Healthy Pine River
September 8, 2016
Call to order 7 p.m. (Gary Rayburn)
Approval of Minutes (Justin Barnaby/Jane Keon)
*River Camera Update. 24/7 river camera on a pole at Gary Rayburn’s home. Access it through the healthypineriver.org
Treasurer’s Report Chuck Sandro. Invoices for the sediment survey have been sent to Stakeholder groups who have pledged financial support (Cites of St. Louis, Alma, County commissioners, HPR and Gratiot Community Foundation) . We have taken in $50 in membership and contributions this past month, and paid out $153.15 in expenses. Our monthly bank statement shows an ending August balance of #3,987.13 which includes forwarded funds of $1,500 from the City of St. Louis for the Sediment Survey.
Membership forms available even tonight. $5.00
*Murray Borello: because this is a holiday week, the test results are not all in. Murray had an emergency and was not able to present. He will be available next meeting.
A two page preliminary finding was handed out.
*Julie Spencer of Gratiot Conservation District spoke.
*Gratiot County is getting a MAEAP (Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program) technician. (MAEAP is a volunteer program that farmers may enroll in to become certified. GAAMPs (Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices) which are legal requirements for farming practices) Until now Gratiot has shared a technician. The Jon Allan meeting helped make this happen. The hire, Nicole Whitmore, is currently working as a water technician. She will be working with farmers, doing education and outreach.
*Watershed Management Plan: Currently resurrecting last year’s proposal and have been offered professional help in getting it done and accepted. This Watershed Plan is a pre-requisite for any other funding or action.
Jane attended the Farm Bureau sponsored dinner for farmers this summer and learned that a MAEAP sign does not mean that the entire is farm is environmentally sensitive. Just a part of the farm can be certified and show the sign.
Are there threats to the farmers? Julie says no. This is confidential information and assessment. A third party verifies that the standards are met.
Are these expensive fixes? They could be. There are some programs to help finances.
Chuck Sandro/Bathemetry Study
Barr engineering came in a few weeks ago to do this study. We need to know the amount of sediment. Cites of St. Louis, Alma, County commissioners, HPR and Gratiot Community Foundation helped fund this study. This study is important to the direction and approach of our work on the river
The Pine River is changing quickly and not for the good. DEQ says 50% of our waterways (more likely 75%) are (polluted) and we are not winning. We must collaborate with other watersheds and get noticed by state and federal. Chuck proposed a way to win the battle for our waterways
1. Right to Farm Act. Antiquated. Allows farms to do things that are not environmentally healthy.
2. Legislation. Legislators have turned a blind eye for free enterprise or profit. Our children/grand children will suffer if we continue
Thanks to Jim Kelly for his letter and to Linda Gittleman for her recent article.
We must use our 99 voices so Chuck proposed each person joining one of the following groups in order to make our group more effective:
a) membership committee—continue recruiting new members and promoting HPR
b) information committee — keep updated website, media, write legislators
c) watershed plan—essential for future grant writing. Reach out to collaborate with other like organizations
d) Waterways Quality and Protection Committee—Be informed about testing and other water related issues while informing membership of related things. Alma College is a blessing to us as they provide testing which matches accepted standards. Citizens may need to step up to help with testing
e) Policy and Legislative Committee—track policies and initiatives which impact our area and how to support those which improve the quality of our waterways. We need to visit Lansing and be heard
f) HPR and the farming community—create dialogue and relationship with the farming community. we want to work WITH our farming community. We need honest dialogue.
Proposition: if you are interested and want to stay engaged with HPR. Put your name on this sheet to be a part of one of the suggested areas.
Chuck asked Jane Keon asked to speak on the Watershed Management Plan.
Our watershed starts by Remus and includes all the tributaries to the Alma Dam. Information gathering from old reports, etc. volunteers doing surveys (road crossing, do check list of erosion, stuff in water, algae,) tillage survey (to see fields and farming practices i.e. cover crops, residue, etc) Many hours recording and mapping and photos have been brought to this document. The professional will help list Best Management Practices cost estimates that are current. (Stream Side Ecological Services) The pro (Aaron Snell) is, according to Julie Spencer, working pro bono!! This should lead to 50-60 thousand dollars to do the plan, then it needs to be approved by DEQ. His influence should help. Then we should be able to access the hundreds of thousands of grant dollars needed to implement the plan.
Priority: Confluence at Honeyoye Creek and the Pine which is clogging. Also required was to list areas to maintain such as green strips along the streams which serve as filters.
Question: Is there a response form Ashton Bortz/John Moolenaar.
Jane: Many representatives have come to visit.
Gary noted copies of DEQ article from Detroit Free Press
Board Members introduced themselves to 38 attendants
Attendants introduced themselves and offered concerns and opinions (including Bruce McAttee from Gary Peter’s office)
Motion to adjourn (Bernie Bessert/Sue Joyce)
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Alma Public Library (Large Conference Room)
NEW RESULTS FROM THIS SUMMER’S TESTING
will be presented by Murray Borello