Jan 13, 2013

Join the Pooparazzi! * Help the State Manage Your Forests Wisely! * Move Michigan Beyond Natural Gas and Oil

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Michigan Chapter Update
January 13, 2013
In this Issue:
  • Join the Pooparazzi! Free CAFO Water Monitoring Webinars
  • Help the State Manage Your Forests Wisely!
  • How Green Were Your Legislators in 2012?
  • New Campaign Aims to Move Michigan Beyond Natural Gas and Oil
  • Are You an Armchair Activist?...Get Your Rear in Gear This Year!
  • Save 20% on Sierra Club Wall Calendars

 Join the Pooparazzi! Free CAFO Water Monitoring Webinars

One of the most important weapons we have in the fight against polluting animal factories, also known as CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), is the evidence our volunteers gather in waterways near these facilities. Concerned citizens who want to make a difference have helped us collect vital data on the levels of pathogens and bacteria that end up in rivers and streams when manure and waste runs off from farm fields, leaks from storage lagoons or is intentionally dumped. They also check for dissolved oxygen levels, which are lowered by excess nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, that contribute to fish kills.

If you'd like to learn more, we're offering two free introductory webinars conducted by Goldman Environmental Prize winner Lynn Henning (pictured left with a friend) on Tuesday, Jan 29, and Thursday, Jan 31, from 7-8 p.m.  To sign up email cecilia.garcia@sierraclub.org and specify the webinar date in the subject line. We'll send call-in details the week before the webinar. Questions? Contact cecilia.garcia@sierraclub.org or lynn.henning@sierraclub.org.

Help the State Manage Your Forests Wisely!

At four million acres, Michigan has the largest State Forest system in the country.  These lands, covering the UP and northern lower peninsula, are where everything from protection of endangered species to oil and gas development and logging to hiking and snowmobiling occur.  Over the next two months, the owners of these public lands, you and all other Michigan residents, have a critical opportunity to shape the long term management of these public lands.  If you care about clean water, recreation, restoring biodiversity, and assuring that our public resources are managed for future generations, not just to maximize private profits today, this is the time to speak up.
In 2008, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources released a plan for managing the nearly four million acres of state forest and then embarked on a regional planning process, one that looks at three eco-regions of the state: Northern Lower Peninsula, Eastern Upper Peninsula, and Western Upper Peninsula. These forest plans will address issues such as the desired number of acres per species, how many miles of snowmobile trails are appropriate, and whether there are duplications in recreational facilities. For details about the plans, click here.

The state needs to hear what you think about its plans for YOUR forests. It's soliciting input from the public through March 8. After reviewing the plans, send your comments and ideas toforestplancomments@michigan.gov or snail-mail them to: DNR Regional State Forest Management Plan Comments, Forest Resources Division, Forest Planning and Operations Section, P.O. Box 30452, Lansing, MI 48909-7952.
Join Sierra Club in providing input into the future management of your State Forests!  Find out more about Sierra Club's approach to sound management of our forests here.  Check upcoming Michigan Chapter Updates for more details on our comments.  For more info or assistance, email the Michigan Chapter's forest ecologist at marvin.roberson@sierraclub.org.

Capitol Dome
How Green Were Your Lawmakers in 2012?
Sierra Club Michigan Chapter just released its final scorecard for the 2011-2012 Michigan Legislature, which scores lawmakers based on their votes for or against environmental bills.Both chambers scored a failing grade, with the House receiving a 46% and the Senate with a 40%.
House and Senate Democrats generally voted to support environmental protections, scoring an average of 89%, while House and Senate Republicans voted to attack our environment repeatedly, scoring an average of only 24%. To find out how your individual lawmakers scored, click here.

Want to learn how you can help make sure lawmakers are more "green" in 2013? Emailmike.berkowitz@sierraclub.org to get involved!

State Excelsior Natural Gas Well, Kalkaska County
New Campaign Aims to Move  Michigan Beyond Natural Gas and Oil

With a new year unfolding, the Michigan Chapter is pleased to announce a new Beyond Natural Gas and Oil (BNGO) campaign to work towards moving our state away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and clean energy sources. Rita Chapman, longtime Water Sentinel, has transitioned to the lead staff role for the campaign, coordinating closely with MI-BNGO Committee Chair Nancy Shiffler.  Volunteers Craig Brainard (West Michigan Group), Jim Egged (Southeast Michigan Group), Charlie Weaver (Northern Michigan), and Dick Brown (Huron Valley Group), and many others, provide leadership and strategic input.
Already, the committee has begun a water monitoring project on the North Branch of the Manistee led by Charlie Weaver.  A new Writer's Club educates others about the topic through letters to the press and lawmakers, blogs, and essays, and several committee members routinely give presentations and movie showings.

In 2013, we'll work to limit the expansion of gas production and help show that natural gas is part of the problem - not the solution.  You can help.  Please email rita.chapman@sierraclub.orgor call 517-484-2372.

army.jpgDust off your duff and get active for the environment this year!
Are You an Armchair Activist? Get Your Rear in Gear This Year!

Are you an armchair activist? Take this survey and find outIf you spent more time on the couch than outdoors last year, now's the time to resolve to do better in 2013.
Sierra Club is here to help you stick to your New Year's resolution with a variety of activities around the state and opportunities to get involved in making real change for Michigan's environment.
Check out our website to learn more about our projects and how you can get involved.  Andplease consider supporting our work with a donation here.

Save over 20% on Sierra Club 2013 wall calendars!  Purchase price now just $10.  Get one before they're gone! Email Cecilia Garcia for details at cecilia.garcia@sierraclub.org or call 517-484-2372.

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Header photo Near Andrus Lake, Upper Michigan, by Beverly Wolf.

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