Restoration Amid a Pandemic.

The past three months have been a whirlwind for us all. As somebody observing the PFAS crisis as an outsider, it has been a challenge to remind myself that much like the virus obstructing our lives, PFAS does not operate on our work schedule. The month of March was one of adjustment. Adjusting to the new virtual layout that allows the CAG to continue functioning. 

But running with the new Zoom video call meeting format, in April we continued to see updates from EGLE and the EPA. Both of the agencies continue to work in the area. At the April CAG meeting, we were given a presentation by EGLE’s Karen Vorce and Mark Worrall on the Wolven-Jewell source area, which is much more geologically complex than House Street or the Tannery sites making it more difficult to track the plume from it. 

The EPA shared updates on the restoration of the White Pine Trail, noting that the restoration will continue despite Governor Whitmer’s Stay Home Stay Safe order. The CAG reviewed the restoration plan, a discussion that had been planned for the cancelled March meeting. The specifics laid out in that plan (available on both the CAG website and EGLE’s) are not set in stone, so to speak, and the plant selection may be limited due to the pandemic. However, all plants chosen will still be native Michigan plants, and the trail is expected to be usable again in 1-2 months. It may not feel like a lot, but having a reminder that work is still being done to deal with the PFAS crisis is something I believe a lot of us needed to nurture our morale.

Also, please tune in this Thursday at 6:00pm (5/21/2020) to hear updates on the Department of Health and Human Services public health study, EGLE’s consent decree projects, and the water system in Plainfield Township.

Andrew Fishback, West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) Water Fellow