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Michigan High Waters Summit Launches High Water Action Team

Posted on February 11, 2020 by Dene Westbrook

Last week, the Michigan Municipal League joined state agencies, emergency managers, local governments at the Michigan High Waters Coordinating Summit in Lansing. The summit, convened by Gov. Whitmer and the Department of Great Lakes Energy and Environment, addressed the current high waters crisis and both provided education on the climate events contributing to high water damages and shoreline erosion.

City Manager of Pat McGinnis joined League staffer, Herasanna Richards for the day-long summit that included presentations from EGLE, US Army Corp of Engineers, National Weather Service, MSP Emergency Management and

During the Summit, EGLE announced the launch of the Michigan High Water Action Team. This body will be charged with identifying resources available to local communities as well as streamlining communications between various agencies and levels of state government. Details on who exactly will make up the Action Team are forthcoming, but local town halls are being scheduled throughout the state in an effort better engage impacted residents.

Additionally at the Summit, representatives from the Michigan Department of Transportation and Department of Natural Resources acknowledged that the financial impact of the damages from high waters and shoreline erosion is already significant. The state’s estimated cost of damages has already surmounted over $100 million dollars – not including the financial impact to municipal infrastructure.

The Summit followed Gov. Whitmer’s budget presentation where $40 million was proposed to address shoreline protection, planning, and infrastructure. While helpful, these funds are unavailable until Oct 2020, leaving communities with limited financial relief long after the spring thaw.

The League has been continuing our work to raise awareness among lawmakers in Lansing. We have continued to gather cost estimates from our communities and share with legislations the $45 million dollar impact on public infrastructure and municipal assets.

See presentations from the Summit here:

High Water Summit_Michigan State Police_emergency declarations_Feb 2020

High Water Summit_Army Corps_Lake levels basics and current Great Lakes forecasts_Feb 2020

High Water Summit_National Weather Service_precipation_storms_river flows_Feb 2020

Herasanna Richards is a legislative associate handling energy, environmental, elections, and external municipal services for the League. She can be reached at hrichards@mml.org or 517-908-0309.

 

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