Comments concerning
Draft resolution appears below (scroll down).

Bill Hanson, Washtenaw Land Trust wrote: wrote:

  Thanks for your very kind note. I share your strong interest in planning based on creeksheds and environmental systems. I hope we can move that ball ahead together!


Karen Hart, Planning Director, City of Ann Arbor--statement below.

Subject:  RE: Creekshed resolution draft
Date:  Mon, 2 Jun 2003 16:09:53 -0400
From:  "Hart, Karen" <>
To:  "'Sandra Arlinghaus'" <>

Very good. I may be mistaken, but I don't think Council directed the NFOC to
prepare a NF master plan; I think the NFOC took that upon themselves.

Planning Director
City of Ann Arbor, Michigan
Phone: 734-994-2800
Fax: 734-994-2798

Chris Graham, NFOC--statement of strong support at the last Environmental Commission meeting.

Jesse Gordon, Mallett's Creek--statement of strong support at the last Environmental Commission meeting.

Gwen Nystuen, NFOC--inclusion of a related statement in Natural Features Master Plan.

Subject:  Changes in the June DRAFT NFPlan
Date:  Fri, 13 Jun 2003 03:48:49 -0400
From:  Gwen Nystuen <>
     To:, "Chris Graham <> Parma Yarkin" <>, Kim Waldo <>,
        Margie Teall <>, Mary Borkowski <>, Warren Attarian <>,
        Wendy Carman <>, Sandra Arlinghaus <>

Hello All,
I did find a copy of our 1994 charge from Council along with the 1994 letter from Heidi to Council. It is included as Section II.

The following modifications were made at the last meeting to respond to Chris and Sandy regarding creekshed-based planning, and climatic change,
diversity and control of invasive species. New language is underlined.

1) The following additions directed to creekshed-based planning;

We have incorporated creekshed planning as one of the first items in the Executive Summary and in section V. General Description and Protection Measures
primary goals, and also added it as a strategy under the Huron River and Its Tributaries. We have included map information on the location of the watersheds.

In Executive Summary under Huron River and Tributaries:

     1) Work with local and regional partners to implement creekshed-based planning, environmental analysis and coordinated programs to protect the
     Huron River.

In section V. General Description and Protection Measures primary goals:
1. Water Quality: Work with local and regional partners to implement creekshed-based planning, environmental analysis and coordinated programs to
protect the Huron River. Greatly diminish the quantities of pollutants, nutrients, and sediments reaching the Huron River.  Eliminate sewage line overflows to
the River in storm events.  Greatly reduce erosion of banks in each of the City’s tributary waterways.  Greatly increase the number and effectiveness of storm
water storage facilities/flood capacity, throughout the City.  Increase the opportunities for storm water to infiltrate soils.  Work with neighboring River
communities to accomplish similar efforts.  Solve the Allen’s Creek flooding problem.

2) Addtions regarding climatic change, diversity and invasives:
We have added to the Executive Summary under Native Plant and Animal Ecosystems

     2) Plant landscapes to reflect the rich biodiversity of the native landscape to protect against disease, and periods of flood, drought or unusual periods of
     prolonged high or low average temperatures.
     4) Expand programs to control invasive species.

We have added to section V. General Description and Protection Measures primary goals:
8. Climate Change:  Work to anticipate the impacts of a changing climate on the City’s important natural features, and take sensible action to mitigate those
effects. Increase the diversity and distribution of native plants that are adapted to the extremes of climate of the region. Continue membership in the
International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives and other regional planning agencies that are developing strategies to respond to drought, flood,
severe storms and other unusual climate.

Under Native Plants and Animals have added under Goals:
5. Reduce invasive species.
6. Increase the diversity and distribution of native plants that are adapted to the extremes of climate of the region.

And under Strategies:
5. Plant landscapes to reflect the rich biodiversity of the native landscape to protect against disease, and periods of flood, drought, severe storms or unusual
periods of prolonged high or low average temperatures.
6. Expand programs to control or reduce invasive species and coordinate programs with other public and private organizations.

Parma and Margie are getting copies to everyone.


Janice Bobrin, Washtenaw County Drain Commissioner--copy of letter below (obtained from Tony Vanderworp, Washtenaw County).

April 4, 2003

Senator Liz Brater
District 18
510 Farnum Building
PO Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

Representative Chris Kolb
District 53
S0987 House Office Building
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909-7514

Dear Senator Brater and Representative Kolb,

The Michigan Land Use Leadership Council has been given the opportunity to advise the Governor and the Legislature on a cooperative, common sense approach to land use in Michigan. I fully support the role of the Council, and I would like to thank Senator Brater and Representative Kolb for this opportunity to comment on this critical and timely issue. The focus of my remarks pertains to land use planning from a water resource protection perspective. Washtenaw County will be providing more comprehensive comments to the Council at a future date through our Department of Planning and Environment.

In identifying trends, causes, and consequences of unmanaged growth and the solutions to this staggering problem, there will be a number of challenges to address. Among these are urban revitalization, agricultural land preservation, transportation policy and intergovernmental coordination. At the very onset of this effort, I would like to emphasize that the future health and integrity of Michigan’s water resources are dependent on the land use decisions we make today.

Land use and water resource protection cannot be separated. The way in which the land within a watershed is developed and managed essentially defines the health of its waterways. For this reason, the case for integrated land use planning – for changing the way we currently do business – can be made most cogently from the water resources protection perspective.

Watershed management, by definition, requires coordination of land use planning, development standards, and resource protection strategies and standards across community and political boundaries. Traditional fragmented regulatory and management programs simply have not worked; waterways are complex systems that must be managed through comprehensive ecological approaches.

Unfortunately, under out current structure, land use decisions and water resource protection decisions are made independently by different units of government and agencies, and at different levels of government. In order to achieve watershed planning and management in Michigan, communities must have enhanced legal tools, expanded and more accessible technical information, and education about fundamental watershed management concepts. In addition, new working relationships will be required, not only across community boundaries, but also among state, regional and local agencies.

In this light, I would like to offer the following recommendations:

1. Legislative Enabling Authority for Watershed Planning and Management
Current enabling legislation for watershed organizations is relatively weak and limiting.  Watershed plans are often prepared with grant funds, have no basis in law, and no funding mechanism for implementation.  Legislation that provides both a process and a funding mechanism for watershed planning and plan implementation does not exist.  This is a gap that must be filled if Michigan is to achieve long-term protection of high quality waterways and restoration of impaired systems.

House Bill 6131, introduced by Representative Kolb in the last legislative session, and originally proposed as part of a set of comprehensive amendments to Michigan’s Drain Code, would fill this gap in the state’s enabling legislation.  The legislation includes requirements that all local governments in a defined watershed participate in development of plans and implementation strategies, and determination of allocation of costs. It further provides mechanisms for participation by all interest groups and the general public.

2. Economic Incentives for Watershed Planning and Management
In order to encourage local action for the creation of meaningful watershed organizations, a strong network of positive incentives and possibly sanctions should be enacted at the state and federal levels to promote and support watershed planning. Otherwise, citizens and local community leaders may be reluctant to pursue the creation of “another layer of government” with any significant authority.

I recommend that local governments’ participation in a watershed management initiative be a prerequisite to awarding any state-controlled funding that has land use ramifications.  Linking grant and low interest loan programs to participation in watershed planning would provide a strong incentive for local initiation of watershed plans and protection strategies, and participation in their implementation.

State administered financial assistance programs should ensure that aid is awarded consistent with local watershed plans. For example, state funding to assist local governments with the purchase of open-space recreational lands should be awarded based in part on the importance of the proposed site to its watershed. Priority should be given to sites that serve critical functions within a river system. Road improvements and community development funds should be directed away from areas where more intense development would be particularly deleterious (e.g. headwater and riparian areas). State-initiated projects and activities (construction of facilities, acquisition of lands, issuance of permits, etc.) also should be assessed from a watershed perspective. To achieve this watershed-based coordination of state programs and activities, an avenue that could be explored is a “State Watershed Coordination Act”, requiring that all state activities and award of funding be evaluated from watershed impact perspectives and be undertaken consistent with existing watershed plans.

3. Stormwater Management Authority
Currently, there is no mandate for stormwater management and runoff control in new development. Under the Land Division Act, the adequacy of stormwater management systems in proposed plats is reviewed by the county drain commissioner (or other designated authority) for consistency with county-adopted standards; however, no parallel requirements exist for other categories of development.

Locally administered stormwater management standards and review procedures should be developed and applied to all categories of land use. Such standards must go beyond flood control considerations to address both water quality and quantity management. This recommendation could be implemented by amendment to the Michigan Drain Code, Public Act 40 of 1956, or by stand-alone stormwater management legislation. Examples from other states are widely available.

4. Watershed Assessment and New Cost Sharing
Land use and development review procedures must be expanded in a way that fully accounts for the external costs of individual land use decision to an entire watershed. A process for the equitable distribution of the associated costs and benefits across watershed communities must be designed and implemented, so that further infrastructure improvement costs do not become the responsibility of the local governments and citizens long after the developer has left the scene.

Other necessary tools to ensure that costs and benefits are equitably allocated are mechanisms that will allow the cost of protecting critical areas in one community to be spread over other benefiting local governments. Approaches could include purchase of development rights by the watershed, and transfer of development rights across community boundaries within a watershed into areas where more intense development can be tolerated. These authorities should be included in any new enabling legislation for watershed organizations.

Recognizing that Michigan is a strong local home rule state, and local units of government will retain the right to make local planning decisions affecting their communities, specific authority to permit cross-jurisdictional watershed-based overlay zoning will enhance each community’s ability to protect critical water resources within the context of a broader watershed planning framework.

In conclusion, these enhanced legal tools, economic incentives and the prospect of an equitable distribution of the associated costs and benefits, are among a more comprehensive list of recommendations outlined in the report entitled Toward Integrated Land Use Planning: A Report to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, dated August 1996. They provide a framework to ensure that the long-term integrity of Michigan’s water resources is preserved. As stewards of twenty percent of the world’s fresh waters, this in an obligation we have not only for Michigan citizens, but to a much larger constituency.

I appreciate this opportunity to provide recommendations to ensure that future land use decision making in Michigan will more adequately protect and preserve the delicate resources that define the character of our state. I thank you again for the opportunity to comment.

Very truly yours,

Janis A. Bobrin
Washtenaw County Drain Commissioner




Whereas: Whereas: Resolved: That the City of Ann Arbor Environmental Coordinator: Resolution submitted, by Sandra L. Arlinghaus, for action to the Environmental Commission of the City of Ann Arbor.
June, 2003.

Re: Creekshed resolution draft
Date:  Wed, 18 Jun 2003 17:24:47 -0400
From: Sandra Arlinghaus <>
Organization:  The University of Michigan
To: Jesse Gordon <>
References: 1 , 2

Hi Jesse, thanks much for the input.  Since this is coming from the
environmental commission, I think I'll stick with "environmental".  It comes up
again on June 26th before the entire commission for voting.
Bye, Sandy.

Jesse Gordon wrote:

> Thanks for sending this material. My preference would be for the word
> "environmental" to be omiitted from the first bullet of the resolved
> section. I'd like to see the Planning Dept. replace its current division of
> the city into areas by a division into creeksheds, and your second whereas
> justifies that.

Other comments were received on an earlier draft and these were discussed at the previous environmental commission meeting.  The item was left on the table for voting until the June 26 meeting to provide time to accumulate the comments above, particularly from the NFOC and from the WCDC.