From our friends at NCEC:
The Public Comment period for the upcoming Hardy Dam spillway work ends on January 1.
The proposed reconstruction includes destruction of an unnamed, prime cold water stream at the site, along with other environmental impacts to area wetlands and forests.
“Public Comments from area residents can have an impact on how Consumers Energy will remedy the destruction of woodlands that has already occurred, and the remediation of destroyed wetlands,” stated Sally Wagoner of the Newaygo County Environmental Coalition (NCEC).
Ms. Wagoner continued, “Public Comments must be very specific as far as residents’ concerns. When the issues are specific in the Comments, they must be considered by EGLE (Michigan’s Environment, Great Lakes & Energy Department) who issues the permit, and addressed by Consumers Energy.”
NCEC has identified three areas with local environmental groups that are being impacted by the spillway reconstruction, and what residents need to ask regarding remediation by Consumers Energy as part of the total project.
Community members are encouraged to include these specific concerns in their Public Comments:
1) The spillway project has already involved the deforestation of dozens of acres of pristine woodlands in the construction zone. The impact on wildlife and natural ecosystems has been devastating. Consumers Energy needs to provide a reforestation plan that would include the entire perimeter of the new spillway and all other affected areas.
2) The project has already involved the destruction of a very popular and scenic 4-mile loop hiking trail that meandered through the now destroyed forest. This was known as Hardy Rustic Trail, and was enjoyed by thousands of residents and visitors for decades. A replacement nature trail system needs to be constructed and maintained by Consumers Energy, including passive environmental education through educational signage, to mitigate the loss of this public trail asset as a condition of receiving a permit.
3) The project will also involve the destruction of a prime cold water stream at the site. Consumers Energy needs to provide a comprehensive plan for repair and restoration of the stream, its banks and surrounding wetlands affected as a condition of receiving a permit.
4) All environmental and habitat remediation must involve community input, as well as consultation and actual work by local native habitat restoration experts with historically successful projects, utilizing our local workforce. Remediation must also include consultation, education, input and project work by regional Indigenous and Tribal members with expertise and traditional knowledge in healthy regional habitats and their restoration. Remediation must also include collaboration with local environmental and recreational organizations as well as civic departments with the intent to engage with and provide educational opportunities and activities with community members, schools and youth. This collaboration will create positive relations with CE and inspire environmental care.
To submit your comments, copy and paste the above four concerns into the Comment Box at:
More information about the reconstruction project can be found at that site by clicking on the Details and Documents tabs. Or you can send your comments via email to Abigail Richmond: RichmondA3@michigan.gov.
According to Ms. Richmond, the Environmental Quality Analyst for this project and Public Comment at EGLE, feedback from the community is taken very seriously. Specific concerns about any environmental, recreational and financial impact of the Spillway Project will be taken back to Consumers Energy and must be addressed by them.
Due to the holidays ahead, comments that arrive a short time after January 1 will still be taken into consideration.
For more information about the proposed reconstruction of the spillway, contact Sally Wagoner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Newaygo County Environmental Coalition is a 501c3 non-profit whose mission is to support the beauty and sustainability of our local shared environment through information, education and advocacy. Follow Newaygo County Environmental Coalition on Facebook @NCEC2, and view more information at www.nc-ec.org.
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