Grand Traverse Audubon Club

Natural River Act


We have signed on and endorsed the following letter with Michigan Land Institute:

Governor Jennifer Granholm
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, MI 48909

Dear Governor Granholm,

Michigan’s Natural River Act is a fundamental strategy for
safeguarding our waterways and the Great Lakes that they replenish.
Since the law was enacted 30 years ago it has successfully kept 14
streams clean, scenic, and full of fish for all residents to enjoy.

We respectfully request that you help to build on this record of
accomplishment and support designation of the Pine River and Upper
Manistee River as Michigan’s newest Natural Rivers.

Together, the Pine and Upper Manistee include more than 400 miles
of clean, fresh water for fishing, canoeing, and other activities for
outdoor enthusiasts. The two streams are tremendous public assets
and a key part of Northern Michigan’s economy and culture.

The two rivers, however, flow through nine different counties and
29 different townships and no coordinated plan currently exists across
these jurisdictions to manage future growth along the stream banks.
This leaves the Pine and Upper Manistee vulnerable to increasing
development pressure, which can degrade stream qualities and harm
fish and wildlife with erosion and pollution.

The draft Natural Rivers plan for the Pine and Upper Manistee will
help to avoid these problems. It works by enabling local citizens
and state government to come together and implement uniform zoning
rules throughout a river corridor. The primary goals are maintaining
shoreline trees and plants, and positioning new septic tanks and
buildings back from the river’s edge. These are basic strategies
for slowing erosion and limiting pollution.

The Department of Natural Resources will hold public hearings on
draft Natural Rivers plan beginning April 28, 2003. The department will
hold 12 meetings in all across the Lower Peninsula through May 8,
2003.During this time, we seek a public statement of support for
the designations from you and your administration.

As you pointed out during your successful campaign last year, the
DNR has not designated a natural river since 1988. We are grateful that
you expressed support for reviving this program during that
campaign. Your support for the new natural rivers plan will restore part of
Michigan’s conservation heritage.

Our water is our defining natural resource. And we must think
regionally about managing our watersheds. The Natural Rivers Act is
as a proven way to encourage better planning decisions and protect
clean and vibrant streams for all Michigan’s residents.


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