Wetlands are valuable natural resources!!
We need them.
Swamps, marshes, bogs; these are
other names for wetlands. A wetland is defined as any land that has water-saturated soil for all or part of the year. My backyard is part wetland, and I love it. It attracts wildlife, and the native wetland plants are beautiful.
Did you know that wetlands are very important cleaning filters
for both surface water and groundwater? Removal of wetlands has contributed greatly to the problems we face today on the Thornapple River and tributaries.
clean Michigan's water.
- Slow water down, holding it for
slow release into a stream system. This prevents flooding and erosion.
- Physically trap sediments, reducing
turbidity and sediment pollution in streams, rivers, lakes and ponds.
- Absorb pollutants that are held in
solution, reducing water contamination.
Wetlands are some of Michigan's most
beautiful and most productive natural environments.
- Wetlands provide critical habitat and food for much of Michigan's wildlife.
- Some of the best hunting and fishing in the U.S. is available in
- The variety of plants and wildlife associated with wetlands
makes them beautiful and interesting places to be near for
housing and recreation.
The Wetlands Protection Act regulates construction activities in certain wetlands.
- A permit from the Department of Natural Resources is REQUIRED for filling, dredging, or
draining done for ANY occupation, development, or use of a wetland that is five acres or more in size.
- Fishing, hunting, farming, ranching, or logging (as long as stumps are not removed) in a wetland do not require a permit. Tree stump removal REQUIRES a permit.
- Selective cutting of vegetation may be done without a permit IF the cutting does not disturb the wetland soils.
- Cutting vegetation to ground level is the maximum amount of clearing that can be done in a wetland without a permit. (Of course, doing this destroys the valuable wildlife habitat and water-cleaning properties of the resource. Developers and landowners who routinely mow their wetland properties might want to consider that existing wetland vegetation and wildlife are often considered a desirable, economically valuable asset.)
- Construction on property that contains a wetland should be planned to avoid disturbance of the wetland.
- If it is unavoidable that a wetland area must be disturbed, then a permit must be
- The DNR determines and mandates the least environmentally
damaging method and the place of construction on the site,
if a permit is given.
One of the main reasons our streams, rivers
and lakes are deteriorating is because
wetlands are being removed from our watershed.
- Since Michigan was settled, Michigan's original 11 MILLION acres of wetlands has
been reduced to less than half that amount.
- Environmentally sound construction and residential land use planning are SELDOM
USED. If you think this isn't true, prove it. Developers only use practices they are forced to use, and only follow ordinances
that are enforced. Many townships in the Thornapple River watershed have no ordinances
in place to protect wetlands or riparian areas.
- Riparian landowners have little knowledge of the value of wetlands, and do not use best management practices (BMPs).
- Landowners who KNOW BMPs for wetlands choose not to follow them. (Sad, but true.)
- Many riparian landowners remove small to large wetlands without intervention by the Wetland Protection Act; the wetlands are either too small, or permits are never applied for and landowners don't get caught.
Ignorance is not bliss; Ignorance is EXPENSIVE. Would you rather keep a stream or river clean (it's free!), or pay to clean it up? Or consider this; you may be fined, because you messed it up. The costs of prevention are much less than the costs of mitigation (or litigation). Preserve wetlands in the Thornapple River watershed whenever possible.
If I am online, you can
click the image link below
and talk to me directly,
or send me an email. Try it!
Governer Engler's administration has made our once exemplary wetlands laws almost useless.
Have you heard of Rain Gardens?
Purple loosestrife is threatening our valuable wetlands!
Property Owner's Environmental Guidebook.