Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
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Accomplishments

In 2009, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council celebrated its 30th Anniversary. Volunteers, members, and staff have accomplished great things illustrating that the importance of our work requires long-term commitment. Our membership has remained extremely loyal and supportive, standing at over 2,000 strong while our dedicated staff of ten continues to be the voice for our precious waters by building on our solid foundation to ensure that future generations can experience the waters that we enjoy today.

 

Our Accomplishments Include:

1975 - 1981

  • First organizational meeting in Mark Paddock’s cabin - August 7, 1975
  • Kick-off meeting for Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, hosted by Art Gold at University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) - August 29, 1979
  • Ruth O’Gawa appointed volunteer Executive Director at November 7, 1979 meeting
  • Richard Sharer elected Board President - 1979
  • Articles of Incorporation filed with State of Michigan - February 1980
  • First Annual Meeting held at UMBS - July 1, 1980
  • 1980 Budget - $1,200

1982

  • Nancy Jarvis hired as first paid Executive Director at half-time with grant provided by the Little Traverse Conservancy - January 1982
  • Inland Lakes Conference hosted at UMBS - August 18
  • First office set up on Lake Street in Petoskey
  • Expanded membership to include individuals and families in addition to organizations - received $17,145 in contributions, $916 from lake associations
  • Issues - wetland fill on Round Lake, National Wild and Scenic River designation for Pigeon River, Emmet County Sanitary Code, Cheboygan Zoning, Alanson locks

1983

  • Carol (Magee) Wagner hired as Executive Director - February 1983
  • Membership grows to 141 individuals, families, and organizations

1984

  • Horace (Huffy) M. Huffman, Jr. helps Watershed Council grow - budget doubles
  • Staff expands to include Science Advisor, Legal Consultant, and Membership and Communications Coordinator funded by nine individuals and foundations
  • Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program starts on 10 lakes
  • Eighty attend third annual Inland Lakes Conference in July
  • Watershed Council monitors proposed Petoskey Harbor Project at Dundee Cement Plant
  • Office moves to Round Lake Nature Preserve
  • Membership 442, $48,000

1985

  • First Annual Lake Expo which draws 200 people
  • Membership reaches 791, contributions at $78,000
  • First series of educational brochures published and distributed
  • Reviewed 200 dredge and fill applications • Chaired statewide wetlands protection committee
  • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation awards three-year wetland protection grant

1986

  • Performed shoreline algae (Cladaphora) survey on Lake Charlevoix
  • Established wetland stewardship program
  • Inventoried and evaluated critical wetlands in service area
  • Developed model wetland protection ordinance
  • Initiated a Save the Spreads effort for the Indian River Spreads on Mullett Lake
  • Initiated the Clean Bay Campaign for Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan
  • Developed first comprehensive management plan on Burt Lake along with the Northeast Michigan Council of Governments (NEMCOG)

1987

  • Gail Gruenwald succeeds Carol Magee as Executive Director
  • Comprehensive Water Monitoring Program begun
  • Completed storm sewer survey for City of Harbor Springs
  • Evaluated impacts of the Homestead Resort golf course proposed for the Crystal River wetlands in Leelanau County
  • Monitored oil drilling operations in the Pigeon River State Forest
  • Performed shoreline wetland surveys on Charlevoix, Walloon, and Mullett Lakes
  • Completed shoreline pollution survey on Douglas Lake

1988

  • Initiated Ground Water Protection and Education Program
  • Produced five different ground water protection fact sheets
  • Staff served on Citizen’s Advisory Committee to Michigan Department of Transportation about Petoskey’s transportation needs
  • Filed Friend of the Court brief in support of the Michigan Environmental Protection Act
  • Conducted Lake Charlevoix tributary survey over 230 miles of 10 rivers and streams to look for sites on nonpoint source pollution
  • Began Mullett Lake watershed management plan with NEMCOG
  • Piloted Adopt-A-Stream program to provide protection for rivers and streams in the region
  • Conducted eight workshops statewide on Citizen Involvement in Wetland Protection
  • Served on legislative committee to develop rules under the Wetland Protection Act
  • Membership 1,750, contributions $120,000

1989

  • Tested 1,265 private wells for nitrate contamination
  • Developed septic evaluation service for private landowners and lake associations
  • Served on the advisory committee for the Low Level Radioactive Waste Authority
  • Started Endowment Fund - July
  • Implemented Burt Lake Management Plan
  • Formed Cheboygan River Watershed Committee
  • Formed Great Lakes Wetlands Policy Consortium and drafted comprehensive policy and management statement for wetlands in the Great Lakes Basin

1990

  • Added the watersheds of Antrim County to service area
  • Conducted fuel storage tank survey and education program
  • Co-directed Regional Ground Water Center at UMBS
  • Inventory and assessment of Michigan Department of Natural Resources boat access sites conducted
  • Adopt-A-Stream program expanded
  • Produced radio public service announcements
  • Gail Gruenwald receives Walloon Lake Association’s 1990 President’s Award
  • Budget tops $300,000
  • Dissolved oxygen studies on Lake Charlevoix and Elk-Skegemog Lakes
  • Cladophora survey and shoreline survey on Lake Louise
  • Corrected erosion sites on Jordan River
  • Developed wetland delineation survey

1991

  • Received National Environmental Achievement Award from Renew America for Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program
  • Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program conducted on 21 lakes
  • Assisted 22 area businesses regarding use, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste
  • 1,000 people attended Earth Day celebration co-sponsored by Watershed Council
  •  Initiated comprehensive planning and zoning program
  • Endowment contributions reach $348,850
  • Completed Black Lake Watershed Management Plan with NEMCOG
  • Produced property owner’s guides for Burt and Mullett Lakes areas
  • Formed the Michigan Wetlands Action Coalition
  • Testified before congressional committee to support a strong federal wetlands program
  • Hosted first Little Traverse Bay beach clean-up

1992

  • Zebra mussel study conducted to monitor spread
  • 1,000 attend Ground Water Festival co-sponsored by Watershed Council
  •  Endowment Fund reaches $574,933
  • Documented Swimmer’s Itch on Walloon, Elk, and Skegemog Lakes
  • Dissolved oxygen monitoring on Walloon Lake
  • Conducted shoreline pollution survey on Six Mile Lake
  • Organized Burt Lake Shoreline Assistance Program

1993

  • Awarded White Pine Award from Michigan Senate Republicans for outstanding achievement in watershed protection and education
  • Board of Technical Advisors created
  • Initiated landowner soil erosion control program
  • First television public service announcements produced and aired
  • Shoreline inventory developed for Elk and Skegemog Lakes
  • Identified high value and potentially restorable wetlands throughout service area

1994

  • 1994 Clean Waters Award bestowed on Watershed Council by Michigan Outdoor Writers Association
  • Shoreline soil erosion consultations provided for 23 landowners
  • Participated in team that developed model keyhole or funnel ordinance
  • Initiated Northwest Michigan Roundtable on Tourism and Natural Resources Stewardship
  • Pickerel-Crooked Lakes Watershed Management Plan developed with NEMCOG
  • Five wetland properties restored as part of wetlands restoration cost share program

1995

  • Designed and built model shoreline erosion control demonstration site along 200 feet of Crooked Lake in Emmet County
  • “Experience Lake Charlevoix” school-aged education program created
  • Protecting Northern Michigan’s Water Resources video produced detailing Watershed Council programs and activities
  • Staff member Wil Cwikiel selected for Kellogg National Fellowship Program
  • Thirty-three lakes included in Comprehensive Water Quality Monitoring Program
  • Two additional wetlands videos produced

1996

  • Watershed Council goes online
  • Video Great Lakes: A Field Trip with Sally Mander wins Telly Award for Outstanding Video Production
  • Shoreline erosion inventory conducted on Pickerel-Crooked Lakes
  • Lake Living Kits created for Pickerel-Crooked lakes’ residents
  • 910 feet of shoreline erosion corrected and 600 trees and shrubs planted for erosion control projects
  • Shoreline algae survey completed on Lake Charlevoix
  • Paradise Lake vegetation mapping project completed
  • Created Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network and Fund and provided financial support to 22 organizations across the Great Lakes Basin

1997

  • Watershed Council staff member Wil Cwikiel receives National Wetlands Award
  •  Education module for realtor training on wetland values and regulations training produced
  • Shoreline Assistance Program developed with MSU Extension
  • Aquatic Field Trips - naturalist-led kayak and canoe excursions initiated
  • 350 permits reviewed for projects that could affect wetlands, lakes, and streams

1998

  • Comprehensive Water Quality Monitoring tests performed on 35 lakes
  • Watershed Council launches Michigan River Network
  • Completed extensive shoreline survey of entire Elk River Chain of Lakes Watershed
  • Watershed Council monitoring Cedar River as part of court settlement
  • Shoreline survey conducted on Walloon Lake
  • Membership 2,164, contributions $154,582

1999

  • Land Use Program Director added to staff
  • Conservation Planning and Design program initiated
  • Full time staff grows to 10
  • Watershed Council helps to form Michigan Environmental Law Center
  • GIS mapping system set up
  • 20th Anniversary celebrated at Camp Petosega
  • Water quality study completed on Huffman Lake
  • Recreation plan developed for Friendship Township

2000

  • Healing the Bear program initiated-first annual cleanup huge success
  • 260 students participate in the sixth annual Experience Lake Charlevoix program
  • Freshwater Center plans unveiled at annual meeting
  • Watershed Council joins National Water Keepers alliance
  • Shoreline erosion corrected on 900 feet of frontage
  • Watershed Council wins USEPA’s and Environmental Canada’s Success Story award
  • Watershed Council fights sewer to Oden Island, Crooked Lake

2001

  • Watershed Council moves to Freshwater Center
  • Work begun on Emmet County Steep Slope ordinance
  • Staff testifies at two DEQ wetland contested hearings
  • Staff grows to 13 full-time employees
  • Comprehensive monitoring program samples 42 lakes
  • Staff drafts Great Lakes Chapter of National Restoration Strategy
  • Small dam removal workshop held
  • Watershed Council serves 900 people at Petoskey holiday open house

2002

  • Operating fund budget exceeds $1 million
  • Great Lakes Directory website developed
  • Full time staff at 14
  • “Watershed” sculpture installed at Freshwater Center
  • Mortgage retired, Freshwater Center fund raising complete
  • Watershed Council appears in National Geographic
  • Stormwater Management System up and running at Freshwater Center
  • 2000 feet of eroded shoreline restored
  • Cheboygan River Watershed Plan completed

2003

  • Watershed Council administers aquatic nuisance small grants program
  • Staff at 17 (18 for 3 months)
  • Watershed Council begins third Township Master Plan and finishes sixth Township Resource Inventory
  • To date, Watershed Council has written or co-written seven watershed management plans and three updates
  • GLAHNF program awarded over 350 grants totaling nearly $600,000
  • To date, concluded over 30 shoreline surveys

2004

  • Watershed Council celebrates its 25th anniversary
  • Little Traverse Bay Watershed Protection Plan completed
  • Burt Lake Eurasian Water Milfoil Control Project initiated
  • Provided GIS resource inventory maps to 12 local planning commissions in Charlevoix and Emmet counties
  • Completed our 100th Biotechnical Erosion Control/Habitat Restoration Project (restored over 2,500 feet of shoreline)
  • Water quality data collected at 54 sites on 47 lakes and streams
  • Coordinated our 20th year of volunteer lake monitoring
  • Helped develop the Water Legacy Act and sat on a statewide water policy stakeholders group
  • GLAHNF funded over 60 habitat protection projects throughout the Great Lakes Basin totaling over $100,000 and increased a communications network from 700 to over 1,600 members
  • GLAHNF hosted first annual Grassroots symposium
  • Bear River Cleanup had 122 volunteers who collected over 6 cubic yards of trash

2005

  • Organized students from Cheboygan High School to mark 152 storm drains with a pollution prevention message
  • Completed the “Little Traverse Bay Watershed Protection Plan”
  • Expanded the Comprehensive Water Quality Monitoring program to 54 sites on 47 lakes and rivers in the northern Lower Peninsula
  • Held First Bear River Bio Blitz
  • Began our Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program with funding from Michigan Clean Water Corps
  • Launched the Algae Rapid Response System
  • Completed 10 restoration & enhancement projects totaling over 800 feet, bringing the restoration project total since inception to over 14,000 feet (over 2 ½ miles) since 1995
  • Participated in a regional initiative that wrote & released a strategy to restore and protect the Great Lakes, one of the most comprehensive conservation planning efforts in the history of the region
  • Managed website to promote Great Lakes restoration – www.restorethelakes.org
  • Developed water policy platform with the Great Lakes, Great Michigan coalition to protect rivers, lakes, and wetlands from excessive water
  • Wrote & distributed “A Citizen’s Guide to Water Quality Permitting”
  • Provided legal and policy research to members of the Michigan Legislature through bi-weekly informational sheets on water management issues
  • 2,201 members contributing $225,682 in membership income

2006

  • 22nd year of volunteer lake monitoring – 40 volunteers on 24 lakes and 2nd year of Volunteer Stream Monitoring program – 50 volunteers on 8 streams
  • Developed a community-driven watershed management plan for Larks Lake
  • Launched Runoff Remedies program to reduce stormwater pollution throughout the region
  • Initiated a Volunteer Algae Monitoring Program along the Great Lakes shoreline
  • Conducted an extensive Eurasian water milfoil (EWM) survey in Walloon Lake to help identify potential sources of nutrients
  • Conducted an aquatic plant survey of Wycamp Lake
  • Installed stormwater treatment education signs in our parking lot at the Freshwater Center
  • Volunteer Purple Corp project initiated to identify and control Purple Loosestrife 
  • GLAHNF awarded 4 theme grants totaling $30,000 and 33 project grants totaling over $86,000
  • GLAHNF prepared for becoming a stand-alone 501(c)(3) organization
  • Hosted a public forum on the cleanup at Bay Harbor
  • Invested $310,000 in local community foundations as a permanent endowment to support the work of the watershed council
  • Welcomed 181 new members for a total of 2,252 members and $260,194 membership income

2007

  • Installed two rain gardens demonstrating stormwater best management practices in the Lake Charlevoix watershed
  • Initiated the Treasure Lake Charlevoix program to protect and enhance the water quality throughout the Lake Charlevoix watershed
  • Four shoreline and streambank restoration projects, totaling 490 feet, were designed and installed
  • Conducted several lake surveys and monitoring programs throughout the region
  • Participated in Clean Water Week in Washington DC to advance the Clean Water Restoration Act to reaffirm the original intent of the Clean Water Act
  • Advocated for invasive species controls on the federal and state level
  • Gained EPA approval for our Little Traverse Bay management plan opening the door for federal funds for implementation
  • Initiated our boater outreach and education program through the Clean Marina program and working with boaters
  • Produced a “Sensible Shoreline Development” publication
  • Published “Protecting Michigan’s Wetlands: A Guide for Local Governments”
  • Co-hosted the 14th annual Experience Lake Charlevoix program with the Lake Charlevoix Association
  • Welcomed 185 new members for a membership of 2,247

2008

  • Led effort to adopt the Great Lakes Compact in Michigan and nationwide
  • Helped secure reauthorization of the Great Lakes Legacy Act
  • Secured adoption of improvements to Emmet County shoreline ordinance
  • Hosted 15th annual Experience Lake Charlevoix and the Discover Lake Charlevoix educational events with the Lake Charlevoix Association
  • Implemented the Treasure Lake Charlevoix program
  • Sold 300 rain barrels to protect water resources and conserve energy
  • Conducted five aquatic plant surveys, a Phragmites survey in the Cheboygan River watershed and conducted shoreline surveys on Mullett and Sixmile Lakes.
  • Installed six restoration projects totaling 870 feet of shoreline and streambanks
  • Hosted a clean marina social and distributed 750 boater bundles to build awareness of good boating practices
  • Completed a riparian protection project with the City of Petoskey at the Bear River Road sports complex

2009

  • As members of the Steering Committee of the Healing Our Waters Coalition, we worked to pass historic federal legislation to address urgent threats to the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) received $475 million dollars as part of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Act of 2010.
  • We also helped secure over a billion dollars from the Economic Stimulus package to repair aging sewers and accomplish habitat restoration across the Great Lakes Basin.
  • Thanks to our leadership, and after a long, arduous eight month battle, a bill to save Michigan’s Wetland Protection Program passed the state legislature. The bill also created a Wetland Advisory Council and we were appointed to serve.
  • A ban on phosphorus in dishwashing cleaning products passed upon the recommendation of the state Phosphorus Task Force, on which we served.
  • Helped organize and participated in four local pharmaceutical collection events in Emmet County to prevent those substances from entering our waters.
  • Reviewed and commented on local Master Plan work: Blueprint Petoskey and the Charlevoix County Future Land Use Plan.
  • Assisted in the formation of, and participated in, the Bay Harbor Regional Stakeholder Group.
  • Participated in the five-year review of the PMC Groundwater Superfund site in Petoskey.
  • Fundamental research for the Local Ordinance Gaps Analysis was completed. The goal is to evaluate all existing water-related ordinances Cheboygan, Emmet, Charlevoix, and Antrim counties. The analysis is being done at the county, city, and township levels to determine if existing water-related zoning is sufficient.
  • The 5th Annual Lake Association Summit was held in June .
  • The Lake Michigan Summit was expanded to two locations, Harbor Springs and Charlevoix.
  • Initiated the “Ice Breaker” Education Series.
  • With funding from a private individual, the Bay Harbor Foundation, and a grant from the BoatUS Foundation the Watershed Council was able to produce 5000 Boater Bundles to help build awareness of good boating practices, clean water, and current issues affecting the waters in our Northern Michigan recreational boating community.
  • The Watershed Council hosted a Native Plant Sale. Over 180 plant kits were sold during the event.
  • Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council and the Lake Charlevoix Association hosted the 16th annual “Experience Lake Charlevoix” event.
  • Hosted six aquatic tours as part of their “Wednesdays on the Water” series.
  • Completed two projects for the “Treasure Lake Charlevoix” (TLC) program with funding provided by the Charlevoix County Community Foundation and the Frey Foundation. - The first project was the design of a personalized storm drain curb inlet hood and a round storm drain cover developed by the East Jordan Iron Works that have a pollution prevention message that will be used in Charlevoix Boyne City, and East Jordan. - The Watershed Council staff also worked with the City of Charlevoix to develop a plan containing stormwater management recommendations and streetscape design guidelines for the drainage basin surrounding Park Avenue in downtown Charlevoix.
  • Partnered with the Lake Charlevoix Association to develop and install aquatic invasive species awareness signs at five boat launch locations on Lake Charlevoix.
  • During the 7th Bear River Cleanup, volunteers and staff members removed approximately 52 bags of trash and several large items from the Bear River spanning approximately four miles before it enters Little Traverse Bay.
  • Two Purple Loosestrife beetle collections days were held.
  • Our summer fundraiser entitled “A Whale of a Sale” - A Huge Sale for Water Recreation Lovers - generated lots of fun and netted nearly $10,000 for our programming. Restoration Projects
  • As part of the two-year, multifaceted Cheboygan River Watershed Restoration Initiative, staff performed shoreline and streambank erosion assessments in the Watershed. Two severely-eroding shorelines were stabilized using bioengineering methods, bringing the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation-funded project total to over 700 restored linear feet (including 5 shoreline and streambank projects)
  • Bear River Watershed and disc golf course maps, along with wet land-sensitive trail matting, were installed.
  • Identified and assisted with restoration of two severely eroding streambank sites on Stover Creek within Charlevoix’s Brookside Cemetery. The two-year effort stabilized a total of approximately 160 linear feet. In addition, removal of several large log jams and other debris improved stream flow conditions.
  • Obtained funding to complete removal of Chandler Dam, located on the Upper Black River within the Pigeon River Country State Forest. Removal will take place in 2010.
  • Designed and assisted with installation of a shoreline enhancement and demonstration greenbelt project at Evangeline Township’s Glenwood Beach Park.
  • Designed and assisted with installation of a residential shoreline stabilization project on Elk Lake.
  • Performed reviews and provided comments on countless project proposals, including site plans and stormwater projects, for local governments, lake associations, businesses and other organizations.
  • Participated in the development of the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership (MNSP) which promotes natural shoreline landscaping and management. The MNSP objectives include contractor training, riparian property owner education, research, and the promotion of local and state policies which support natural shorelines.
  • A comprehensive shoreline survey was conducted on Burt Lake to document nutrient pollution, erosion, greenbelt health and more.
  • A Quagga mussel survey was conducted in the major lakes and rivers of the Cheboygan River watershed. There were no Quagga mussels found during the survey.
  • Watershed Council and West Traverse Township collaborated to survey all shoreline properties in Little Traverse Bay from Nine Mile Point at the southern boundary to Seven Mile Point at the northern end for the invasive plant Phragmites.
  • Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council staff and interns assisted the Lake Charlevoix Association with their Phragmites management efforts.
  • Watershed Council staff developed education tools and provided technical assistance to help property owners identify Phragmites.
  • Continued intensive water quality monitoring of Elk and Skegemog Lakes.
  • Completed our 14th consecutive year of springtime water quality monitoring on Walloon Lake with the support of the Walloon Lake Association.
  • Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council celebrated over 25 years of coordinating the Volunteer Lake Monitoring program and over five years of the Volunteer Stream Monitoring program.


Additional Accomplishments include:

Projects

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.

Since 1994, 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.

 

 

Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council • 426 Bay Street, Petoskey, MI 49770
PH: (231) 347-1181 • Fax: (231) 347-5928 • www.watershedcouncil.org
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