Friday, October 18, 2013

Shiawassee River Watershed and MSU

MSU Grant Awarded to the Friends for Water Quality Enhancement

The Michigan State University Planning and Zoning Center has contracted
Friends of the Shiawassee River to undertake an 18-month, water-quality enhancement project
 for the entire Shiawassee River Watershed, with funding provided by the Environmental Protection Agency’s
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Program.
The project aims to empower local communities and their governments to address
an array of water quality issues.

Targeted water quality issues might include:
- Assessment of drinking water supplies;
- Evaluation of ecosystem diversity;
- Management of storm-water runoff;
- Identification of methods for flood prevention; and
- Assessing how the river can better support recreational opportunities.

MSU partnered with the Friends for this work because it believes that local conservation organizations,
such as the Friends, have a keen awareness of how to generate action on water quality issues
at the local level - among local government planners, elected officials, and associated agencies.

Project efforts will be launched with the Inaugural Shiawassee River Watershed Summit,
scheduled for October 17th, 2013 at the Baker College of Owosso Welcome Center.
This first step aims to bring many watershed stakeholders together to initiate a dialogue
for water-quality enhancement. MSU staff and the Friends built a stakeholder list of more
 than 800 individuals affiliated with organizations and agencies that can play a lead role
 in the betterment of our watershed. Invitations to the Summit were offered to those on
 the list, in addition to active members of the Friends. At the Summit, stakeholders will be
 introduced to several approaches to watershed management, and given an opportunity
 to network with each other and conservation professionals regarding watershed topics.

Experienced presenters will address the following:
-  Best management practices for promoting water health;
-  Implementation of green infrastructure;
-  Development of ordinance powers;
-  Planning initiatives;
-  Special watershed projects already in place; and
-  Enhancement of recreation and fisheries.

Additionally, MSU staff will be surveying the stakeholders on their perspectives on
water quality and preferred actions in the watershed,
to enable more personalized assistance in the future.
Initial survey results will be reported at the Summit.

Following the Summit, attendees will have access to opportunities for meeting as a watershed,
 and receive updates related to watershed projects. Some assistance might be available
to participating localities seeking water quality enhancement.
Additionally Summit participants will be informed about the development of two projects
 funded by the grant : a small, green infrastructure project; and a larger watershed-enhancement project.

By approaching issues of water quality at a watershed level, the collective impact of localities
 will maximize positive impact on the river’s health.
Remember, what happens upstream, flows downstream.
If we wish to make a significant impact on the cleanliness of our rivers and the beauty of their shorelines,
then we must work together. If you are a local government official, an employee of a locally focused
conservation agency, or an inspired community member, please contact Friends of the Shiawassee River
for more information on the MSU/Friends Partnership and learn what you can do to help.

P.O. Box 402, Owosso, MI 48867
 Ph: 989.723.9062
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