DEQ Hearing Saugatuck

On October 17, 2017, the DEQ Water Resources Division will hold a public hearing at the Saugatuck High School Auditorium at 6:30 pm with an informational Q & A session at 6:00 pm. The application and related documents can be reviewed at https://miwaters.deq.state.mi.us

This DEQ hearing will be one of most important hearings on enforcement of Michigan’s Natural Resource Environmental Protection Act (NREPA) in critical dune areas. Preserve the Dunes believes that the law is very clear on the issues.

The permit application (2R8-N9W4-J542) addresses NREPA parts 353 Sand Dunes Protection and Management and 301 Inland Lakes and Streams but ignores Part 637 Sand Mining which defines sand dune mining as “removal of sand from sand dune areas for commercial or industrial purposes” but allows removal of less than 3,000 tons. [637.01 (l)]. The developers are proposing construction of a boat basin/marina that will require removal of 241,750 cu yds of sand. That is 80+ times the allowable 3,000 tons. Clearly on the basis of the amount of sand to be removed, this is sand mining and may be subject to Part 637.

Then is the project being undertaken for a commercial purpose? The developer does not even suggest another purpose. They say the sand will not be sold as if that proves that removal does not have a commercial purpose. It does not.
Obviously, the marina is being developed primarily to make a profit on the sale or rental of the facilities. In the cover letter for transmitting the project documents the developer states “The goal of North Shore was, and is, to design, and build a world-class residential development that strikes the proper balance between economic return and preservation.” This is unquestionably a commercial enterprise and consequently sand removal in the planned quantities is by definition sand dune mining. However, it cannot be issued a sand dune mining permit because it is located in a critical dune area. [Sec. 63702(1).]

In conclusion, there are some good ideas for the design and planning of a marina, but the proposed sand removal is unlawful on this site. The DEQ must deny the permit application.

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Ross Preserve Tour

The Nature Conservancy has invited everyone to join this year’s Fall Treasure Hunt on Saturday, Oct. 14 from 9-11 a.m. at the Ross Coastal Plain Marsh Preserve, just south of South Haven.

Take a tour with Conservancy staff to learn the unique history of the Preserve as well as the habitats and species that live here. Expert scientists will explain how the Conservancy is working with partners to restore and protect Michigan’s iconic forests and dunes.

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Recovered!

After nearly 4 months of dealing with technical problems we have migrated the site to a new web hosting site (Bluehost.com). The site will be much more reliable and faster. We will work to get you back up to date.

Perhaps you noticed that the name of the site at the top of the page is now sosdunes.com. For the next month or so you can sign in using either sosdunes.org or sosdunes.com, but eventually only sosdunes.com will work and be up to date.

We are still the same not-for-profit organization as before. Only the site name has changed.

Thank you for your support!     Preserve the Dunes, Inc.

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Hearing in Saugatuck

Recently the Saugatuck Township Planning

Commission (PC) met to review two preliminary submittals from Cottage Home, LLC a real estate development company from Grand Rapids that purchased the McClendon land after his death. A schematic site plan for a Planned Unit Development (PUD) with 23 homes and the preliminary design for a Marina with 34 slips or docks were submitted. The PUD and marina would both be owned as condominiums.

The submittals were reviewed first by the commission, then a public hearing was held and finally the PC entered a business meeting session to make its decisions. In both cases the commission decided to table the discussion until the next meeting which will be held  on Wednesday, April 26 at 7:00 PM at the Saugatuck High School Cafeteria, 401 Elizabeth St, Saugatuck, MI 49453 (note date, time and place updated since original post).

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Hearing in Saugatuck

Saugatuck’s Planning Commission (PC) met to review two preliminary submittals from Cottage Home, LLC a real estate development company from Grand Rapids that purchased the McClendon land after his death. A schematic site plan for a Planned Unit Development (PUD) with 23 homes and the preliminary design for a Marina with 34 slips or docks were submitted. The PUD and marina would both be owned as condominiums.

The submittals were reviewed first by the commission, then a public hearing was held and finally the PC entered a business meeting session to make its decisions. In both cases the commission decided to table the discussion until the next meeting which will be held  on Wednesday, April 26 at 7:00 PM at the Saugatuck High School Cafeteria, 401 Elizabeth St, Saugatuck, MI 49453 (note date, time and place updated since original post).

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How You Dune

On May 7 & 8  join Michigan Environmental Council, Heart of the Lakes and WMEAC at the Freshwater Dune Summit. This first-time event welcomes outdoor adventurers, sand dune advocates, academic researchers and tourism professionals with a casual mix of recreation, information, and local food and beer, all in celebration of the beauty and value of our amazing natural asset.

The Summit is a chance to learn more about the dunes, connect with other people who research, advocate for, and promote their enjoyment, and get out and have some new dune adventures of your own. For more information, schedule and to register.

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Eradicate – Japanese Knotweed

The Van Buren Conservation District just held its second Japanese Knotweed Symposium. Presentations covered the identification, control, removal, and remediation of this persistent and tough invasive plant. Hopefully, the symposium will be repeated next year. In the meantime you can find some excellent information about this destructive pest and how to identify and manage it here.

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Palisades Nuclear Plant Closure Scheduled

Emtergy will close the Palisades nuclear power plant in 2018 in a December 8 press release as reported by MLive. “Entergy recognizes the consequences of a Palisades shutdown for our approximately 600 employees who have run the plant safely and reliably, and for the surrounding community, and we will work closely with both to provide support during the transition,” said Leo Denault, Entergy’s chairman and CEO, in the release.

The plant is located on the shore of Lake Michigan in Covert, Michigan and has been in operation since December 1971. There has been a history of safety problems, violations and shutdowns that have been increasing recent years. Neighbors and environmentalist have been concerned about the plant for years. It was under increased NRC oversight for the first three quarters of 2015 due to its failure to accurately calculate radiation doses to workers during an activity in 2014. Palisades is licensed by the NRC to operate through March 24, 2031.

For further information follow the link at the top of this report.

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