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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Sand Dune Mining: Sargent Sand in Luddington

Sargent Sand has applied for a renewal of their sand dune mining permit in Ludington. It had been assumed that the mine would be closed and the site sold. The mine site has been the subject of negotiations for Michigan DNR to purchase some or all of the land from Sargent to enlarge Ludington State Park. It is reported that the parties are closer to an agreement than they have been in 30 years. But since the boom in fracking the price of fracking sand has dramatically increased and the mine lchanged from marginally profitable to a potential bonanza. Continue reading

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Denison Property – Saugatuck

More than 300 acres along Lake Michigan and the Kalamazoo River won’t see “McMansions,” said Brian Bosgraaf, president of Cottage Home, the Holland company buying the land owned by the estate of late Oklahoma natural gas tycoon Aubrey McClendon, as reported by The developers intend to build less than 60 homes in clusters and to leave sensitive dunes and wetlands on the property undeveloped.

We hope they do minimize the disturbance of the site.

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Opportunities to Volunteer and Learn

TNCfenOn ​Saturday, August 27 from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has scheduled a guided hike followed by a “work day” at ​Ross Coastal Plain Marsh Preserve.
​Conservancy scientist Shaun Howard will lead you on a guided hike as you learn what makes this preserve so special. Afterwards, join us as we work to clear the trails near the 38th Ave. entrance. Bring your lunch. We end the day at the wooded inland dunes, part of the preserve not often seen by visitors.
From Exit 7 on I-196 (US31) proceed west to the Blue Star Highway (A-2), and then travel north to CR-376. Turn right and travel just over a mile. The entrance will be on the left, across from Dune Lake Campground.


From Watervliet, MI: Take exit 41 off of I-94 and travel north on M-140 for 6.2 miles.
Turn left on CR-376 (44th Ave.) and travel 3.3 miles west to the preserve.

​Parking is limited. Use caution when parking alongside the road.
​Dress in comfortable clothing and wear hiking or walking shoes. Due to deer flies and mosquitoes, we recommend long sleeves and pants as well as a hat.
A light snack and beverage will be provided, but please bring your own lunch and water.
Pets are not allowed on TNC preserves. For further information on our preserve guidelines, please click here.

For more information or to RSVP please contact Christin Jones at TNC: 517-316-0300 ext. 2212 or

TNC will host another guided hike and work day on Saturday, September 24 from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Details to follow.

AN ADDED OPPORTUNITY: Consider joining TNC at Paw Paw Prairie Fen Preserve tomorrow August 20, September 17, and October 15 from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. to help restore the upland prairie

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TNC Schedules Birding Hike at Ross Preserve

RossPondEdgesAs part of its first ever Ross Preserve Fall Fest, The Nature Conservancy has planned a birding walk from 9AM to noon on Saturday, September 12. A naturalist will guide the group, help spot and identify birds, and answer questions about this unique coastal plain habitat.

Space is limited so reserve your place by September 10.

For additional information including: how to register and directions to the starting point for the hike see the announcement at the TNC website.

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White River Township – Agreement Reached

We have supported and reported on the battle of White River township to preserve a two-hundred-foot wide lot on Lake Michigan. A developer has been trying to initiate development of a lot in a critical dune area adjacent to the township’s Barrier Dune Sanctuary. The lot can only be accessed by a quarter-mile easement through the protected land.


A long and expensive court battle would be necessary to determine the conditions on the easement: whether a easement even exists; whether a paved road or only a footpath is allowed; where is it; what limits on use exist.

In May 2013 the DEQ rejected the developer’s permit application and ruled that the access was a “road”, not a “driveway”. Therefore, it is not eligible for the exemptions provided in the “sand dune law” for driveways. The developers could have appealed the ruling but instead chose in September 2013 to sue the township.

Eventually the parties entered into negotiations and in December 2014 reached an agreement that the developer would sell the land to the township providing the township paid $900,000 within 18 months. When the sale is completed the land will be incorporated into the Sanctuary. The settlement agreement effectively suspended the lawsuit.

The township has launched a campaign to raise funds to complete the purchase. The township has applied for a grant from the state’s Natural Resources Trust Fund and is seeking further funding from private and public sources.

The Land Conservancy of West Michigan is assisting in the effort. For a description of the land and the sanctuary visit their website. Don’t miss the video. And support their endeavor.

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