Water Unpollution: Example #3 Why TE/TA is Important
In late January, some members of the Michigan legislature expressed their opinion that the state's transportation funds should exclusively go towards road repair, putting in jeopardy transportation alternative and enhancement projects, which currently receive a majority of their funding from the general transportation bucket.
To build awareness and advocacy, Let's Save Michigan will be posting examples of past transportation alternative and enhancement projects in Michigan to show how important such projects are to our communities. One such projects is the Saginaw Bay Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Program.
"The Saginaw Bay and its watershed are not as healthy as they once were." When the Great Lakes Basin Program and its partners initiated the Saginaw Bay Soil and Erosion and Sedimentation Control Program, it was to protect and improve the water quality of Saginaw Bay.
The Saginaw Bay Watershed is home to about 1.4 million people and consists of over 175 inland lakes and about 7,000 miles of rivers and tributaries. From irrigation to drinking water to electrical power generation, the Bay acts as a major source of water for farms, industry, and residents. However, exposure to construction sites, agricultural fields, lawns and urban areas has introduced unhealthy amounts of nutrients, sediments and toxic substances into the Bay.
In 1993, the program received a three year grant, allocating $600,000 annually to controlling and reducing sedimentation from the surrounding wetlands. Considered the most important and successful program of the Saginaw Bay Watershed initiative, the Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Program has funded 49 separate soil erosion and sedimentation control grants, providing assistance to more than 4,000 farmers on nearly 100,000 acres in the watershed. Through pollutant reductions, over 287,370 tons of soil have been saved and more than 57 wetlands restored.
The Saginaw Bay Soil Erosion and Control Program is still championed as a great example of a federal/state/local partnership, and, by us here at Let's Save Michigan, an incredible allotment of trasnportation alternative funds.
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