FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Brian Weber (989) 892-4356
Terry Miller (989) 450-8097
February 24, 2005
An effort to recruit the sports fishing community in the battle over Saginaw River and bay water quality has environmental group leadership pleased at the out pouring of concern.
Brian Weber, outreach worker for the Lone Tree Council, a watchdog group active on dioxin and other issues linked to bay water quality said today, "He couldn’t keep the pen in his hand, fisherman couldn’t sign up fast enough."
What they were signing was a petition to Governor Jennifer Granholm urging her to take a more forceful stand on plugging the sewage being dumped in area waters, more aggressive action on Dow’s cleanup of dioxin, and making a clear commitment to protecting coastal wetlands.
"There is an untapped reservoir of anger around the fish and water quality in the area," said Lone Tree Council chairman, Terry Miller. "The natural constituency is the sports fishing community, and Brian Weber has made that connection. It is clear that sportsmen are fed up with our waters being used as a toilet by both cities and corporations."
The Saginaw River Watershed is the largest in the state, twenty-two counties in part or whole. A butterfly shaped area covering 8,600 square miles. The Saginaw River itself is a turbid, 22-mile long waterway with four major tributaries – the Cass, Flint, Shiawassee, and Tittabawassee. And waters fouled by years of industrial use and combined sewage overflows.
Weber, a Bay City resident and long-time sports fisherman with three children has volunteered to work with the sports community. He has visited bait shops, gone out on the ice, and sat in angler meetings, and that was just the first week.
"I was told that five bait shops have closed up in Saginaw, and my own children call the river ‘sick’, that’s not the legacy I want to leave them," says Weber. "This area has so much economic potential with a clean river and bay, it’s a shame if we don’t invest in it."
The group’s goal is to have 700 hundred signatures to deliver to Gov. Granholm before the spring thaw and rains once more plague the river and bay with raw or partially treated sewage, and the threat of flooding spreads dioxin contaminated sediment both downriver into the bay and onto residential properties. At 430 signatures, that goal has passed the half-way mark, and the campaign just started last week.
"We live here, the river and bay are part of us, we need to be responsible, and that may mean we have to make some noise," said Weber. "The petition tells us there are a lot of people out there wanting to add their voices."
For groups wanting copies of the petition or information, contact Brian Weber at (989) 892-4356 or Terry Miller at (989) 686-6386