MWA 2017 Conference Abstracts 2017-10-29T18:01:43+00:00
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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27

Groundwater, Wetlands, and Geology:  The invisible links

Kenneth Bradbury, Director and State Geologist, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey

Although most people understand that wetlands are usually related to groundwater systems, these connections are often difficult to see. Why do wetlands occur where they do? Where does their water come from? How are they connected to the groundwater systems around them? Are they at risk from nearby groundwater extraction or other land-use changes? Hydrogeology helps answer these questions. Wisconsin’s geology, landscape, and climate are fundamental controls on the state’s groundwater flow systems, which in turn are intimately linked to wetland hydrology. Using examples from three decades of research in Wisconsin, Ken Bradbury will illustrate the invisible links between wetlands, groundwater, and geology.

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Policy Trends at EPA

W. Michael McDavit, Branch Chief, Program Development and Jurisdiction Branch, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Under EPA’s new leadership, we are taking a fresh look at the balance between federal and state or tribal roles and responsibilities in environmental protection. Cooperative federalism describes a partnership approach in which all levels of government work together to address mutual environmental problems, such as water quality concerns.  This presentation, drawing on cooperative federalism as a theme, will describe some of EPA’s top priority areas in the Office of Water, including the “waters of the US” rulemaking actions, the recommendations under consideration from the Assumable Waters Advisory Subcommittee report issued in June 2017, and other programs to help build state and tribal wetland programs.

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The Past, Present & Future of WOTUS: Maintaining or Draining the Swamps?

Stephen Samuels, Department of Justice (Retired)

In June 2015, in response to three Supreme Court decisions that had muddied the waters with respect to the scope of federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers promulgated the Clean Water Rule, which clarified what waters are protected under the Act, what waters are excluded, and what waters require case-specific analysis to determine their regulatory status. The rule was immediately challenged by more than 100 entities and was soon stayed by a federal court. Before litigation could be completed, the Trump Administration announced that it was rescinding the Clean Water Rule and would replace it with a new definition of “waters of the United States.” The future is far from certain.


TRACK I: Current Topics in Wetland Science

Michigan’s Vernal Pool Partnership

Garret Johnson, Michigan Nature Association

Vernal pools are shallow, seasonal wetlands that provide critical habitat for wildlife and help maintain healthy forest ecosystems.  Due to their small, isolated, and temporary nature, they are not well-protected under current wetland regulations, and also not well-studied or documented across the state. To better protect these environmentally sensitive and vulnerable wetlands, over 25 public and private organizations have come together to form the Michigan Vernal Pools Partnership.  The mission of the Partnership is to increase awareness, understanding and protection of vernal pools through conservation, research and mapping, education, and collaboration.  Information about the Partnership and how you can get involved will be provided.

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Citizen Science and the Vernal Pool Patrol

Daria Hyde, Michigan Natural Feature Inventory

MNFI is enlisting the help of citizen scientists and local community partners to map, monitor, and collect information about vernal pools. The Vernal Pool Patrol program is a statewide, citizen science-based program primarily for middle and high school educators and students to get involved with vernal pool mapping and monitoring in their community. Students visit a vernal pool in the fall and spring, and collect data on the vernal pool and associated plants and animals. Students learn about these important wetland ecosystems, and collect data that contributes to a statewide vernal pool database that helps land managers, scientists, and the public better understand and protect Michigan’s vernal pools.

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Inventorying and Mapping Vernal Pools in Michigan


Yu Man Lee, Michigan Natural Features Inventory
Laura Bourgeau-Chavez, Michigan Tech Research Institute
Michael Battaglia, Michigan Tech Research Institute

Vernal pools are small, temporary wetlands that are important to the biodiversity and health of Michigan’s forests.  They can be difficult to identify, and little information is available on their status and distribution in the state.  Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Michigan Tech Research Institute, and other partners have been identifying and mapping vernal pools using remote sensing and/or field surveys. These efforts have included investigating the use of satellite radar and LiDAR data to map potential vernal pools.  A statewide vernal pool database has been developed to compile and provide information on the locations and ecological characteristics of vernal pools to help inform and prioritize conservation and management efforts.

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Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring Program: Seven Years of Implementation

Don Uzarski, Central Michigan University

Since European settlement, over 50% of coastal wetlands have been lost in the Laurentian Great Lakes basin, causing growing concern and increased monitoring by government agencies. For over a decade, monitoring efforts have focused on the development of regional and organism-specific measures. To facilitate collaboration and information sharing between public, private, and government agencies throughout the Great Lakes basin, we developed standardized methods and indicators used for assessing wetland condition. Using an ecosystem approach and a stratified random site selection process, birds, anurans, fish, macroinvertebrates, vegetation, and physico-chemical conditions were sampled in coastal wetlands of all five Great Lakes.

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Michigan’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program

Anne Garwood, MDEQ

Michigan’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment program aims to provide information to address diverse program issues at a variety of scales, from the status and trends of statewide wetland acreage to the detailed evaluation of individual wetland sites. The Michigan Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Strategy outlines goals and objectives for evaluating wetlands through Landscape Assessment, Rapid Assessment, and Intensive Assessment.  This presentation will also summarize past, current, and future monitoring efforts.

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National Wetland Condition Assessment

Amy Berry, MDEQ

Michigan participates in the National Wetland Condition Assessment (NWCA) implemented by EPA that utilizes a series of Aquatic Resource Surveys designed to assess the status of and changes in quality of the nation’s coastal waters, lakes and reservoirs, rivers and streams, and wetlands. This presentation will discuss the 2011 NWCA report and Michigan’s participation in the 2016 wetland assessment field survey, including a summary of methods and protocol.

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TRACK II: Protecting Michigan’s Wetlands, Lakes and Streams

Michigan’s 404 Program

Kim Fish, MDEQ

Discussion of the current status of Michigan’s 404 program, some priority issues for Michigan’s Resources Programs and how Michigan’s programs maybe impacted by changes to the federal Waters of the US rule.

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Collaborating with Partners

Amy Berry, MDEQ

Michigan’s Wetlands, Lakes and Streams Program is unique compared to other states in that it is authorized to administer Section 404 of the Federal Clean Water Act through state law. This allows for better collaboration with stakeholders and partners at a local level. This presentation will discuss an update on collaboration efforts that Michigan’s Section 404 Program has had with Partners to try to establish a more effective permitting process for some of Michigan’s unique interest groups while maintaining consistency with federal law.

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Mitigation and Mitigation Banking

Michael Pennington, MDEQ

This presentation will provide on update on the status of wetland mitigation and banking in Michigan.  Highlights will include current trends in private wetland banking, discussion of MDEQ’s Wetland Mitigation Banking (WMBF)Banking Grant and Loan Program, and expansion of MDEQ’s Mitigation Toolbox.

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US Environmental Protection Agency Updates

Melanie Burdick, US EPA Region V

Recently, EPA has made decisions that impact Michigan’s wetland program.  Specifically, EPA finalized its review of Michigan’s Public Act 98 wetland program changes.  Nationwide, EPA is continuing its focus on monitoring and assessment.  Additional efforts are going into developing effective approaches to better assess and achieve successful wetland and stream compensatory mitigation.

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Update

Charlie Simon, United States Army Corps of Engineers

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Update

Jessica Pruden, United States Fish and Wildlife Service

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TRACK III: Wetland Restoration and Stewardship

Introduction to Wild Rice in Michigan

Barb Barton, Michigan Department of Transportation

Prior to European occupation, vast wild rice beds were found along some of the Great Lakes shorelines along with smaller beds on inland lakes and streams. Drastic changes to the landscape resulted in the complete loss of our largest beds and a serious decline in the remaining inland beds. Wild rice was an important part of Michigan’s ecological landscape yet has been absent in most current wetland restoration efforts. The tide is slowly turning today as Tribal and non-Tribal people are working together to bring back wild rice to Michigan and Indian country.

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Wild Rice Restoration Case Study

Roger LaBine, Water Resource Technician, Lac Vieux Desert Environmental Department

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Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Manoomin Program

Allison Smart, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians

An overview of the restoration and research performed by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians since 2000.

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The Importance of Utilizing Amphibian and Reptile Data to Protect and Restore Michigan Wetlands

David Mifsud, Herpetological Resource and Management, LLC

Amphibians and reptiles are critical components of healthy, functioning wetland systems.  They fill critical niche ecosystem roles as biological indicators, providing a metric for evaluating overall habitat health.  Their current presence and distribution on a landscape as well as long term population trends can be used as a tool to identify prioritization within wetland communities for protection and restoration.  This presentation will discuss the importance of herpetofauna focused databases, like the Michigan Herp Atlas or Natural Heritage Database, for tracking amphibian and reptile occurrences and integrating this information with other assessment tools (such as MiWaters) for better determining wetland condition and health.

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Assessing macroinvertebrates and habitat to develop restoration baselines and recommendations

Larissa Herrera, Holland Engineering

The Waukegan Harbor CAG requested a benthic assessment of a first order stream and a dune and swale complex adjacent to Lake Michigan. This provided a baseline of aquatic macroinvertebrate data, determined the biological integrity of the stream/swales, and a provided baseline for restoration recommendations. Aquatic macroinvertebrates were sampled following the IEPA 20-jab multi-habitat method. This assessment indicated that sediment loading, lack of in-stream habitat, and high algae concentrations resulted in reduced biological integrity and biotic diversity. Habitat recommendations included bank stabilization to reduce sediment loading, the addition of woody debris and vegetation to improve in-stream habitat, and planting of macrophytes.

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Influence of Wetland Issues on Remediation of Contaminated Sites

Keith Tollenaere, Golder Associates Inc.
Joseph Mion, Golder Associates Inc.
Brian Huebner, Golder Associates Inc.

Remediation of contaminated sites can be a complex long-term process. Wetlands occurring on, or affected by, such sites may play a variety of roles in the assessment, remediation, and mitigation of the contaminant source(s). Wetlands may be assessed as impacted ecological resources or  receptors, be major elements of permitting and mitigation actions, and used as functional elements of remediation treatment designs. The multi-faceted roles of wetlands in the ecological, engineering, and regulatory processes of remediating contaminated sites mandates the active involvement of wetland ecologists in all stages of remediation assessment, planning, and implementation.


THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28

TRACK I: Current Topics in Wetland Science

Using GIS for Better Project Screening and Evaluation

Chad Fizzell, MDEQ

With the release of MiWaters, Water Resources Division staff from the MDEQ are now relying on a GIS based screening tool to ensure coordination with all relevant state and federal partners and programs.  This talk will address the methodology, GIS layers utilized, and overall approach to screening projects spatially, introduced as part of the MIWaters rollout.

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Using New Technologies to Update the National Wetland Inventory

Chad Fizzell, MDEQ
Jeremy Jones, MDEQ

A pilot project was done in cooperation with Ducks Unlimited that utilizes a semi-automated, object based image analysis and segmentation process combined with heads-up digitization and photo interpretation to produce an updated National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) for Kent and Washtenaw Counties.  This process utilizes high resolution 4 band imagery and lidar-derived data as input to produce the new polygon areas.

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Using ESRI Collector Applications for Resource Inventories

Steve Roznowski, Spicer Group Inc.

We have used ArcGIS Collector to document, inventory, and inspect assets including drains, wetlands, and construction sites.  Through the development of these tools, we have been able to streamline the process of collecting information in a way that is not only efficient, but also provides data in a format that meets the client’s specific needs.  This can include databases, tables, maps, or photo reports.  This presentation will focus on some of the unique ways ArcGIS Collector can be used to develop resource inventories and manage data.

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Influence of Climate Change on Water Quantity in the Great Lakes Region


Brent Lofgren, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration

The amount of water in the Great Lakes and in nearby inland lakes, wetlands, and groundwater will likely be affected by climate change that includes warming of air temperatures over the next several decades and longer. However, the degree of certainty in the magnitude, and even the sign, of such changes is low because of two main factors: Climate change’s influence is more tenuous at local to regional scales than at global scale, and there is a large number of links in the chain of causality between greenhouse gases and water quantity. A major tool for projecting climate change is the global general circulation model (GCM), a computer program that simulates motion and physical processes in the atmosphere as well as land surfaces and oceans. Many climate modeling centers around the world have contributed the results from their own GCMs to the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5), and these can be used as inputs for the estimation of regional water resources. The many GCMs in the CMIP5 dataset yield different balances between changes in precipitation and evapotranspiration in the Great Lakes basin. Our results show a central tendency toward modest lowering of lake levels in the Great Lakes, but approximately 1/3 of the GCM results yielded rises in lake levels. Results for small lakes and wetlands in the region have not been calculated, but they are likely similar.

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Climate Change Adaptation Toolkit for Wetlands

Jennifer Buchanan, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council

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Wetland Climate Change Adaptation Case Study

Todd Ontl, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science
Contributors: Chris Swanston, Leslie Brandt, Stephen Handler, P. Danielle Shannon

The Adaptation Workbook assists managers in creating plans that enhance ecosystem adaptability while addressing site-specific management goals. Originally developed for forested systems, the Workbook is increasingly being used by wetland managers as climate change vulnerability assessments and the creation of adaptation strategies and approaches for wetlands are developed. More than 200 adaptation demonstration projects have been developed across many ownership types within the Midwest and Northeast through the Adaptation Workbook. This presentation will provide an overview of the resources that have been developed, including the Adaptation Workbook, and describe climate efforts in wetland ecosystems that are currently underway.

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Ecosystem Service Valuation for Wetland Restoration:  What it is, How to do it and Best Management Practices

Marla Stelk, Association of State Wetland Managers

The terms “functions” and “values” have been used to describe wetland ecosystem services for years, but few understand how to communicate functions and values in economic terms. Some wetland types produce commercial products such as shellfish and lumber, however many wetland benefits are not bought or sold on the market. Many have significant economic, cultural and social value but because there is no existing market for those benefits, their contributions to human and environmental health have historically been absent from policy and land use decisions, leading to a significant loss of wetlands nationwide. This presentation will describe what ecosystem service valuation is, methods used, case studies, and best practice recommendations.

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Wetland Restoration Case Study

Brian Majka, GEI Consultants of Michigan

To support the eventual delisting of the Muskegon Lake Area of Concern (AOC), GEI was contracted to develop ecological restoration plans to restore and hydrologically reconnect approximately 36 acres of wetlands to the Bear Creek, which flows into Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan. The property was formerly in agricultural production, where it had been farmed for celery for decades. The final project design included removal of over 150,000 cubic yards of soil to remove phosphorus while creating habitat. Approximately 1,600 linear feet of dikes were removed to allow hydrologic reconnection, and roughly 15,000 native plants and 100 logs, rootwads, and snags were installed to create additional wildlife habitat.

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Lessons from Moving Beyond Weed Control in Southeast Michigan Wetlands

Greg Norwood, Michigan DNR – Wildlife Division

This presentation will encourage managers to be more discerning about invasive species removal projects especially in developed areas and to better communicate to stake-holders about site-specific invader impacts, side-effects of treatment, and projected long-term outcomes. Detailed habitat management plans can over-emphasize the management of existing invaders in reaching some desired ecological condition while insufficiently describing what most matters to urban and suburban people and ecosystems. The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, one of only a few urban National Wildlife Refuges, has broadened the ways in which the public interact with its natural areas. In the last few years, a public deer hunting program was combined with invasive species removal which is key to meaningful ecological impacts. Other efforts include opportunities to teach and encourage sustainable foraging, outdoor skills like archery, and arts, all in an effort to help foster the basic environmental awareness and nature connection that is key to sustainable long-term conservation in metropolitan areas.

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Michigan’s Geology and Groundwater

Ralph Haefner, Michigan-Ohio Water Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey

The geology of Michigan includes a complex distribution of extremely old ore-bearing rocks in the Upper Peninsula, thick sequences of younger sedimentary rocks in the Lower Peninsula, and relatively young glacial deposits that blanket the entire state. Of greatest geologic importance to Michigan’s water resources is the glacial erosion of bedrock followed by the deposition of gravel, sand, and clay. Within these sediments, drainage characteristics define how water recharges shallow groundwater flow systems that provide water to wetlands and streams that are vital for ecosystem health. This presentation will decscribe the geology of Michigan and highlight how geology and groundwater resources are intimately related.

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Relationships Between Groundwater Movement and Wetlands

Steve Hamilton, Michigan State University

The relative importance of groundwater inputs to wetlands lying on Michigan’s glacial deposits explains much of the variation in wetland water quality, hydroperiod, and plant and animal life. This talk will summarize biophysical effects of groundwater inputs on wetlands including: 1) a tendency to stabilize seasonal and interannual variation in wetland hydrology; 2) making soil and water temperatures lower in summer and higher in winter; 3) maintaining saturated soils along sloping peat surfaces; 4) serving as an important source of nutrients (particularly nitrogen as nitrate); 5) creating conditions conducive to carbon dioxide limitation of aquatic photosynthesis; and 6) creating conditions conducive to precipitation of calcium carbonate.

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Long Term Groundwater Influences to Wetlands

Nate Fuller, Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy

Management of wetlands has traditionally focused on the quality of surface water inputs and invasive plant control. However, groundwater dependent natural communities such as prairie fens offer more complex challenges for conservation and management. Research related to a fen-dependent endangered butterfly, the Mitchell’s satyr, revealed that the groundwater supporting the habitats are often travelling long distances from multiple sources. The implications are that sites might be reacting to human activities decades earlier. It also highlights the vulnerability of these habitats to land uses that disrupt ground water flow potentially far from the site.

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TRACK II: Protecting Michigan’s Wetlands, Lakes and Streams

The Brent Run Landfill

Sam Prentice, GEI Consultants of Michigan

GEI staff spent four years developing a stream relocation design and securing permits in order to accommodate the expansion of an existing landfill in Montrose, Michigan. The project resulted in the relocation of 4,000 linear feet of Brent Run Creek, relocation of state-listed freshwater mussels, and creation of at least 26 acres of wetlands and 80 acre-feet of floodplain.

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Challenges of Construction a Wetland Mitigation Site Near an Airport

Todd Losee, Niswander Environmental
Ben Heerspink, Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway

As part of the Project Clarity initiative in the Macatawa Watershed, the Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway and Niswander Environmental constructed a 42-acre wetland mitigation bank in the city of Holland near the West Michigan Regional Airport.  During the DEQ review of the project, comments were received from the Airport, MDOT Aeronautics, and USDA Wildlife Services with concerns about a potential increase in wildlife, especially waterfowl, use of the site.  After significant agency review, a conditional permit was issued with requirements for wildlife monitoring and, if needed, wildlife control.  We will discuss the agency review process and monitoring and control efforts.

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Pine River Watershed Wetland Mitigation Bank Project

Stephen Metzer, DLZ Michigan, Inc.

The Pine River Watershed project is a 23-acre MDOT wetland mitigation bank near Petoskey. Site conditions dictated that the design develop creative solutions to solve the major constraints of groundwater depth, hydraulic gradient, and sandy soils with no confining clay layer. DLZ developed a unique solution that has since been used on other MDOT projects. An experimental white cedar regrowth study was also included, in cooperation with Michigan Tech. The wetland has been monitored by MDOT since construction in 2008 and the project is considered a major success. The presentation will describe the site conditions and design solutions implemented, as well as data from MDOT’s monitoring of construction and wetland development.

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The Evolving Role of Drain Commissioners

Stacy Hissong, Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes

An estimated 55,000 miles of designated drains can be found throughout Michigan, most of which are under the jurisdiction of county drain commissioners through the Michigan Drain Code. Please join attorney Stacy Hissong as she discusses the history of drainage and early drainage techniques in Michigan, and provides an overview of early drain statutes and the modern evolution of Michigan’s Drain Code. This baseline information will help inform a larger discussion on how drain management continues to evolve in Michigan and the direction in which it is headed now. By providing an understanding of where we came from, this session will help you to better understand what we have today and why.

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Environmental Perspectives on Water Management

Tom Zimnicki, Michigan Environmental Council

‘Environmentalists’ are often viewed as an adversary to drain commissioners, landowners, industry, and at times, state agencies. This perception limits the opportunities for collaboration on water management projects.  This session will highlight how the strategic implementation of constructed wetlands and regional detention may advance common goals of land managers and the environmental community. The presentation will also discuss the importance of planning for climate change and how improving water management capabilities today will build resiliency for tomorrow.

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Drains and Habitat: The Drain Resource Workgroup

Matthew Kowalski, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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Eastern Massassauga Rattlesnake

Yu Man Lee, Michigan Natural Features Inventory

The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake was listed as a federally threatened species in October 2016. It occurs in a variety of wetland habitats and adjacent open uplands throughout Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Because of its cryptic nature and extensive distribution in the state, this species has the potential to be impacted during project activities in wetlands and adjacent uplands. Information on the massasauga’s distribution and ecology will be presented to help you assess the potential for the species to be impacted by projects and how to avoid adverse impacts to the species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State also have developed a screening process and BMPs for evaluating and avoiding impacts to massasaugas from projects.

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State and Federally Listed Freshwater Mussels

Jessica Pruden, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Michigan mussel survey protocols provide project proponents with guidance to minimize impacts to mussel species that are currently identified as threatened or endangered by the State of Michigan or U.S. Government.

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Conservation of Rare Fen Insects

Daria Hyde, Natural Features Inventory

Prairie fens, coastal fens and northern fens provide habitat for numerous rare insect species including the federally endangered Mitchell’s satyr, poweshiek skipperling and Hine’s emerald dragonfly. Conservation of these and other rare fen insects requires a comprehensive conservation strategy for fens including protection of hydrology, minimizing degradation and fragmentation and maintenance of ecological processes. In addition, some rare fen insects may require captive rearing programs and establishment at suitable sites to prevent their extirpation.

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Improving the outcomes of stream alteration projects

Bethany Matousek,  MDEQ

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Stream Function and Floodplain Connectivity

Ralph Reznick, , MDEQ

When stream channels are deepened either due to erosion caused by watershed changes or by channelization to facilitate draining surrounding land they can become disconnected from their floodplain. This leads to erosion in the incised channel, increased flooding downstream, lowering of groundwater level, draining adjacent wetlands and a decrease in stream function.  Reconnecting a stream channel to its floodplain is the most important characteristic to address to increase stream function.  This talk will  define floodplain connectivity, how to determine the degree of floodplain connectivity necessary to maintain a healthy stream and techniques to restore it in order to increase or maintain stream function.

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Approaches to Restoring Floodplain Wetland Features on Incised Rivers

Rob Myllyoja, Stantec

Stream restoration has often focused on channel reconstruction in the past. We often strove to increase available aquatic habitat by improving stream morphology and in-stream features. More recently, we have begun to work not only in the channel, but on the floodplain as well. This talk will focus on the construction of floodplain oxbows, backwater, and wetland features as part of the restoration of incised channels.


TRACK III: Wetland Restoration and Stewardship

Michigan’s Invasive Species Program – A 5 year Perspective

Sarah LeSage, MDEQ

Michigan’s Invasive Species Program has experienced a surge of activity over the last 5 years.  Implementation of Michigan’s Aquatic Invasive Species State Management Plan, development of a draft Terrestrial State Management Plan, and establishment of the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program form program cornerstones.  Advancing Michigan’s Invasive Species Program goals to prevent, detect, and control invasive species is a challenge best met through collaboration and partnerships.   Here we highlight projects from the last 5 years with an emphasis on aquatic invasive species and discuss new directions and priorities including the continuation of Michigan’s Invasive Species Grant Program.

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Early Detection and Response and Monitoring and Surveying of Invasive Species

Tom Alwin, MDEQ

Learn about the monitoring and response efforts of the Michigan DEQ Aquatic Invasive Species Program for high priority aquatic invasive species.

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Decontamination and Wetland BMPs for Invasive Species

Anne Garwood, MDEQ

Preventing new introductions and limiting the dispersal of established invasive species is the most cost-effective approach to management. This presentation will outline best management practices for limiting the spread of invasive species for wetland projects, including decontamination techniques for wetland professionals and project planning recommendations.

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Restoring and Protecting Aquatic Plants in the Nearshore

Erick Elgin, Michigan State University Extension
Contributors: Julia Kirkwood, MDEQ, Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership

The residential development of lake shorelines has led to a dramatic decrease in aquatic plants (including emergent, floating-leaf, and submersed species) within the littoral zone of inland lakes. Often mistakenly considered nuisance weeds, native aquatic plants play an essential role in lake ecosystems and need protection and in some cases restoration. This presentation will describe ecosystem services that aquatic plants provide, the impacts of residential development on the aquatic plant community, and the subsequent impacts to shoreline function. Aquatic plant protection and restoration approaches will also be discussed.

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Fish and Wildlife Habitat Recommendations for the Shoreline

Joe Nohner, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Wetlands and natural shorelines directly provide habitat and indirectly improve habitat, benefitting fish and wildlife. Wetland plants in the riparian zones of lakes and rivers intercept nutrients, mitigating eutrophication that threatens fish populations. Wetland plants also provide structural habitat that acts as nurseries for fish and wildlife. Natural shorelines along wetlands and lakeshores also provide large woody debris as habitat. This presentation will summarize benefits of wetlands and natural shorelines to fish and wildlife, summarize resources available to professionals planning restoration and protection, and provide recommendations for managing these habitats to benefit fish and wildlife.

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Technical and Educational Resources for Restoring Natural Shorelines and Shallows:  The Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership

Julia Kirkwood, MDEQ

Did you know the biggest threat to MI inland lakes is overdevelopment of lakeshores?  Get updated on how the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership (MNSP), formed in 2008, is addressing this threat. Multiple programs and informational resources have been created for contractors, lakefront property owners and local governments related to healthy lakeshore management and erosion control techniques to protect Michigan’s inland lakes.

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Using BMPS for Improved Wetland Management Case Study: Utilities

Margaret O’Connor, Consumers Energy

Today’s presentation highlights construction techniques to minimize impact on wetlands during electric line and natural gas transmission projects. If you don’t know the difference between a road bore directional drill and a horizontal directional drill now is your chance to figure it out. This presentation is for those of you who like construction, large equipment including bulldozers, side booms and large backhoes and cranes, oh yes and lots of earth movement and disturbance.

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Using BMPS for Improved Wetland Management Case Study:  Forestry

Jim Ozenberger, Hiawatha National Forest Ecology Program

We will look at the BMP program that is applied on the Hiawatha National Forest.  This will include some brief background of the Forest Plan as well as some typical BMP practices that the Forest uses within mechanically harvest stands.  We will also look into the BMP monitoring program that Forest staff is using.

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Using BMPS for Improved Wetland Management Case Study:  Agriculture

Matt Meersman, St. Joseph River Basin Commission

This talk will discuss some of the strategies utilized by watershed groups and conservation entities to encourage the use of best management practices and targeted wetland restoration in the largely agricultural St. Joseph River Watershed. Some approaches that will be highlighted include the use of enhanced NWI and parcel data to improve wetland outreach, developing incentives and ranking criteria for wetland restoration as part of the USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program, and promoting the use of a drain assessment method that creates an incentive for protecting and restoring wetlands on farmland.

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Picking the Right Plants

Bill Schneider, Wildtype

Abstract forthcoming

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Site Preparation

Jerry Stewart, Native Connections

Selecting the right plants for a wetland projects can be challenging.  Bill will share his perspective and process of selecting plants for projects both from the perspective of consult and native plant producer.

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Site Management and Maintenance

Brian Majka, GEI Consultants of Michigan

This presentation will discuss natural area management and maintenance. All natural areas, especially restored ones, are subject to a variety of pressures that may jeopardize their success. This may include erosion, invasive plants, or impacts by human use. The presentation will discuss various techniques to manage restored and existing natural areas to maintain the long term biological integrity and functionality of the sites.


FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 29

TRACK I: Current Topics in Wetland Science

Green infrastructure for Surface Water Protection

Ralph Reznick, MDEQ

Green Infrastructure has had multiple definitions as well as other terms used to describe it such as low impact development or sustainable design. The use of the term in environmental protection generally refers to both landscape level and site-scale practices using natural mechanisms that work together to provide pollutant reduction, restore or preserve natural hydrologic response and provide habitat.  This talk will describe green infrastructure practices and how they can be applied to provide stream, lake and wetland protection, flood control and ground water recharge.

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Utilizing Stormwater Wetlands and Rain Gardens to Reduce Peak Flows to an Impaired Urban Stream

Sarah U’Ren, The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay

The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advocate for clean water in Grand Traverse Bay and protect and preserve the bay’s watershed. This presentation will highlight aspects of our Kids Creek Restoration Project, which focuses on installing green infrastructure techniques to reduce stormwater runoff to Kids Creek, an impaired urban stream on the west side of Traverse City. A stormwater wetland and rain gardens were installed in partnership with a local hospital, with another larger stormwater wetland planned at the end of a large stormdrain outlet. Funding for the Kids Creek Restoration Project to date totals more than $4.7 million from grants, local match, and private funding.

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Growing Sustainable Water Solutions

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TRACK II: Protecting Michigan’s Wetlands, Lakes and Streams

Wetland Resource Management: The Charter Township of West Blomfield, Michigan, A Local Enforcement Municipality

John T. Roda, West Bloomfield Township

Abstract forthcoming

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Collaborative Approaches in Stormwater Management

Carrie Rivette, City of Grand Rapids
Contributor: Bonnie Broadwater, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Municipalities in the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds under Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) regulations have been working together since the late 1990s in an effort to implement consistent regulations across the watershed.  In the applications for their 2016 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) MS4 permits, they made their biggest strides yet in a collaborative approach to stormwater regulation.  The new permit application emphasizes meeting all MDEQ requirements, including implementing the use of green infrastructure and infiltration to reduce the impacts to stormwater quality and quantity associated with development.

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Wetlands Protection, a Local Case Study

Invited

Abstract forthcoming


TRACK III: Wetland Restoration and Stewardship

I-75 Corridor Conservation Plan

Jeremie Wilson, Michigan Department of Transportation

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Working with Legislators

Bob Wilson, Michigan Trails and Greenways

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Wetland Restoration:  Contemporary Issues and Lessons Learned

Marla Stelk, Association of State Wetland Managers

Numerous studies have documented the shortcomings of wetland restoration projects to achieve stated goals. However, there is general agreement among restoration professionals that the science exists to achieve project goals and that restoration performance will improve if certain barriers are addressed. In 2013, the Association of State Wetland Managers began to identify some of the barriers and established a diverse national work group of 25 restoration experts to further identify and analyze these barriers and to develop recommendations to address them. This presentation will share the findings from the final project white paper and provide guidance for improving wetland restoration outcomes.

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CLOSING SESSION

The Future of Conservation in Michigan

Bob Wilson, Michigan Trails and Greenways

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Emerging Issues in Wetland Science

Don Uzarski, Central Michigan University

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The Future of Wetland Protection and Stewardship in Michigan

Partrick Doran, The Nature Conservancy

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