Ross Preserve Opportunities

Mud Lake – Ross Coastal Plain Marsh

On May 22 we posted information about The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC’s) volunteer program for the Ross Preserve in Covert. Preserve the Dunes supports this effort and encourages members and friends to volunteer. Volunteering will be an opportunity to see and learn about a variety of dune environments, have fun and contribute toward restoring one of Michigan’s natural places.

TNC will hold a second introductory meeting for interested persons who did not attend the first. It will be held on Friday, June 19 from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Sarett Nature Center:

2300 Benton Center Rd.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022

During the next three months, three work days are planned for selected Saturdays from 9 AM to 1 PM. The first will be on June 20.

TNC has prepared a one page briefing about the program. Click here.

For more information on Ross Preserve and other nearby opportunities to volunteer, visit the TNC website.

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Special Event

Ross Coastal Plain Marsh Preserve

Ancient sand dunes from the shores of postglacial Lake Nipissing created a mosaic of botanical communities on this beautiful and environmentally important 1,449-acre preserve, the most outstanding being three coastal plain marshes. These wet meadows occur in sandy basins along the shores of small lakes and ponds and harbor plants and animals ordinarily found in marshes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
The preserve contains wooded inland dunes, wetlands, small lakes and northern hardwood forests. The diverse flora includes eight species that are either endangered or rare, including globe-fruited seedbox, meadow beauty, appressed bog clubmoss (Lycopodiella subappressa) and netted nut-rush

The Nature Conservancy will host an introductory meeting for persons interested in volunteering at the Preserve. You can learn more about what the Preserve offers and the volunteer program by attendiing the event on June 4th at 7-8 p.m in the Edna Norris Classroom at the Sarett Nature Center at:

2300 Benton Center Rd.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Planned activities for the summer workdays will be presented, as well as tentative dates. TNC will also introduce its program to pilot a Volunteer Conservation Team that will work on the Preserve regularly throughout the summer months.

Southern Blue Flag at Ross Preserve

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House Bill 4540

State lawmakers are considering a bill to make location and condition of energy pipelines secret. House Bill 4540 would exempt information about existing and proposed energy infrastructure from disclosure under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.

This is supposed to be in the name of national security, but inspection records and other reports of the quality of the pipelines would also be hidden away from the eyes of concerned citizens and journalists, shielded by an exemption to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.

That does not bode well for the environment and is evidence of the legislature’s proclivity to eliminate oversight of operations of business and industry that can, and do, effect the health and welfare of citizens as did Enbridge’s leaking oil pipe under the Kalamazoo River. Continue reading

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No Ice Is Safe Ice

Two recent articles show why “no ice is safe ice.” Links are embedded below. Both are worth reading.

Last week a Huffington Posts blog by Tom Gill showcased the beauty and magnificence of shelf ice on Lake Michigan. The article explains how that beauty is produced and what are the dangers of the winter coasts on the Great Lakes.


An article on MLive Muskegon Chronicle contains further warnings about ice formations and also concludes that “no ice is safe ice.”

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Governor Snyder Vetoes SB78

Yesterday, Governor Rick Snyder came out in support of conservation and good science when he vetoed Senate Bill 78, which would have blocked state agencies from designating land to protect biodiversity. Continue reading

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Support for White River

The property adjacent to the White River Township Dunes Sanctuary has been under threat from development for 20 years. Three times a developer has applied for DEQ permit to develop the plot. Three times a permit has been denied.

In the most recent attempt, the developer proposed an access road across the sanctuary, but he was unable to comply with the requirements of the critical dunes law.

Continue reading

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Agreement Reached in White River

Last year the DEQ rejected G-Bro’s permit application to build an access road across the White River Critical Dunes Sanctuary to gain access to a landlocked property with 200 feet of lakefront.


G-Bro, a real estate developer, subsequently sued the township seeking an easement. The recent agreement puts further legal action on hold, and gives the township 18 months to raise $900,000 and buy the G-Pro property. The township plans to seek both private and public funding for the purchase.

Further information is available at

For history of the controversy search for “white River” in the box in the upper right corner of this page.

We will follow developments and keep you up-to-date.

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House Natural Resources Committee Approves SB78

Yesterday the natural resources committee approved Senate Bill
78. (See related posts.) It will proceed to a vote of the full House where it is expected to easily pass.

It is not too late to ask your representative to vote “no” on SB78 and to ask the governor to veto it if the House passes it.

Once again the House has demonstrated that only by electing legislators who value the natural environment and are committed to protecting it will the state’s natural resources be safe.

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