Chelsea Renews Contract With Huron River Watershed Council

By Seth Kinker,

On Jan. 7 the Chelsea City Council approved the renewal of their contract with the Huron River Watershed Council (HRWC).

The City has partnered with the HRWC for almost 20 years. The HRWC provides support to municipalities and agencies with the Middle Huron Partnership, which the city is part of, to address storm water and other pollution sources to the Huron River System.

The new contract runs from Jan. 1, 2019 through Dec. 31, 2031 for $30,558 payable over five installments.

With this new contract comes a price increase, annual costs for the city have typically been around $1,300.

“What this goes for is the efforts to focus on two things, phosphorus control to address algae blooms going back to the 90s, a significant issue downstream but also in local inland lakes,” said Ric Lawson, Middle Huron Partnership Coordinator, addressing where the main costs in the
increase come from. “Also, to address storm water and non-point source run off throughout the watershed.

A report from the HRWC summarized changes to the five-year plan from the prior cycle and gave the total annual budget impact. There are many reasons given for the budget increase.

Some are in continued efforts from previous cycles with regular costs going up and some are new costs to the budget because of grant funding reduction, such as the addition of macroinvertebrate sampling, that will result in a more complete water quality analysis.

Macroinvertebrates are insects that are born and grow in the water, feeding fish before emerging into various above water insects. Macroinvertebrate sampling is one of the most simple and best ways to biologically measure the watershed. The more diverse range, the better the site is.

“The City has partnered with the watershed council for almost two decades,” said City Manager John Hanifan. “We have a great partnership, they provide a lot of valuable services for our community and do a lot of things we are simply not capable of doing. In addition to representing us in a regional sense for water quality, they put on the green infrastructure
initiatives if you recall those two visioning sessions. They do a lot of things beyond just work plan.”

Lawson told the council that the proposed budget was conservative, with a not to exceed budget so they wouldn’t have to come back to council. If the budget is lower at the end of the year, subsequent year installments would go down.

Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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