Water Quality Improvements and Restoration Activities Highlighted

Officials today announced registration remains open for the 2012 Saginaw Bay Watershed Conference, March 16 on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University.

Agency: Environmental Quality

Date:  March 5, 2012

For More Information:

Brad Wurfel, 517-241-7395, wurfelb@michigan.gov 

Michelle Selzer, 517-241-3731, selzerm@michigan.gov           

Michigan State University staff contact, Mark Wyckoff 517-432-2222, Wyckoff@msu.edu 

Water quality improvements & restoration activities highlighted

Officials today announced registration remains open for the 2012 Saginaw Bay Watershed Conference, March 16 on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University.

The annual conference draws federal, state and local officials as well as conservation groups and academic experts to discuss challenges and plans to improving water quality in the Saginaw Bay and its watershed.

The Saginaw Basin is Michigan's largest watershed at 8,709 square miles, and drains about 15 percent of Michigan's total land area. It covers parts of 22 counties.

Cameron Davis, senior advisor to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, will keynote the event. Two dozen other speakers will address everything from progress toward delisting the Saginaw River and bay as a federal Area of Concern, to projected impacts of climate change on the Great Lakes.

Breakout sessions include:

  • Local habitat protection and restoration projects 
  • Sub-watershed planning and improvement projects 
  • Efforts by local governments to use tools like contemporary septic system codes and low impact development practices, and
  • Conservation organization efforts to engage in sediment reduction and conservation easements to better protect water quality. 

According to Tom Hickner, Bay County Executive, "This conference is an important opportunity for citizens concerned about water quality issues in the Saginaw Bay Basin to learn about some of the successes that have been achieved in improving water quality. Many local governments and community organizations have worked to speed up progress. These efforts are large and small and each contributes to moving us one step closer to being able to live in the Saginaw Bay Basin confident in our ability to safely enjoy our bountiful water resources for fishing, swimming, and drinking."

The conference is supported by a grant under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative from the U.S. EPA to Michigan State University. Conference sponsors include the East Michigan Council of Governments, the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy, the Partnership for Saginaw Bay Watershed, the Saginaw Bay Coastal Initiative, and the Planning & Zoning Center at MSU. Additional support is being provided by the DEQ and the Greening Institute at Michigan State University.

Sue Fortune, Executive Director of the East Michigan Council of Governments says, "There is a role for every organization and citizen to play in cleaning up the Watershed and the Bay, and many are already making a huge effort. This conference is a chance for us to network, and to identify strategies for moving forward in ways that would not have been possible without the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative."

The lessons learned from projects underway in the basin will likely be applicable in watersheds and communities throughout the state. Registration is only $25. For more information and a conference brochure visit: http://www.landpolicy.msu.edu/SaginawBayWatershedConference.


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