Bean Creek watershed marketing discussed 7.1.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

The Lenawee Conservation District office will create a marketing and educational brochure of the Bean Creek watershed and continue discussion about the possible formation of a watershed council.

In addition, the agency will create a list of best management practices (BMPs) to complete the requirements of a $10,000 grant received from Maumee Valley Resource Conservation and Development.

At a public meeting Thursday in Hudson, Judy Holcomb of the Lenawee Conservation District (LCD) said she is seeking ideas for points of interest to list on the brochure. She would like to see items such as parks, bridges, dams, cemeteries and historic markers.

The reverse side of the pamphlet would list historical events from the area, along with past and present prominent people.

Audience member Janet Kauffman of the Bean/Tiffin Watershed Coalition pointed out that the pamphlet appears to be more historical in nature than watershed-based.

County commissioner Rob Hall asked how the pamphlet would be distributed with the limited funds available.

“It sounds like once the money is gone, the project is over,” he said.

Holcomb said $1,000 would be allocated to printing the brochure and two copies would be given to each government unit in the county. A second brochure will feature BMPs and the remainder of the grant would support staff salaries for those involved in the project.

Hall wondered if the existing brochure created by the Bean/Tiffin Watershed Coalition would suffice since it highlights the watershed and natural features.

“The Bean Creek Coalition created a great pamphlet,” Holcomb said, but she noted that the creation of marketing materials was required in the grant.

She wants to put the word out to communities in the area to collect ideas that would help give someone not familiar with the watershed a good overview.

Kauffman suggested including pre-settlement maps that show the contrast to contemporary vegetation. Christie Cook, another coalition member, suggested including historic wetlands information. Natural streams could be shown on the map in one color, Kauffman said, and waterways under county control in another.

“People aren’t aware of natural streams and what the designation means,” she said. “We should have something in the brochure that generates interest in protecting Bean Creek.”

“We have our ideas, but we want your ideas, too,” said Kathlene Kurowicki of the LCD.

“It’s important to show that this is a public project,” said Tom Van Wagner of the LCD. “The District is only serving as a facilitator.”

The purpose of the grant is to determine if there’s interest in forming a watershed council. County drain commissioner Steve May will attend the July 16 meeting to outline the process of creating a council.

Forming and maintaining a council is a long-term, time-intensive commitment, Holcomb said. Van Wagner agreed, but added that status as a watershed council makes a group more competitive for grants.

After a discussion of the difficulty of  attracting volunteer help, Kurowicki said that DEQ approval of a watershed management plan could be sought without forming a council.

“You need to decide what you want to do in order to see what’s needed,” Holcomb said.

The public is invited to the next meeting scheduled in the Hudson Middle School gymnasium at 6:30 p.m. July 16.

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