July 15, 1996

Jesse Gordon

	We are here representing an organization of Ann Arbor citizens
which has as its goal the rehabilitation of Mallett's Creek.  This
organization includes people who live and/or work throughout the creek's
drainage area, from Thornoaks Dr. at one end to the area between Scio
Chruch/Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. at the other end.
	Mallett's Creek, which was for a time known as the Pittsfield
Drain, and which was returned to its original name as a result of research
done by Erica Noel, then a Community High School student, is Ann Arbor's
longest stream.  It originates on the western edge of Ann Arbor, southwest
of I-94 near the intersection with Scio Church Road, and flows through
the entire southern portion all the way to the eastern edge of the city,
where it enters the Huron River through South Pond, north of E. Huron
River drive between Chalmers and Thornoaks Drives.  It courses through at
least two city parks, and though it is piped underground in a few places,
it also provides some very lovely natural beauty areas, recreation areas,
and habitat for a good deal of wildlife, on both public and private lands.
It is one of the Huron River's largest tributaries in this area, and thus
has a significant impact on the river.

	But Mallet's Creek is also a very troubled stream, and has already
greatly degraded South Pond.  Members of our group have been measuring the
stream for several years--its temperature, the sensitive life that can
live in it, and its water quality.  We are now having the water analyzed
for the presence of chemical pollutants, pro bono by NSF International.

	What we have learned so far is that it is the worst stream in this
area in terms of its capacity to support those creatures which are most
sensitive to pollution.  We have been counting samples of these creatures;
their population has declined noticeably in the last 3 years.  The
stream's electrical conductivity, which is an index of heavy metals in the
water, is extremely high, and well above the average for urban streams in
the Michigan lower peninsula.  The stream's temperature varies very
widely, unlike healthy streams which stay close to the 50 degrees of the
water table in this area.  Mallett's is also marked by extremes of surging
after rainfalls.  This surging erodes the stream's banks and delivers tons
of silt to South Pond, which has almost filled up since it was last
dredged.  In a few years, South Pond will have to be renamed South Swamp
if nothing is done to modify Mallett's Creek.  The surging also scours the
bottom of the stream, destroying habitat of many species and thus reducing
the stream's capacity for self-cleaning.  In the near future we will
compile the data we have collected, along with data collected in the
recent past by the DNR and the County Drain Commissioner, and make that
report availabe to you and to the public.

	Our group aims to reverse the deteriorating trend of Mallett's by
informing the public, by altering the creek to improve its ability to
cleanse itself, and by sharing our knowledge with public officials at the
city and couonty levels whose actions can contribute to Mallett's
rehabilitation.  It is in that spirit that we are here to introduce
ourselves this evening, and it is in that spirit that we offer ourselves
to the Planning Commission and to the Planning Department as a source of
technical information about Mallett's creek and the kinds of conditions
that affect it.  We therefore invite you, as a Commission, and individual
Commissioners, to call upon us when in the course of your work you deal
with issues which can have an impact on the quality of Mallett's creek,
and thus more ultimately on the quality of the Huron River.