Additional Accomplishments include:
The Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network & Fund (GLAHNF) was created in 1996 by the Watershed Council and funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds along with expertise to community groups in the Great Lakes Basin.
The Watershed Council organized Michigan Wetland Action Coalition (MWAC) in 1991. MWAC is a network of wetland protection advocates across the state.
People and Honors
In 2003, Wil Cwikiel, former Watershed Council Policy Director, was appointed to serve on the Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) for the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). The EAC is made up of representatives from industry, environment, academia, and local government to address environmental issues. Also in 2003, Wil Cwikiel joined Lt. Governor John Cherry and MDEQ Director Steve Chester in announcing the formation of the Michigan Clean Water Corps (MCWC) to serve as an advisory body within the DEQ.
The Watershed Council accepted the 2002 prestigious Water Conservationist of the Year by the Michigan United Conservation Clubs.
In 2000, State of the Lakes Environment Conference (SOLEC) recognized the Watershed Council for exceptional and distinguished achievement in Great Lakes ecosystem improvement. In 1998, the Watershed Council launched the Michigan River Alliance (MRA). The group voted in 2003 to initiate the process of moving MRA into a separate organization.
Former Watershed Council Policy Director, Wil Cwikiel, received National Wetlands Award in 1997 from the EPA and Environmental Law Institute. This award is the highest honor in the field of wetland protection and management. In 1994, the Michigan Outdoor Writers presented the Watershed Council with the Clean Waters Award for our past and current water quality protection program and accomplishments.
In 1991, we received the National Environmental Achievement Award from Renew America for our Volunteer Lake Monitoring program. Now more than 40 volunteer lake monitors, trained by the Watershed Council, monitor lakes in northern Michigan. In 1988, the Michigan Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society recognized us for our continued effort in protecting natural resources and promoting environmental education within the watershed and across Michigan.
Resources and Education
In 2004, we provided GIS resource inventory maps to 12 local planning commissions in Charlevoix and Emmet counties to encourage decision-making that protects our water resources. Also, the Watershed Council staff corrected streambank erosion sites on the Jordan River as part of the Lake Charlevoix Watershed Project in partnerships with the Charlevoix Conservation District.
Michigan Wetlands-Yours to Protect, 3rd Edition, was published in 2003 and is the most comprehensive guidebook to wetland protection available in Michigan. Forty conservation and environmental organizations signed on to sponsor the publication and help with statewide distribution.
In 2001, a successful capital campaign created a new home for the Watershed Council with the establishment of the Freshwater Center. Two sites make up the Freshwater Center: an office in downtown Petoskey and an educational site on Crooked Lake. Over $1 million was raised to renovate the Freshwater Center.
The Watershed Council coordinated the Great Lakes Wetlands Policy Consortium and wrote Preserving Great Lakes Wetlands: An Environmental Agenda. The Watershed Council completed a project funded by the Joyce Foundation that investigated the status of citizen involvement in Michigan's environmental decision-making. The "Civil Environmental Discourse Project" has provided concrete recommendations on how to restore the voice of citizens in Michigan.
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council has published many valuable resource materials such as Living with Michigan's Wetlands: A Landowner's Guide and Citizen Wetland Initiatives: Stories from the Great Lakes. We also produce our quarterly newsletter Current Reflections. We have produced hundreds of other important printed materials on a variety of water resource issues and related topics.
We have produced several videos including Citizens: The Essential Link in Wetland Protection and Wetlands of the Great Lakes - A Field Trip with Professor Sally Mander.
Created the Adopt-A-Stream education and stream protection program to improve the quality of Michigan's water resources through public participation.
The Watershed Council has published Planning for Success, a step-by-step manual that shows developers how to implement conservation planning and design principles.
The Watershed Council created a series of thirteen ads to educate the public on stormwater pollution. The ads describe simple ways in which you can reduce polluted runoff from your property.
For the past twelve years, we have offered "Experience Lake Charlevoix" to middle school children living within the Lake Charlevoix Watershed to learn about water quality and resources while spending some fun time on Lake Charlevoix.
We have responded to the questions and concerns of thousands of state, regional and local residents and visitors. Additionally, we conduct many field trips and tours for both adults and children throughout the year ranging from kayak tours to shoreline walks. We also assist local planning commissions by providing natural resource inventories to assist with local planning efforts.
Protection and Restoration
In 2006, we coordinated our 22nd year of volunteer lake monitoring.
By 2005, water quality data had been collected at 54 sites on 47 lakes and streams in the northern Lower Peninsula through our Comprehensive Water Quality Monitoring. With 27 years of data compiled, we consolidated archive data which is available at www.watershedcouncil.org.
In 2005, we were awarded a grant by Michigan Clean Water Corps to start our Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program. In its first year, the program focused on streams that flow into Mullet Lake, Lake Charlevoix and Torch Lake.
In 2005, we launched the Algae Rapid Response System to keep concerned citizens up-to-date on algae growth in Northern Michigan lakes.
In 2004, we were proud to complete our 100th Biotechnical Erosion Control/Habitat Restoration Project. In just over a decade, we've been able to restore over 2,500 feet of shoreline.
In 2004, the Little Traverse Bay Watershed Protection Plan was completed. With 37 project partners, the plan includes 63 different actions and sets a framework for what is need to protect or improve the water resources in the Little Traverse Bay Watershed over the next 10 years by addressing stormwater, erosion and road/stream crossing problems.
By 2003, the Watershed Council had written or co-written seven watershed management plans and three updates. These plans include surveys of pollution sources and problem areas as well as recommendations for correcting problems and restoring the system.
In 2003, The Watershed Council staff assisted volunteer planners within Friendship Township, Emmet County to create a vision for future land use and retaining community character in a new Master Plan.
A Stormwater Ordinance was adopted in Emmet County after a dedicated committee, including Watershed Council staff, spent more than two years developing the language.
In 2001, the Watershed Council funded 28 organizations to conduct river and stream clean-ups throughout the state through a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) contract. As part of this effort 4,446 volunteers removed 700 cubic yards of trash from 156 miles of river.
Since 2001, hundreds of volunteers have helped us to Heal the Bear River through a multi-year cleanup effort, removing hundreds of cubic yards of trash from 14 miles of the Bear River and from at least a dozen road-stream crossings and major tributaries.
We have tested thousands of private wells for nitrate contamination.
We have reviewed thousands of dredge and fill permit applications impacting water and wetlands.
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) review of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's (MDEQ) administration of its wetland, lake, and stream permitting programs was released in 1998. More than 5 years later the report was released for public comment and review. The Watershed Council's wetland experts reviewed the document and helped to develop comments supported by a coalition of over 50 groups.
In the context of discussions by basin politicians of a massive new effort to restore the Great Lakes, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council and a large coalition of groups coordinated by Great Lakes United released Great Lakes Green. This "action agenda" serves as a citizens' blueprint for restoring the health of the largest freshwater.
Policy and Advocacy
In 2005, we participated in a regional initiative that wrote and released a strategy to restore and protect the Great Lakes, representing one of the most comprehensive conservation planning efforts in the history of the region.
In 2005, we developed water policy platform with the Great Lakes, Great Michigan coalition to protect rivers, lakes, wetlands and the Great Lakes from excessive water withdrawals. The culmination of this effort was the passage of water use legislation and oversight of the state's ground water resources.
With funding from the Joyce Foundation, we wrote and distributed A Citizen's Guide to Water Quality Permitting designed to help citizens participate more fully in water quality permitting.
We made formal comments on the Great Lakes Compact (Annex) influencing Governors of the eight Great Lakes states and Premiers of two Canadian provinces to sign an agreement to restrict and control removal of water from the Great Lakes ecosystem.
With funding from the C.S. Mott Foundation, we provided legal and policy research to members of the Michigan Legislature through a series of bi-weekly informational sheets on water management issues.
In 2004, the Watershed Council helped develop the Water Legacy Act and sat on a statewide water policy stakeholders group.
In 2004, we wrote and published Restoring the Connections, a book featuring restoration successes across the Great Lakes.
We provided comments to Great Lakes Governors and Premiers to improve the interstate compact and international agreement to protect Great Lakes water and promoted bills in Congress to provide funding for Great Lakes Restoration.