Muck, invasive species on tap for 2014 Saginaw Bay Watershed Conference

A group of experts will gather at Saginaw Valley State University in June to discuss ways to restore the rivers, lakes and wetlands of the Saginaw Bay watershed, but it won't be reciting research papers, one official says.

BY: The Saginaw News

KOCHVILLE TOWNSHIP, MI — A group of experts will gather at Saginaw Valley State University in June to discuss ways to restore the rivers, lakes and wetlands of the Saginaw Bay watershed, but it won't be reciting research papers, one official says.

"We've got a real challenge in trying to get people to understand what they do relative to the land and in the water flows out into the bay affects everyone who uses it," said Mark A. Wyckoff, Michigan State University Planning and Zoning Center director.

He's helping to organize the 2014 Saginaw Bay Watershed Conference on Thursday, June 12 at SVSU, 7400 Bay in Kochville Township. It features 31 speakers in a panel discussion and four breakout sessions.

The Saginaw Bay Watershed is the largest basin in Michigan. It includes parts of 22 counties, more than 175 inland lakes and 7,000 miles of rivers and streams. The landmass in the watershed makes up 15 percent of the state.

Wyckoff said the conference is an opportunity to learn firsthand about projects going on in the basin.

"I think anytime we can talk about the bay and ways to improve it is just excellent," said Terry Miller, Lone Tree Council environmental group chairman.

Conferences like this, he said, allow people to ask questions.

"If there are any kinds of concerns, it's an opportunity to educate yourself. Anytime you can educate yourself, that's a positive," he said.

The conference is 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $30, and registration is available online.

About 220 people attended the first watershed conference in 2012.

Topics include beach muck, pollution, Chesaning's fish passage, the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, storm water management, the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and a new Michigan water strategy.

Jame Schardt from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Patrick Doran from the Nature Conservancy and Todd Ambs from the Great Lakes Coalition will participate in a discussion to kick off the day.

Craig Stow from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will talk about beach muck issues during one breakout session. Beaches along the Saginaw Bay face muck problems as a result of pollution in the watershed.

Dave Karpovich from SVSU will discuss management practices in the Kawkawlin River.

Steve Kahl, Aubry Scott and Dane Cramer will share information about tourism and restoration of the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.

— Lindsay Knake covers education for MLive/The Saginaw News. Follow her on twitter or contact her at 989-372-2498 or

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