• Susan Poirier

Controversial bill rushed through Michigan Lame Duck would result in loss of birding and wildlife ha

Updated: Jan 7


Water protection remains on the front lines in Michigan. SB 1211, the ‘Wetlands Destruction Bill’ is a threat to 500,000 acres of wetlands and 4,500 inland lakes. SB 1211 passed the Michigan Senate on December 4 and could be voted on in the House early the week of December 17.

This bill could result in a loss of about one-half of the wetlands in every Michigan county and would remove protections for wetlands under ten acres, placing about 70,000 wetlands across the state at risk of being filled, dredged, or paved without environmental review.

Urgent calls are needed now to state representatives to oppose SB 1211 (Find your state representative here: http://house.michigan.gov/mhrpublic/frmFindaRep.aspx). Call Governor Snyder’s office at 517.335.7858 to urge a veto.

SB 1211 was introduced in the pre-holiday 2018 Lame Duck session by (R) Senator Tom Casperson on November 27. (Find out how your state senator voted: https://www.michiganvotes.org/Legislation.aspx?ID=182530).

Michigan has already lost 4.2 million acres of wetlands since the 1800’s, according to a 2015 report by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). (https://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/09/michigan_has_lost_about_42_mil.html). Michigan’s tourism and outdoor recreation—fishing, birding, canoeing, photography, hunting—is inherently tied to its lakes and wetlands. Over-development and fragmentation of habitat has placed an imminent priority to protect the fragile wetlands that still exist.

Wetlands of all acreage size support diverse species of birds, frogs, and toads including Michigan’s threatened Blanding’s turtle, eastern box turtle, Blanchard’s cricket frog, American bittern, black tern, and the short-eared owl. Wetlands support flood control and shoreline stability, two issues that climate change is exacerbating.

Organizations that oppose SB 1211 include Michigan Environmental Council, Ducks Unlimited, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Michigan Audubon, National Wildlife Federation, MUCC, and Trout Unlimited.

Sources

USFWS East Lansing Field Office. Birds of Conservation Concern in Michigan. March 2014. https://www.fws.gov/midwest/eastlansing/cpa/pdf/MichiganBirdsOfConcernMarch2014.pdf

Garret Ellison. Where Michigan Has Lost 4.2 Million Wetland Acres in the Past 200 Years. mLive. September 15, 2015. https://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/09/michigan_has_lost_about_42_mil.html

#MichiganLameDuck2018 #Michigan #birding #wildlife #wetlands #biodiversity #SB1211

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