FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2016
Georgia Parham 812-334-4261 ext.1203
Open House to Initiate Public Review of the Draft Restoration Plan / Environmental Assessment for the Green Point Area Restoration Project - Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the availability of the Draft Restoration Plan / Environmental Assessment for the Green Point Area Restoration Project. The plan, which is available for public review and comment, is the subject of an open house to be held Tuesday, March 15, 2016, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Green Point Environmental Learning Center. The Service is now requesting input from the public regarding the proposed restoration and the alternative actions being considered.
In 1998, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the State of Michigan, and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan negotiated a settlement for natural resource damages with the General Motors Corporation, Bay City and the City of Saginaw. The settlement provided for substantial cleanup of contamination and for restoration of fish and wildlife habitats in the Saginaw River and Bay. As a result of the settlement, the refuge received two 99-year leases of the Green Point Environmental Learning Center and an associated 80 acres of riparian and upland habitats. Specific to the Learning Center, funds were provided to restore, rehabilitate, replace or acquire the equivalent of resources damaged as a result of prior contamination.
In May of 2014, the refuge acquired the former 135-acre Germania Town and Country Club (Germania) as a donation from The Nature Conservancy. Germania is located immediately north of the Tittabawassee River and borders the Learning Center to the north and west.
The Service is now considering alternatives to restore lands encompassing the Green Point Area, including the recently acquired Germania property. Historic land use within the Green Point Area has included logging of bottomland hardwood forests and subsequent conversion of these lands to rowcrop agriculture. Subsurface drainage for agriculture likely remains in-place.
More recently, the Germania property was maintained as a commercial golf course. This property is dominated by turf grasses, ornamental plantings and the infrastructure associated with these facilities. Non-native and invasive species, such as common buckthorn and garlic mustard, among others, now occur within the Green Point Area as well. As a consequence of prior land use, plant communities are not representative of the Great Lakes region. This is inconsistent with the goal of the refuge’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan of conserving native plants and wildlife and ensuring that the public has the opportunity to experience the services provided by native ecosystems.
The Restoration Plan / Environmental Assessment was developed to inform stakeholders and the public of the purpose and need for restoration, the alternative means by which restoration might be achieved, potential impacts of the various alternatives, and the ways in which the public may contribute to this analysis and the development of alternatives.
The public is invited to attend an open house on March 15, 2016, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Green Point Environmental Learning Center, where the Draft Restoration Plan will be introduced. The Environmental Learning Center is located at 3010 Maple St., Saginaw, MI 48602.
The public may submit comments on the Restoration Plan in writing or via e-mail to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service during the public comment period. Comments should be submitted to the Service no later than April 15, 2016. The Service will consider public comments in preparing and issuing a Final Restoration Plan / Environmental Assessment.
Comments regarding the Draft Restoration Plan / Environmental Assessment may be submitted via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org with “Green Point Comment” in the subject line, or by mail directed to the contact noted below.
Clark D. McCreedy
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
East Lansing Field Office
2651 Coolidge Road, Suite 101
East Lansing, MI 48823
Phone: (517) 351-8273
The Draft Restoration Plan / Environmental Assessment is available at the website of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/es/ec/nrda/SaginawNRDA/GreenPoint/
Paper copies of the Restoration Plan / Environmental Assessment are available by request.