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Plan will rehabilitate, protect thousands of acres in one of the state's most damaged watersheds

Tittibiwassee River
Tittibiwassee River

A restoration plan is close to being finalized for the Tittabawassee River, Saginaw River, and Saginaw Bay watershed.

John Riley is in the Water Resources Division of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).

He said the plan will help to compensate the public for the loss of natural habitats and recreation opportunities, due to decades of industrial activity and pollution linked to Dow Chemical and General Motors.

Riley says it will restore and preserve thousands of acres of wetlands and other natural habitats.

"So you're going to see an increase in waterfowl and other wildlife habitat, which is great for bird watching," he said. "There's going to be some new fishing access that doesn't exist now in certain places. There's a regional bike trail that adjoins some of the new lands. So it's going to be great for hunting, fishing, bird watching, all sorts of outdoor sports."

Funding comes from a nearly $6 million settlement with Dow Chemical and General Motors.

The proposed plan is open for public comment until March 27. Riley said restoration work will begin shortly after that.

The habitat restoration work is separate from Dow Chemical's efforts to clean up dioxin contamination that polluted a 50-mile stretch of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers and into Saginaw Bay downstream from Dow's Midland plant.

That work began in 2012 and is ongoing.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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