Today marked the 10th quarterly meeting for the Wetland Partnership project. Click here for a summary of the meeting. A meeting was held in the Prairie River Watershed with about 25 people in attendance. Rachel Smith compiled a mailing list using data from the wetland assessment. Matt had a computer set up so that landowners could actually see maps of their properties and the wetlands on each parcel. Some discussion was held concerning the Watershed Management Plan that will be developed by LaGrange County SWCD for the Fawn River and how the wetland assessments can be used to enhance the final plan. Joe Schmees encouraged the SWCD to make sure that critical wetland areas for preservation be listed in the plan.
Matt reported that the 9th quarterly report has been submitted to EPA. If the current timeline is followed, there are just two more quarters remaining in the grant, which would end in September. There is still money left in the grant possibly to do some additional outreach events. Matt talked with EPA and they sounded optimistic that an extension could be given on the grant. Matt sent an official request for a one year extension, which would allow for more time to use the remaining funds.
There was some additional discussion about the Prairie River Watershed wetland event. Rachel Smith sent out a post card, not a formal letter, as invitations to the meeting. Rachel did a couple of interviews promoting the meeting and the wetland project and there were some publicity articles in local newspapers. Four landowners, each owning at least 40 acres of land, were interested in knowing more about ways they can protect the wetlands on their properties. It was a successful event.
Geoff Cripe is working to hold three more outreach meetings this summer and fall. He is working with a committee in Cass and St. Joseph Counties. One meeting will be scheduled in the Dowagiac River Watershed/Berrien and Cass Counties.
Marcy Colclough did a presentation at the Calhoun County Conservation District’s Annual Meeting. Marcy has two meetings scheduled next week with local planning officials to begin discussing ways to use this wetland information in new planning ordinances, etc. One meeting will be held in Paw Paw, Michigan on Tuesday, April 30 and the other is scheduled for Thursday, May 2 in South Bend. The purpose of the meetings is to introduce the planning experts to the wetland project and discuss the strategy to use throughout the watershed. Some of the questions include where to hold future meetings; land use throughout the watershed; what options are available for protection and what are gaps that local units can fill with state regulations.
Our next meeting will be held on Thursday, August 22 2013 at 10:15 a.m. in the Three Rivers Public Library.
Having the data on line so that individuals and municipalities can access the information is crucial to the success of this project. The tables are available on line now without any explanation, but it will leave most people scratching their heads.
Establish next landowner meetings – Geoff Cripe
Continue with the municipal outreach strategy and bus tour