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VOL 5 NO 5 - July 31, 2008


There is simply a lot going on, necessitating another FLG Update on the heels of July 18 edition.  Thank you for your support of FLG's activities on behalf of the Looking Glass River.

1.  LGR's Collapsed Storm Water Outflow, Opposite Riverside Park/City of

DeWitt City Administrator Brian Vick advises that he and the DPS director are checking the site daily, and that the City's engineering vendor C2AE is completing a repair plan that will be submitted to the MDEQ shortly.  JFNew's Scott Dierks (whom FLG supporters met during a 5.14.08 orientation slide show), is assisting by applying for the MDEQ permit to fill and stabilize the high bank.  The City is asking for bids from a select few construction firms given the tenuous nature of the site and the possibility of further sloughing / sliding of more of the bank into the river.  Vick said: "Let's face it - the only thing that could happen is that it could get worse (before fixing the site)".  Of course, he's right about that.  He repeated a likely total price range of approx $40K for the fix if things don't change drastically at the site.  That figure includes plans to dredge the tons of soils that slid into the river.  Vick said a site survey has been completed and access agreement with the private property owners will happen before the work begins - which will be as soon as the yet-selected engineering firm can get it scheduled.  He said to date, he's spent approximately 40 hours of work time on aftermath details of the collapse. Thanks Brian and the City for doing its best to repair and stabilize this high bank asap befoer more damage occurs. The slide occurred sometime between the evening of July 10 and early morning of July 12, and was discovered by FLG members during our trash clean-up of the river from Old 27 to DeWitt Twp's Riverside Park on Herbison Road.  Of historical note:  the steep site is litered with pieces of glass and metal as the bank was used historically as a disposal site, as was the practice in many communities in unenlightened years gone by.  FLG members last fall removed several hundred pounds of glass frags from the high bank just downstream of the slide site. 

2.  The MDEQ's Water Bureau July 2008 staff report titled:  "Biological and Water Chemistry Surveys of Selected Stations in the Looking Glass Rvier Watershed, Shiawassee and Clinton Counties, MI, July and August of 2007" is on the FLG website if you're in the mood for some interesting reading.  Note that is (currently)wrongfully labeled as the 319 grant final report - which is already on the site as well.  Site mgr Matthias Bell, if you could please make that correction?  This new study is the Water Bureau's 5-year routine study results - thanks Gloria for the heads up. Sorry for the mix-up. 

3.  DeWitt's Upcoming Riverside Park Bank Stabilization Project:
JFNew's Scott Dierks will supervise the construction company's efforts and will direct FLG, Millennium Garden Club and community volunteers in placing the rock and fiberous blanket and soil replacement work, as well as natural plantings to hold the bank from further erosion, which has been eroding at a fast rate in recent years.  The plan is to save the dozen and a half trees that sit on the south bank of the river that will continue to shade the water keeping temperatures cool in summer, to maintain a healthy park and river environment for acqauatic insects, animals and plant life, as well as for public recreation.  A late September start date is anticipated.  As soon as we learn the date, we'll pass it along to you.  Dozens of volunteers will be needed to help in this venture - many more than the FLG board members alone, so please make a committment to come out and help your DeWitt community preserve a natural beauty park while preserving the City's general budget in the process! 

4.  FRIEND Pete Chiaravalli wrote to say that he's very surprised by the weed growth in the FLG in July - considering there's more water than usual for this time of year.  He suggests notifying owners of riverfront property (residential, ag, commercial) that lawn and ag fertilizers find their way to the river, accelerating the weed, algae and other macrophytic growth.  Others have noticed the phenomenon too Pete - thanks for the note and suggestions.  You're right to be concerned.  Of course, the river carries seeds, roots and abundant plant life downstream daily.  If the LGR had much less mushy sedimentation and eroded soils built-up on her bed instead of its natural cobble / gravel / rocks and hard pack clay sutstraite composition, fewer macrophytes would find favorable rooting and spreading conditions in the LGR. Agricultural and development erosion / non-point source pollution have been positively identified as the no. 1 ecological problem for the LGR's water quality and general health.  Clearly FLG and her many cooperating municipalities in six counties, need to work hard to slow sedimentation.  If we could do that, we'd probably notice much less weed growth, fewer eroded sites, and a healthier river.  Phosphorous fertilizer bans are becoming very popular across the country.  Here are two links to newspaper columns with opposing views on the subject -- you decide.

Thank you Pete!

5.  FLG treasurer Larry Arbanas is recovering from open heart surgery -walking   mile a day or more, and yearning to get back in his kayak.  When he naps, a resurgent red squirrel and wood chuck population are on his mind instead of sheep grazing and loping over fences. 

6.  FLG board member Ione Berg has returned from a bodacious weekend in Windsor where she competed in international Chinese dragon boat competition.  She's a member of the Hot-Lanta team and this week her recovering arms feel like she flew there and back without a plane.  She and other big idea peoples are looking into bringing Chinese Dragon Boating to the Lansing area sometime in the future.

7.  If you happen to see a happily married couple on the LGR, sporting brand new kayaks with huge smiles, chances are it's Mike and Lynn Gray. Be sure to wave and congratulate them as the float bye -- or you could let loose with a volley of ice water filled water balloons...   Mike is an FLG board member - he and Misa Cady coordinated our recent FLG clean-up. 

Try to get out on the river's very calming and refreshing.  (I caught 7 fight-happy small mouth bass last Saturday in about a half hour within a few minutes of "Dinosaur Park" -- a great time. 

More later as it becomes available.

Bob Bishop
FLG Communications