by Paul J. Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director

MLSA participates in the Michigan Environmental Council‘s Quarterly Meeting of Stakeholders with the Water Resources Division (WRD) of Michigan’s EGLE (formerly DEQ). (NOTE: MLSA is a dues paying member of Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) to leverage action with other organizations who share similar mission critical objectives aligned with our mission and goals).

The meeting agenda was short, but MLSA was able to place two items on the agenda for discussion. We had follow-up questions about EGLE’s progress on improvements to the MIWaters permit processing and tracking database. We also had questions about the Michigan Invasive Species Program 2021 Annual Report which contained several substantive legislative recommendations for the control of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS).

The WRD said many of the desired improvements to MiWaters have not yet been implemented. However, WRD staff offered to help with a training session, via Zoom or the like, to help riparians access information in a more direct way. MLSA will work with WRD staff to arrange such a session in the coming months.

The WRD stated they are not permitted to lobby, so they have not prepared draft legislative language to support the recommendations. They also indicated they have not lined up any legislators to sponsor the recommendations as new legislation. Based on that information, MEC staff offered to partner with MLSA to develop draft legislative provisions aligned with the AIS recommendations. That effort will start in September 2022. As work progresses, we will need the help of all MLSA members to push for the needed changes. So, stand by!

MLSA will continue to participate in these periodic meetings and report key points in our monthly newsletter. Your input on what topics MLSA should attempt to place on future agendas is welcome.

It’s a Start, It’s about Time for AIS!