Healthy Beaches Program Concludes for 2018 Season
| October 15, 2018 | 5:36 pm | News & Events | Comments closed

Contact:
Shelli DiFranco
The Watershed Center
sdifranco@gtbay.org
231.935.1514 ext. 5

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HEALTHY BEACHES PROGRAM CONCLUDES FOR 2018 SEASON

SAMPLES WERE WITHIN WATER QUALITY STANDARDS 96% OF THE SUMMER

 

TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan – October 15, 2018 – The Watershed Center’s Healthy Beaches program, which monitors Great Lakes and inland beaches for E. coli bacteria, has concluded its 2018 season.

“All in all, we had a spectacular season for our Healthy Beaches program,” said Sarah U’Ren, program director at The Watershed Center. “We saw 12 beach advisories on five different days this summer that were mainly due to strong storms with heavy rainfall moving through the area. This means that 96% of the samples taken were well within water quality standards.”

The Healthy Beaches program included taking samples from 32 beaches during the thirteen week season. The longest advisory was for Sunset Park beach in Traverse City and lasted for two days in early August.

“We had a very wet August,” said U’Ren. “With rainstorms, we usually expect to have some advisories posted at beaches located next to storm drains.  This is because the rain washes pollutants like oils, trash, and bacteria off the roadways and parking lots into the storm drains and out into the bay.” Sunshine kills the bacteria and nearly all beach advisories are lifted the following day after being re-tested.

Funding for the Healthy Beaches program comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency BEACH Act Funds as well as the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Clean Michigan Initiative, the City of Traverse City, and Acme Township.

 

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The Watershed Center is a non-profit organization that advocates for clean water in Grand Traverse Bay and acts to protect and preserve its 1,000-square mile watershed, which covers portions of Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Antrim, and Kalkaska counties. Learn more at www.gtbay.org.

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Freshwater Summit Registration Now Open
| September 17, 2018 | 1:06 pm | News & Events | Comments closed

Contact:
Shelli DiFranco
The Watershed Center
sdifranco@gtbay.org
231.935.1514 ext. 5

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

11th ANNUAL FRESHWATER SUMMIT PLANNED FOR OCTOBER 26, 2018

REGISTRATION AVAILABLE THROUGH THE WATERSHED CENTER

 

TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan – September 17, 2018 – The Freshwater Roundtable is proud to announce the 11th Annual Freshwater Summit. The Summit will be held on Friday, October 26 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Hagerty Center at Northwestern Michigan College.

“Michigan’s past, present, and future are deeply connected to its clean, healthy water,” said Christine Crissman, executive director of The Watershed Center. “For our region, that’s especially true. We are looking forward to tapping into local expertise for our 11th annual freshwater gathering.”

Presentations include understanding drivers of change in Great Lakes water levels, planning to be a resilient Great Lakes community, and measuring the economic impacts of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

“In Michigan, and especially in this region, our lives are defined by water; commercially and recreationally.” said Dennis McCauley, president of the Great Lakes Environmental Center, Inc., one of the sponsors of the Freshwater Summit. “We feel it’s valuable to bring together professionals and interested residents alike to talk about water quality and water use issues that are impacting our economy, our shorelines, and our lives.”

Registration is available online at https://www.gtbay.org/our-programs/freshwater-summit/. Cost is $35/person or $15/student, and includes lunch.

The Freshwater Summit is a product of the Freshwater Roundtable and is organized by The Watershed Center, Great Lakes Water Studies Institute, Michigan Sea Grant Extension, Great Lakes Environmental Center, Inc., Inland Seas Education Association, NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, and the Grand Traverse Conservation District.

 

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The Watershed Center is a non-profit organization that advocates for clean water in Grand Traverse Bay and acts to protect and preserve its 1,000-square mile watershed, which covers portions of Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Antrim, and Kalkaska counties. Learn more at www.gtbay.org.

 

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Join TWC by Submitting Comments to MDEQ to protect the Kids Creek Watershed
| September 11, 2018 | 8:05 pm | News & Events | Comments closed

Join The Watershed Center by submitting comments to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to keep hot, chlorinated water from the Kids Creek watershed. You can submit your comments here: https://miwaters.deq.state.mi.us/miwaters/#/external/publicnotice/info/-5582586569611917861/details

Here is a draft comment:

Dear Michigan Department of Environmental Quality,

I have concerns over Cordia at Grand Traverse Commons’ request for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.

I stand with The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay and their four recommendations:
1. Require year-round water quality monitoring.
2. Require appropriate temperature standards.
3. Prohibit overflow into Kids Creek Tributary AA.
4. Expand photographic monitoring requirements.

I request the DEQ modify the permit conditions to more adequately protect Kids Creek and its wetland network. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

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The Watershed Center Issues Notice of Intent to Sue for Clean Water Act Violations
| September 10, 2018 | 5:15 pm | News & Events | Comments closed

Contacts
Shelli DiFranco
The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay
sdifranco@gtbay.org
231.935.1514 ext. 5

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

THE WATERSHED CENTER ISSUES NOTICE OF INTENT TO SUE FOR CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATIONS

REQUESTS PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED WETLAND DISCHARGE PERMIT

TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan – September 10, 2018 – The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay issued a Notice of Intent to Sue under the Clean Water Act to Cordia at Grand Traverse Commons for its continued unlawful discharge of hot, chlorinated water into Tributary AA of Kids Creek. Following four summers of Cordia discharging noncontact cooling water into Tributary AA, The Watershed Center is demanding the facility meet Michigan water quality standards or face legal action.

The Watershed Center also submitted recommendations to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) concerning Cordia’s draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit to discharge the facility’s cooling water to a wetland network contiguous to Kids Creek. The Watershed Center has concerns with water quality standards and monitoring requirements outlined in the draft permit. The Watershed Center also requested the DEQ hold a public hearing to allow more voices to be heard in support of Kids Creek.

During the warmer months, Cordia circulates municipal water through an open-loop system to cool their facility. As a result, the water discharged from the cooling system is hot and chlorinated. Starting in 2015, Cordia’s cooling water was discharged to a stormwater pipe that led directly into Tributary AA of Kids Creek. In the summer of 2018, Cordia installed a system that diverted its cooling system discharge to a wetland network contiguous to Kids Creek, with an overflow that intermittently discharges directly into Tributary AA.

Water quality data collected by The Watershed Center in recent months illustrates that both the wetland network and Tributary AA are negatively impacted by Cordia’s current discharge system. Discharge water leaving Cordia’s facility has reached nearly 93°F and far exceeds Michigan’s Aquatic Maximum Value Criteria for chlorine. The wetland network naturally sustains water temperatures in the 60s and 70s (°F), while Cordia’s discharge entering the wetland network is consistently in the 80s (°F). Previous direct discharge and current overflow discharge to Tributary AA has warmed downstream reaches of the creek by more than 20°F, producing a section of Tributary AA unsuitable for aquatic life that has led to fish deaths.

Since discovering the illegal discharge into Tributary AA in 2015, The Watershed Center has been in frequent contact with the owners of Cordia and DEQ staff and has been hopeful these discussions would result in positive action. Those advocacy efforts eventually led Cordia to pursue an alternative discharge location for their cooling water that would eliminate harmful impacts to Kids Creek. However, Cordia’s newly constructed system still poses a threat to wetland health as the discharge is highly chlorinated and hot when it enters the wetland network. Further, the current system is designed to overflow into Tributary AA, which is resulting in pulses of hot, chlorinated water into this coldwater creek.

“We are extremely disheartened that Cordia continues to jeopardize the health of the Kids Creek watershed,” said Christine Crissman, executive director of The Watershed Center. “For the last four years, we continually offered Cordia our expertise and resources to find a solution. To see them continuing this harmful behavior despite our efforts is disappointing.”

Cordia’s actions are in violation of the Clean Water Act and the Michigan Environmental Protection Act. The Watershed Center believes this discharge has likely had, and will continue to have, adverse impacts on water quality and aquatic life in the Kids Creek watershed, including the state fish of Michigan, brook trout.

“The Watershed Center has been working for 15 years to restore Kids Creek and its tributaries, investing more than $5.3 million to improve water quality,” said Crissman. “As the nonprofit that advocates for clean water in the Grand Traverse Bay watershed, we will be the voice for Kids Creek.”

The DEQ will accept comments on the permit request through midnight on Wednesday, September 12 to Daniel Schwanik, Permits Section, Water Resources Department, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, PO Box 30458, Lansing, MI 48909 or via email to schwanikd1@michigan.gov.

During the 60-day notice period, The Watershed Center is willing to discuss effective remedies for the violations. The full notice and additional documentation is available below:

Notice of Intent to Sue

Comments to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality on draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit

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The Watershed Center is a non-profit organization that advocates for clean water in Grand Traverse Bay and acts to protect and preserve its 1,000-square mile watershed, which covers portions of Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Antrim, and Kalkaska counties. Learn more at www.gtbay.org.

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TWC and FLOW to Co-Host Adopt-A-Beach Cleanup on 9-15
| September 5, 2018 | 6:38 pm | News & Events | Comments closed

Local Water Organizations to Co-Host
Adopt-a-Beach Cleanup

Traverse City, Michigan – The Watershed Center and FLOW (For Love of Water) are pleased to announce they will be co-hosting an Adopt-a-Beach cleanup on Saturday, September 15 in honor of The International Coastal Cleanup, organized globally by the Ocean Conservancy.

Volunteers are encouraged to register online at www.greatlakesadopt.org/Secure/Event/14395.

What:              Adopt-A-Beach cleanup; all supplies will be provided, though volunteers are encouraged to bring a bucket or
plastic bag from home to cut down on waste

When:             Saturday, September 15 from 9-10:30am

Where:            Keith J. Charters Traverse City State Park Beach, 1132 U.S.31 North, Traverse City, MI 49686

Who:               Volunteers looking to make a difference on a local beach

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