAT LAKES AND OUR FISHERIES!

Current Legislation 
HB5255 , seeks to prohibit commercial net pen fish farming in the Great Lakes. MITU supports this bill. Its been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, and will receive a hearing on Tuesday February 2, 2016. Sponsored by Representatives Jon Bumstead, Pscholka, McCready, Kivela, Garcia, Pettalia, Cochran, Irwin and Rendon.


SB526 ,  prohibit Great Lakes fish farming. A S2 substitute for this bill is imminent, and will ensure that other forms of aquaculture must not be allowed to discharge pollutants or create pollution. This bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, where it has not received a hearing (Senator Joe Hune is the Chair). Sponsored by Senators Rick Jones, Schmidt, Marleau, Beida, Knezek, Warren, Hertel, Hopgood, B. Johnson, and Knollenberg.


Senate bills SB681, 682, and 683, would allow Great Lakes net pen fish farming, create an "Office of Aquaculture Development" to both promote the industry and oversee its regulation, would remove local units of governments from decisions on where these could be located, and remove many permitting rules and public comment opportunities. Sponsored by Senators Darwin Booher, Tom Casperson, David Robertson, Shirkey. MITU opposes.

House bills HB5166, 5167, and 5168, are identical bills to SB681, 682, and 683. Sponsored by Representatives Ed McBroom, Cole, Lauwers, and B. Roberts.   Would allow Great Lakes net pen fish farming, create an "Office of Aquaculture Development" to both promote the industry and oversee its regulation, would remove local units of governments from decisions on where these could be located, and remove many permitting rules and public comment opportunities