Click here to view event flyer. This meeting is FREE and refreshments will be offered. If you plan to attend, we appreciate your RSVP at (269) 324-1600. However, an RSVP is not required to attend.
The event is hosted by several local organizations to address opportunities for conserving critical wetlands to safeguard our regional water quality. The hosts include the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, Friends of the St. Joe River, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, Cass and Berrien Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Ducks Unlimited, MEANDRS and the St. Joseph River Basin Commission.
Over the last century, Michigan has lost over 50% of its wetlands. This trend is not unique to our region, and nationally we’ve experienced the impacts of wetland loss including increased flash floods, decreased water quality, and alarming threats to public health and safety. There is great national interest across the political spectrum to protect and enhance remaining wetland resources. Locally, we have studied Berrien and Cass Counties and developed a prioritization tool to focus our wetland conservation and restoration efforts where they are most needed to protect our water resources and provide wildlife habitat.
Why Is This Pertinent to You? This prioritization tool has utility for local governmental officials, local planners, drain officials, and conservation organizations. Understanding at a detail level the functions that a particular wetland serves is beneficial to long-range planning in many capacities. There are numerous existing conservation programs available to safeguard and restore these important resources. Many include valuable incentives for doing so. We invite you to join us for this forum to discuss the results of this intensive study, who can benefit from it, and corresponding programs and tax incentives for private landowners who own critical wetlands.
What is the Study? The study is an independent watershed assessment administered by the Friends of the St. Joe River that ranks wetlands throughout the larger St. Joseph River Watershed based on the significance of the functions they serve (for example, soil retention, floodwater storage, high quality amphibian habitat, etc.) These are functions that in turn protect our soil resources, our water quality and, ultimately, our livelihoods.