Saginaw Bay Watershed Center Stage at PZC Conference

More than 200 people attended the 2012 Saginaw Bay Watershed Conference on Friday, March 16, 2012, at Saginaw Valley State University.

More than 200 people attended the 2012 Saginaw Bay Watershed Conference on Friday, March 16, 2012, at Saginaw Valley State University. The event was hosted by LPI’s Planning & Zoning Center (PZC) at MSU, and was co-sponsored by Saginaw Bay Land Conservancy, the East Michigan Council of Governments, the Partnership for Saginaw Bay Watershed, the Saginaw Bay Coastal Initiative and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

The event focused on water quality restoration achievements, and highlighted opportunities for future improvement of the Saginaw Bay Watershed. This Conference provided attendees an opportunity to learn about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) progress in the Saginaw Bay Watershed and River/Bay Area of Concern, including the work PZC has been doing in this area. A broad spectrum of national and Michigan-based leaders were on-hand to share their expertise on watershed management and strategies for improving water quality of the Saginaw Bay Watershed.

Keynote Address

The keynote address was given by Cameron Davis, Sr. Advisor to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, on “A Federal View on GLRI Implementation.”

Registrants appreciated the comprehensive scope of speakers and the historical content provided by Davis and the rest of the morning speakers.

Progress in Improving Water Quality in the Saginaw Bay Watershed

Climate Change

Two MSU professors provided a science-based objective analysis of climate change and its projected impacts on the Great Lakes:

Nine Breakout sessions, with 20 speakers addressed regional issues related to Habitat Protection and Restoration, Water Quality Protection and Improvement and Local Government and Site Development.

In addition, the Conference wrapped up with a panel discussion on: The relationships between land use, water quality, land policy, climate change and threats to biodiversity; identified barriers and gaps to further GLRI and related implementation efforts; and identified ideas/strategies for the next round of GLRI funding for projects that advance restoration of the Saginaw River/Bay Area of Concern.

Presentations, handouts and the final agenda are available online at Saginaw Bay Watershed Conference.

Special Offer for GLRI Conference Attendees: Opportunity for Free Attendance to the Michigan Citizen Planner Saginaw Bay Watershed Program in May

Each individual that attended the GLRI Saginaw Bay Watershed Conference is eligible to receive free attendance to the Special Michigan Citizen Planner Roles & Responsibilities Program training sessions for three (3) community members, up to a total of nine (9) complementary registrations per community. To take advantage of this special one-time offer, communities must: 1) Have sent at least one representative to the GLRI Conference; and 2) Contact Jessica McFarland at or call 517.884.3957 to sign up for the complementary registrations. Act quickly as space is limited!

In May and June, Michigan Citizen Planner will be conducting a customized training on the Roles & Responsibilities of Planning and Zoning. These sessions are open to anyone interested in enhancing their training in the areas of planning and zoning. However, seats will be first reserved for planning commissioners in the Pigeon, Pinnebog, Cass and Rifle river sub-watersheds that have been working with PZC to update their master plans and zoning ordinances. This special program is ideal for new planning commissioners, zoning board of appeals members and elected officials, and is also well-suited for economic development officials, real estate professionals and other government and nonprofit leaders. The trainings will be held at three locations with sessions held from 6pm-8:30pm on the following dates at the following locations, and includes time for questions.

Bridgeport Township, Saginaw County
Planning Session: Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Zoning Session: Tuesday, June 29, 2012

Bridgeport Township Hall, Bridgeport Charter Township

Edwards Township, Ogemaw County
Planning Session:
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Zoning Session: Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Edwards Township Hall, West Branch

Bad Axe, Huron County
Planning Session:
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Zoning Session: Thursday, June 21, 2012
Huron County Expo Center, Bad Axe

Participants at the Special Program will gain basic planning and zoning knowledge. Specifically, the Roles & Responsibilities: Planning session will focus on what a master plan is and how it should be used, the planning process and working with the public. Then, the Roles & Responsibilities: Zoning session will focus on walking attendees through the zoning process, including learning about zoning decisions, site plans and the Zoning Board of Appeals process.

The cost to participate for those who didn’t attend the GLRI Conference is $110 per person to attend both sessions (sessions are not offered separately). The fee covers registration, program materials and refreshments. Registration is available online, or download the Registration Brochure to pay by check. Contact Jessica McFarland at or call 517.884.3957 with any questions about registration.

Learn more at Special Saginaw Bay Watershed Communities Program.

Learn more about the PZC project at GLRI Saginaw Bay Watershed Project.

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