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Petitioning Michigan State Senate, Michigan State House, Bryce Feighner, Matt Gamble, Gretchen Whitmer, Liesl Clark, Dana Nessel

Limit Nestle’s Michigan Water Withdrawals

Our names are Yousef Emara and Nathan Koh. We are eighth graders in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Our class completes a Sustainability Action Project (SAP) by choosing a cause in which we can make a positive impact.  We have chosen to raise awareness of Nestle’s water pumping practices in Michigan and petition the state legislature and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to reject an increase in Nestle’s pumping rates in White Pine Springs, Osceola County, Michigan. Why This Issue Matters  In many countries, including the United States, there is little limitation on the rate at which water can be pumped out of aquifers (underground water reserves).  Water bottling companies have been pumping billions of gallons of water out of aquifers and impacting the watershed and surrounding environment and selling water bottles for 3000 to 5000 times more than they pay for it.  One such pumping site is Nestle’s well field in White Pine Springs, Osceola County, Michigan, which is part of the Muskegon River watershed.   What This Means for Michigan  Nestle runs a plant for its two water bottle brands, Ice Mountain and Pure Life, in Stanwood, Michigan.  The company operates three well fields with a total of seven wells, all within the Muskegon River watershed.  According to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), Nestle pumped more than 3.4 billion gallons of water from its three Michigan well fields between 2005 and 2015.  In 2015, Nestle was given approval by the MDEQ to pump 250 gallons per minute at White Pine Springs Well in Osceola County.  The company now wants to increase the amount of water it pumps from this well to 400 gallons per minute. Nestle would pay the state of Michigan $200 per year for this increase. According to a test conducted in August 2000 by Malcolm Pirnie Inc., Nestle’s White Pine Springs Well pumps water from an underground aquifer that is connected to the aboveground water system through a permeable layer of Earth, called a leaky aquitard.  Pumping water from the aquifer can drain significant amounts of water from above. This indicates that the wetlands and wildlife above the ground are at high risk of being harmed by Nestle’s pumping.  Residents, like Rhonda Huff, as reported by the MLive newspaper on April 9, 2017, noticed that water levels in Osceola County’s Chippewa Creek, which flows into the Muskegon River watershed, have significantly dropped in recent years, affecting trout populations.   Nestle needs a permit from the MDEQ in order to increase the rate at which it pumps water.  The MDEQ requires the use of a Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool to determine the impact of proposed water withdrawals on fish and wildlife in the area.  Nestle’s proposed water withdrawal increase to 400 gallons per minute failed to pass MDEQ’s Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool. However, the MDEQ can and did overrule the failing grade determined by the Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool. Nestle’s plan to increase the amount of water withdrawn to 400 gallons per minute would undo an agreement with environmentalists reached more than seven years ago for a well field in Sanctuary Springs, which is also part of the Muskegon River watershed.  In 2001, Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation sued Nestle over potential damage to the system of lakes, rivers, and streams that its water withdrawal would cause.  An agreement was reached in 2009, limiting the amount of water the company could pump. What You Can Do To Help Please sign our petition!  Help us in reaching our goal of 10,000 signatures to present to the state legislature and the MDEQ. Thank you for taking the time to protect our most precious resource – water.  

Yousef Emara
158,669 supporters
Petitioning Michigan Governor, Michigan State House, Michigan State Senate

Justice for Sterling   Two year old dog, Sterling was stabbed to death and left to die by Alexander Gerth - who is now being charged.  We, citizens of Michigan, realize this may/may not have occurred in your district; however it is reflective of a state-wide issue.  We are contacting you because one life lost, one life abused is too many. We are reaching out to you, my representative, to amend THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT) Act 328 of 1931, SECTION 750.50b. We are pushing for an amendment that creates an animal cruelty registry (the Sterling Amendment). This registry would create a state level database of those have been charged and sentenced with a crime as outlined in the law above, and the amended portion that goes into affect March 2019. According to the Michigan State Police, reports of animal cruelty is on the rise. According to Michigan State Police Quality Assurance report, animal cruelty rose 575% statewide between 2016-2017. This is an issue that must be addressed and considered a priority. The lives of animals should not be considered partisan, while funding may be issue in state government, I would again remind your colleagues that a 575% increase in this crime makes aggressively addressing animal cruelty a high priority for 2019. Animals do not have a voice; it is the job of humans and the state to create a protected life that ensures safety and a place to thrive. An animal that is surrendered and then adopted should be ensured, to the highest degree possible, that it's new home is loving and safe. This was not the case for Sterling. Sterling was adopted through already existing shelter loopholes, he was then stabbed, and left to bleed out and freeze in a park.  We can do better for animals. Michigan can do better for animals. Please propose the Sterling Amendment to create a registry of animal cruelty offenders to ensure the welfare, protection, safety and quality of life for animals. 

65,223 supporters
Petitioning Leslie Auriemmo, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), United States Forest Service, Debbie Stabenow, Gary Peters, Michigan State Senate, Kathleen Atkinson

Ban has been temporarily delayed - Stop ban of Alcohol on Michigan Rivers

Update 2/12/2019: Our 53,000+ voices were heard! “Freedom is when the people can speak; democracy is when the government listens.” Your stated reasons for signing the petition: Local communities and businesses – Genuine support for our communities and local businesses. A ban like this has been shown to reduce tourism by 70% America – Over reaching government taking away our freedoms Enforce the existing laws Overwhelming love of our river trips – For many, a summer float has been a family and friend tradition for decades. On 02/12/2019, the federal government announced that they are temporarily delaying the order banning alcohol from our rivers. There will be a ‘working group’ formed and chaired by the forest service consisting of businesses, municipal officials, and private citizens with the intention of identifying and correcting issues on Our Rivers. This working group has the opportunity to provide an example to the entire country that it is possible for groups with different agendas and concerns to come together and collectively resolve issues. They can insure our beautiful Michigan Rivers are available to everyone and our freedom is protected. We have decided to keep the petition up and going. We are confident that the working group will formulate a solid plan; however, we want to make sure that our 53,000+ voices are included in the conversation. We have passed along our suggested ideas to the group. We will let you know if there are substantial updates. See you on Our River!   Original petition: Repeal the ban on Alcohol in Michigan Rivers. Specifically, ORDER NO. 09-04-19-01, which was signed by Leslie Auriemmo, forest supervisor, on 02/01/2019. Violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than 6 months! Order no. 09-04-19-01   Update 2/11/2019: Awesome work everyone. We have over 39,000 signatures! They haven’t repealed the ban YET. CALL TO ACTION!! Please post the following to your Facebook page and social media. Share it. Everywhere! U.S. Federal Government just banned alcohol on Michigan Rivers. Punishable by a $5000.00 fine and up to 6 months in jail! Are your state’s rivers and lakes next on the list? “If we do not have the freedom to have a beer while fishing or floating on our waterways, we are not free.” Please sign this petition to stop the abuse of power and federal government overreach.   Call and email the following: (Please be respectful and civil, this is not personal) Leslie Auriemmo, USDA Forest supervisor, Phone: (231) 775-2421, Email:  Kathleen Atkinson, Regional Forester of the Eastern Region of the U.S. Forest Service, Phone: (414) 297-3765, Email: How did we get here? On 02/02/2019, Leslie Auriemmo, USDA forest supervisor (Phone (231) 775-2421), signed ORDER NO. 09-04-19-01 banning alcohol on the most popular sections of three Michigan rivers and their surrounding areas. Violation of this prohibition is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than 6 months in jail! The order was released to the press without contacting local businesses, or authorities. There was no public notice, discussion, comment period, or vote. Apparently a single federal bureaucrat has the authority to impose an order of this magnitude. Why is this happening? As news of our petition reaches the media, the Government is making up new reasons for the ban every chance they get. Nate Peeters, public affairs officer for the Huron-Manistee National Forests, told the news that they have seen “… a number of issues that have damaged the water systems themselves and put people's safety at risk”. This statement is not substantiated with facts or data and is meant to tug at our collective love of our rivers and our environment. People floating on the river are not harming or polluting it. Fishing charters from the Ausable have commented that our rivers are significantly cleaner than in decades past. We are all aware that our actions have consequences, we practice ‘No trace left behind’. Does the Government want to start discussing the actual threats to our rivers such as municipal treatment plant accidents, fisheries, PCBs, Mercury, deforestation or CAFO farming practices? The Government also stated alcohol users are "potentially dangerous to other people and sometimes dangerous to themselves.". Again, vague and non-factual scare tactics. They point out some alleged poor behavior by individuals on the river that “they’ve seen”. Each of these infractions they pointed out already has a LAW to address. Why do we need broad-sweeping new infringements on our freedom rather than just enforcing the laws that already exist? Let the Michigan DNR enforce the laws already on the books. Work on improving infrastructure such as recycle and trash stations, restrooms, etc. The reality is for about 40 hours a year on the eight Saturdays in July and August (70%+ of yearly livery business) Michiganders and out-of-state tourists flock to our beautiful rivers to spend the day floating down in canoes, kayaks, and tubes for 2-5 hour trips. During these few busy days each year the river is full of people relaxing and enjoying their time with family and friends, and some partake in adult beverages during their float. For many, these trips have been family gatherings for decades. During these busy days if anyone gets out of hand with their drinking, there are already laws in place to deal with them (ie. drunk and disorderly, littering, etc). This is no different than how we manage festivals, local beer tents, concerts etc. What does this ban hurt? This ban will have a devastating effect on local economies and businesses. It’s not only the liveries that will suffer; outfitters, hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, bars, hardware stores and others will suffer greatly. If businesses close, jobs will be lost and the tax base will be lowered - this will effect senior services, schools, parks, and other city services. Families are already canceling their summer reservations in the affected towns. Property values in the surrounding communities will be impacted. Our rights as Americans! A couple of Federal bureaucrats working in Cadillac and Chicago, who are not even native to Michigan, have signed an order to ban alcohol in America. Prohibition was repealed December 5th 1933 with the passage of the 21st amendment. Who are they to take away our rights? We want to be free Americans and have fun with our friends and family on the river! This aggression will not stand man! On a personal note: We float the Ausable dozens of times a year, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. We’ve been doing this for 35 years. Our children started when they were in diapers, and now continue the tradition as grown adults. Sometimes we go out with the large groups and sometimes we follow behind them. The liveries last drop in is around 2:30 PM. We rarely see any litter, and if we do it’s a rogue flip flop or empty plastic water bottle. We always pick up anything we see. We have never witnessed a fight or anyone getting out of control. When we are in the mix of the larger groups, we see people truly having fun and enjoying themselves. Laughter, fun conversations, and friendly waves with a lot of great people. There are kids swimming, having water fights, and playing. There are young and old, all ethnicities, family reunions, and bachelorette parties. We even know a couple that got married on the river. WE LOVE IT! News articles and supporters of our cause: Rep. Cole: Feds overstepped the line with alcohol ban NBC 25 News   FYI: Funds collected by are not going to ‘Our rivers’. The donations go towards moving the petition up on the site only.     

Our River
57,278 supporters
Petitioning Donald Trump, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Department of Veterans Affairs, Alabama State Senate, Alabama State House, Alabama Governor, Florida State Senate, Florida State House, Flo...

Congress: Let all children of U.S. military service members unite with their families!

I’m Jenifer Bass, a U.S. Navy veteran, who served for 10 years, one-third in the Asia-Pacific region. It was due to my travel between ports in countries like Japan and Thailand that I first encountered amerasian children, and descendants, of U.S. service members and civilian contractors previously stationed overseas. Filipino Amerasians are abandoned and neglected biracial children of Filipino mothers and American fathers (mostly members of the US armed forces). In the Philippines alone, more than 52,000-plus children were born and left behind after the U.S. Navy withdrew the last of its military personnel in 1992. Right now, the U.S. government won’t legally recognize them as U.S. citizens, despite having been born to an American parent. The Philippine Embassy won't help them either. As a former US colony between 1898 and 1946, the Philippines was home to millions of US soldiers and their dependents, even after its independence. Until 1992, the country hosted two of the largest US military facilities outside the US – Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, which played major roles during the Vietnam and first Gulf wars. In 1982 US Public Law 97-359, or the Amerasian Act of 1982, allowed children from Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea, or Thailand to move to the US and eventually become American citizens, but those who were from the Philippines were excluded from the law, an exclusion which was upheld by the US Senate on the basis that many Filipino Amerasians were “conceived from illicit affairs and prostitution”, and were born during peacetime. Today, there are estimated to be more than 250,000-plus children. Many amerasians are caught in a no-man’s land of discrimination and poverty -- most left behind by U.S. service members who are unaware that they’ve fathered children overseas. My friend John Haines is one of these sailors. In 2011, John discovered he was the father of a half-Filipino daughter, Jannette. He attempted to unite with her through the American Homecoming Act -- but was frustrated to learn that the Act did not apply to Filipino children of U.S. service members. Today, all John wants is to be united with his daughter and grandchildren. He, like so many other veterans are living with a “hole in their hearts” as they search for ways to unite with their children. There is hope. The Uniting Families Act of 2018, HR 1520, creates a specialized visa allowing military veterans and eligible civilian contractors to sponsor their children and grandchildren for U.S. citizenship. Currently, blood relationship must be proven by DNA test and the total number of visas granted will be capped at 5,000 each year. The issue takes on more urgency as so many of our veterans from our wars in Southeast Asia are getting older and dying each day -- without the chance to connect, or in some cases, reconnect with their own children. John’s daughter Jannette has already undertaken the DNA testing process, conclusively proving her relationship to her American father. All she’s waiting for is the opportunity to permanently unite with her father. There is a PBS documentary, "Left by the Ship" (2010), documenting a day in the life and the personal struggles as a Filipino amerasian on the never ending search for identity and their struggles to connect to their American military families. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2017, HR 1520, now!

Jenifer Bass
33,530 supporters
Petitioning Michigan Governor

Create a public registry for those CONVICTED of physical child abuse.

My son Wyatt was a victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome when he was just a year old on November 1, 2013. He suffered a fractured skull, a major brain bleed, and bilateral retinal hemorrhages. He spent 7 weeks at Children's Hospital of Michigan and now has a permanent shunt in his brain. Since then he has had multiple tests, another brain surgery, and an eye surgery. He has been in, and is currently still in intense outpatient therapy. The woman who alledgedly abused my son is currently sitting in the Macomb County Jail as we wait to go to trial. This woman was my ex husband's girlfriend. When we were going through our divorce custody hearings, I had asked the judge not to grant my ex any overnights because I had my concerns about his girlfriend. It was all hearsay and of course even after searching her name on the internet, I found nothing to support my suspicions and therefore the judge granted my ex husband several overnights. After this horrific act happened to my son, I learned about her wrap sheet. She was priorly convicted of 3rd degree and 4th degree child abuse. If she was on a list similar to the sex offender list that showed she had been convicted of these prior counts of child abuse, I would have been able to find out and this would have never happened to my son. With as high as divorce rates/break up rates are, you can't always know who your child is around. With this extra source of information, I guarantee many lives would be saved. We need to protect our child, as they are our future. Child abuse will not be tolerated.

Erica Hammel
27,044 supporters
Petitioning Lee Chatfield, Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan State Senate, Michigan State House, Mike Shirkey, Jim Ananich

Impeach Judge Rachel Rancilio from 16th Circuit Court, Macomb County, MI, dismiss charges

This petition is in reference to Judge Rachel Rancilio's censorship, abuse of power and violation of a constituent's right to free speech. Following the death of Mr. Jonathan Vanderhagen's son, Killian Vanderhagen (2 Years Old), Mr. Vanderhagen began to criticize the court which issued the ruling refusing to grant him physical custody of his son. Mr. Vanderhagen believes the court responsible, at least in part, for his son's death. Whether Mr. Vanderhagen is correct in his assertion or not, it is despicable his being jailed over his criticisms of the 16th Circuit and, more narrowly, Judge Rachel Rancilio. The details as reported are as follows; "Following the death of Killian Vanderhagen, his father, Jonathan Vanderhagen, was incensed that the child was placed in the custody of his ex-wife, who he felt was unfit, and when his child died, he began posting his criticisms of the system, and Judge Rancilo, who he felt was responsible for his child’s death, and promising, “I’m gonna dig up all the skeletons in this court’s closet.”  (An investigation did not indicate that the mother caused the death) The judge claimed to feel threatened, and referred the matter to police, who found no threat, but for "some reason" he was charged with “malicious use of telecommunications services,” and released on $2000 bond. When he continued his criticisms, his bond was revoked, and now he is sitting in jail on $500,000 bond." Below is a link to the Michigan code covering the alleged crime that Mr. Vanderhagen has been imprisoned for: A $500,000 bond for a misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $1000 points to judicial impropriety, and retaliation- not justice. This bond was set by Judge Sebastian Lucido- another elected Judge. We assert that this too is a violation of Mr. Vanderhagen's constitutional rights. The U.S. Supreme court's opinion in Weems V. United States (1910) dissented from the lower court based on the principle of proportionality in defense of the 8th Ammendment. While Judge Lucido contended in court that Mr. Vanderhagen violated the terms of his bond, his initial arrest had no merit in the first place and his confinement was, in essence, an authoritarian attempt by local officials to suppress Mr. Vanderhagen's freedom of expression. This stands in violation of the first amendment of the constitution of the United States, which calls into question the legality of the terms of the bond he allegedly violated.  Finally, if it is Judge Rancilio's opinion that her interpretation of the law being used to jail Mr. Vanderhagen as well as the way that she is using her power to influence its enforcement is true and just, she lacks the common sense and decency to sit the bench. We call on the Michigan State House of Representatives led by Mr. Lee Robertson Chatfield, The State Senate led by Senator Mike Shirkey and Senator Jim Ananich, as well as Governor Gretchen Whitmer to begin an impeachment investigation into what actions Judge Rancilio took and to what extent she may or may not have used her position vindictively as an act of censorship and retaliation against Mr. Vanderhagen. Please join us in preserving the supposed high ethical standards of Michigan's Judicial and Legislative Branches by taking immediate action and signing this petition.

Josef Gray
18,465 supporters
Petitioning Michigan Hunters, Michigan State House, Michigan State Senate, Michigan Natural Resource Commission, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Change Michigan's Combination Deer Tag to one Antlered/one Antlerless

When it comes to hunting, Michigan excels at one thing: killing more bucks per square mile than any other State in the Union. According to QDMA's most recent whitetail report, Michigan topped the chart with an estimated 4 bucks harvested per square mile of land.  In a State where over half a million hunters participate every year, we have to ensure we are managing our deer properly to ensure its future. Nearby States like Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky are considered among the best whitetail hunting locations in the world. Hunters are willing to travel and pay significant sums to hunt land in these states. All because they have managed to develop systems and regulations that ensure deer populations are maintained to a healthy number, buck to doe ratios are kept in balance and that a considerable number of bucks to grow to maturity. One vital element of their strategy is only allowing hunters to harvest a single antlered buck per season. Michigan should learn from their success and change its current "Combination Deer" license from allowing two bucks, to one buck (antlered) and one doe (antlerless). Under this regulation, hunters would not have the option to purchase a second antlered-deer license that year, effectively making the limit one buck per hunter per hunting year. Our state currently faces the threat of CWD and should realize limiting antlered-deer hunting and encouraging antlerless harvest is one of the most effective means of combating this disease. In areas where deer population needs decreased, only shooting antlered-deer, or more than antlerless, will only cause the population to rise. This proposal will highly encourage hunters to harvest does for venison, using the antlerless deer tag they have anyways, and save their single buck tag to continue hunting.  This change would not remove the ability for areas to implement Mandatory Antler Point Restrictions as desired and the Department of Natural Resources would still be able to manage where antlerless deer could be harvested and during which seasons. Its time Michigan reached its potential and made this common-sense change to improve hunting in our State. Please sign and share!

Kyle Yoder
15,899 supporters
Petitioning Governor Whitmer, Michigan State House, Michigan State Senate, Gary C. Peters


On Thursday, October 26, 2017, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) held a Mute Swan Management Plan public hearing. During this meeting, many prominent people spoke against the DEC's plan to kill New York  Mute Swans. One of those people was NY Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Chair of Committee on Environmental Conservation and also a supporter of the DEC in the past. He expressed on record his deep dissatisfaction with the actions of the DEC and their Mute Swan Management Plan.  However, it was Regal Swan Foundation that provided the legal bombshell that the Reform Act of 2004 to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, was entered into Congress inappropriately, and was never ratified by President Bush. Therefore, it is null and void. Therefore, any and all acts perpetrated against Mute Swans (and other birds covered by this Reform Act) are in violation of international law.  Hundreds of thousands of Mute Swans  have been slaughtered throughout the United States, including Michigan because they were removed from the Migratory  Bird Act in 2004. With this new information, we want congress and our state legislators to place an immediate moratorium on all Mute Swan killings and to investigate the illegal way the Migratory Bird Treaty Reform Act of 2004 was pushed through Congress and also hold the Michigan DNR, US Fish and Wildlife, USDA, and anyone else who has killed Mute Swans in Michigan accountable for violating the original Treaty. THIS BOGUS TREATY REFORM ACT  IMPACTS ALL MUTE SWANS AND OTHER BIRDS IN  EVERY STATE!  PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SENATORS AND CONGRESSMEN AND ASK THEM TO STOP  THIS OUTRAGEOUS HOAX THAT IS COSTING TAXPAYERS BILLIONS AND KILLING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF BIRDS ILLEGALLY. PEOPLE IN OTHER COUNTRIES CAN HELP US BY SIGNING AND SHARING THIS PETITION AND LETTING THE WORLD KNOW THAT THE UNITED STATES IS SLAUGHTERING MUTE SWANS AND OTHER  BIRDS THROUGH A REFORMED TREATY THAT NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN REFORMED IN THE FIRST PLACE.   MICHIGAN MUTE SWAN BACKGROUND INFORMATION: On January 13, 2011, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources presented a proposal for Mute Swan Management to the Natural Resource Commission.  Their proposal not just denied the waterfowl rehabilitator to take in any injured Mute swans, but it also forced them to render any Mute Swans they had in their possession and euthanize them. This cruel plan now leaves any Mute Swan that has been hit by a boat or jet ski, or is wrapped in fishing line, or hooked in the mouth by a fish hook left behind, or ripped open by a turtle, or shocked after hitting a power line, to suffer a cruel and long death without receiving any help from humans. Many of these unwarranted injuries are from human error and not nature. The phrases used by the DNR “Let nature take its course” or “survival of the fittest” do not apply with these types of injuries. This GOVERNMENT agency was appointed to protect our wildlife and, instead, they are behind the most cruel and inhumane plan to eradicate a species that has been in North America since the late 1800’s and in Michigan since 1919. On February 10, 2011, The NRC not only voted 3 to 2, to not allow the rehabilitator s to continue treatment on injured Mute Swans, but they also voted to eradicate all Mute Swans but 2000 in our state claiming the Mute Swan is now "a non-native, invasive species" . The DNR stated that they are working to remove Mute Swans from all state land and eventually public and private lakes.   "The Mute Swan Management and Control Program Policy and Procedures contains a goal to reduce the Mute swan population to zero on DNRE lands. We will continue management activities to reach that goal." -Barbara Avers, DNR Waterfowl and Wetlands Specialist. The problem with this plan is that it has been on-going since the late 90’s at taxpayer expense.  The reasoning behind the killing is that as Barb Avers stated at the 2014 International Swan Symposium is that they want a “native swan”.  The Michigan DNR also stated that the Mute Swans were non-native, invasive, aggressive, detrimental to other waterfowl, eat copious amounts of sub-aquatic vegetation and that the need to kill the Mute Swans was necessary for the health of Michigan wetland habitats. These points have been dispelled by international swan and wetland habitat specialists and current valid reliable scientific research. Fossils have been found throughout the U.S. showing that a Mute Swan ancestor existed in North America, meaning that the Mute Swan is a native swan. At a local DNR presentation, Ms. Avers stated that the state was concerned that what occurred in Maryland, might occur in Michigan. Destroying an entire species of swan based on speculation of what could happen is not exactly “Sound Science”, something the DNR tries to assure people they are all about. Also, keep in mind, Maryland has not one natural lake. Michigan has over 11,000 inland lakes according to the Michigan DNR website.   So, let’s look at what actually occurred in Maryland regarding Mute Swans as stated at the 2014 International Swan Symposium by a Maryland DEC official, Mr. Larry Hindman. Maryland wanted to kill the Mute Swans because “scientific research” showed that the Mute Swans’ fecal matter was producing high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous and the birds were eating too much aquatic vegetation. This was based upon a graduate’s students’ research, funded by the Maryland DNR that only tested what amounted to 3/100ths of an acre and generalized to 3,000 acres of the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. No further research was ever conducted to validate this DNR funded “graduate student’s findings. According to Mr. Hindman, Maryland never conducted a required NEPA study issued by a Federal Court and in 2004, went “under the radar from politicians, citizens and the media” to kill all Mute Swans except 2 nesting pairs.  As of 2014 and other current studies, the nitrogen and phosphorous levels are still high and the levels are now attributed to run-off from animal waste farms, pesticides and other pollutants.  This was the exact same information that was provided to Maryland, Michigan and other states at the 2000 International Swan Symposium but was completely ignored. So, we need to ask Ms. Avers, what exactly happened in Maryland that caused the need for Michigan to kill all Mute Swans by 2030? According to Michigan DNR officials, Barb Avers and Dave Luukkonen at the 2014 International Swan Symposium, they have no scientific research showing that the Mute Swans are any more aggressive than any other wildlife species, only anecdotal data.  They also stated that they had no scientific research showing any detrimental harm to the habitat or other wildlife. Many international swan and wetland habitat specialists presenting at the same swan symposium stated that the Mute Swans were no more aggressive, did no more harm to the environment and did not exponentially increase in numbers as stated by Michigan DNR and other state and federal wildlife officials. In fact, most current research and these same swan and wetland habitat specialists state that the Mute Swans are actually a Sentinel species indicating the presence of heavy metals and harmful microorganisms in the environment. Still ignoring this research, Michigan DNR officials are continuing to kill the Mute Swans by shooting, decapitating and stomping cygnets to death in the nest and in areas that boaters, fishermen and others do not want to encounter the swans. Over 9000 Mute Swans have been shot and slaughtered since 2011. This number comes from information gathered through the Freedom of Information Act. Here are the notes taken from the presentation by Dave Luukkonen and Barb Avers, Michigan DNR at 2014 Swan Symposium that totally dispute and/or contradict their claims to the public:  DAVE LUUKKONEN, ET. Al - MICHIGAN DNR   Mute Swan Population Growth in Michigan in Relation to Management Intensity.  SPONSORED BY US WILDLIFE SERVICES AND MICHIGAN DNR              Introduced to Michigan in 1919 Mute Swans 47 birds in 1949 estimate 500                birds in   1974, < 15, and 0000 birds by 2000 estimate. Fixed wing survey since 1991-2013 by US Wildlife Services some surveys had variants that caused ranges rather than true estimates (In a previous presentation by a U.S. Wildlife Services pilot, the pilot stated that due to glare on the water, they could not discern the species of swan while conducting counts of swans, he also stated that although his job was to count, he never saw any aggressive behavior between the Mute Swans or other swan species such as the Tundra swans  Annual CV’s range from 20-90% (most years 25-30%)  The Swan survey is conducted after April when Tundras leave.  Michigan DNR estimates: 1994  Dismissed the count because of large Tundra Swan presence. (So, Michigan DNR just arbitrarily threw out this year, just like many other research projects, if the DNR or US Wildlife Services do not like the data, they either ignore, remove, or come up with another set of parameters or rules to fit their data to cull the Mute swans).               Most Culling was on state lands.Their original plan was to reduce the numbers by 2000 in 2030.  However, stated that presently, the numbers are stable.  However, in  2007, came up with another plan to kill more by 2030. They have already killed 26,000 birds.  2006< 50 individuals; 2006-2009;  200-425 killed;  2012- 2,628 dead; 2013, 2,177    AVERS, MICHIGAN DNR ASSOCIATE &  LUUKKONEN ABOVE - Using Public Engagement, outreach, and collaboration to support management of a rapidly increasing Mute Swan population in Michigan (AGAIN Sponsored by MDNR & US Wildlife)  Basically, the DNR educated the media and public through canned information so that could limit misinformation, population guides, negative impacts, management policies and goals, etc.  They stated the following negative impacts:             Ecological impact- Sub Aquatic Vegetation (SAV)             Displaced native waterfowl and other waterfowl             Aggressiveness toward Humans  (The problem with this “canned information is that is a total misrepresentation of facts). Reduce to 0 on state lands Less than 2,000 by 2030 – Avers stated they would never get to this number under the Present plan, Policy revision in 2010, (again another policy revision because they did not get the results that they had hoped for). Avers spoke about doing things differently than Maryland by engaging public, got public and private property owners, hunters, wildlife biologists, animal activists, etc. to buy into plan. Used canned same consistent message. Politicians had to be presented framed risks for decision making. They were more interested in other invasive species such as fish, plants, etc., and had to be given frame by frame risk to get them on board: the framed risk: aggression, invasive species, etc. Reached stability with present plan. Then, revised plan to cull more.            ASKED BY PARTICIPANT:  Were they going to go ahead and kill more than was      agreed upon if it still was not socially or politically acceptable. The Answer was   probably. So, even after getting agreement with the above public and private sector,  they revised the plan and will go forward without their acceptance.           ASKED BY PARTICIPANT:  WHAT was the overall cost of controlling Mute Swans and reintroducing species?  LUUKKONEN stated he did not know.  The participant pressed again and these figures were given by Avers:  US Agriculture paid $100,000-125,000 to control the Mute Swan species.  Not counting staff Michigan DNR $25,000.  No cost of reintroduction was provided.  They also noted that this program was going to run out of funding in the next few years.  What is most important about the Michigan DNR’s premise that there are too many Mute Swans and they eat too much vegetation is debunked by the following statements: Hindman, Maryland DNR stated that there has never been a collaborative systemic count of Mute Swans in North America.  So, how can Michigan DNR state that Mute Swans are exponentially increasing when a U.S. Wildlife pilot also admits that they cannot discern species while counting swans?  As Avers and other DNR officials were stating that the Mute Swans eat approximately 8 lbs of subaquatic vegetation daily,  Larry Gillette, from the Trumpeter Society, interjected that “the 20 vs 8 lbs was commonly misquoted by many and it had started with his raising Trumpeter Swans. “The juveniles required 20 lbs of aquatic vegetation for sustenance, but that may not equate to adults”.  So, a juvenile Trumpeter Swan eats twice the amount of sub-aquatic vegetation on a daily basis. Michigan DNR states the 8 lb sustenance by a Mute Swan as the reason behind the killings of the Mute Swans. Michigan DNR wants to save the depletion of the sub-aquatic vegetation.If the Trumpeter Swan juvenile eats twice the amount sub-aquatic vegetation than a Mute Swan, then why is the Michigan DNR and other wildlife agencies replacing the Mute Swans with Trumpeter Swans? Many mute swan advocates believe it’s because the trumpeter swan is a game bird and can be hunted. It is the largest game bird and would bring in lots of money to the DNR wildlife division.  Finally, it has been noted that there has never been an independent NEPA study conducted regarding Mute Swans in the U.S., so the information regarding their detriment to the environment or other negative impacts are not substantiated by federally or state funded “graduate studies”.  Here is the real reason behind the killings.  There has been a concerted effort with former U.S and state wildlife officials to form the Trumpeter Swan Society. The Society’s mission is to introduce Trumpeter Swans throughout the U.S., including into areas that they have never existed so that they can eventually be used for Trophy Waterfowl Hunting. Trophy Waterfowl permits are more expensive than regular hunting permits and will help increase state and federal wildlife coffers as their budgets are now decreasing. This re-introduction/hunting program has been in existence since the late 80’s at taxpayer expense. Think of this, Ms. Avers stated that in 2014, the cost of the Mute Swan killing program was $100,000- $125.000 to the U.S. Wildlife Services, $25,000 to Michigan DNR and did not count staff and other ancillary expenses.  FLINT, Michigan and other areas are having a water crisis in which fresh clean water is now a major concern.  How can the Michigan DNR justify this much money being expended to kill one entire species of swan only to introduce another for hunting purposes at taxpayer expense? Even though Michigan DNR may state that hunting and fishing permits fund this program, this is highly doubtful as DNR staff could be used for better more sustainable programs such as testing for actual man-made pollutants and other run-off into wetland areas and their effects on waterfowl and other wildlife.  Does the Michigan taxpayer want to continue funding this program that Ms. Avers states is unsustainable? Is it safe to enjoy the waters of Michigan if the Michigan DNR is scapegoating Mute Swans instead of diagnosing other problems with the sub-aquatic vegetation growth caused by man-made pollutants?  Do tourists want to continue traveling to Michigan if the state’s major intent is to kill a species that is wrongfully implicated in polluted waters while Michigan DNR and EPA officials continue to place blame on anything other than the actual cause or try to clean up the actual pollutants?  The above questions should be asked of state officials before any more taxpayer money is used to kill any Mute Swan under the guise of conservation instead of the real cause, Trophy Waterfowl Hunting . USE TAXPAYER MONEY TO CLEAN THE WETLANDS, NOT KILL WATERFOWL BECAUSE MICHIGAN DNR OFFICIALS DO NOT WANT TO DO THEIR ACTUAL JOB:  CONSERVING, MAINTAINING WILDLIFE AND THEIR HABITATS.  MICHIGAN DNR LIKE OTHER WILDLIFE AGENCIES ARE ONLY CONCERNED WITH INCREASING THEIR WILDIFE BUDGETS! The Michigan DNR gave a conservation award to Wilbur, Joe, Johnson for his participation in bringing Trumpeter Swan eggs from Alaska into Michigan to start a population. He is also responsible for establishing the resident Canada goose population in Michigan as well. The Michigan DNR manipulates our wildlife so they can profit. Give the hunters more animals to shoot and the DNR will prosper. After all, Russ Mason, Chief of the DNR Wildlife Division, will tell you to your face that your Michigan tax dollars do no fund them that hunter and fishermen monies do. From The DNR website: In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act – a landmark law that changed the way conservation is funded in the United States – the Department of Natural Resources thanks hunters for their role in conserving Michigan’s wildlife. “A tremendous ‘thank you’ goes out to Michigan hunters – their contribution to the conservation of our state’s natural resources is immense,” said Russ Mason, DNR Wildlife Division chief. “Many people believe that their general tax dollars fund the work we do, but it’s those who participate in hunting, fishing and sport shooting who support the vast majority of our wildlife conservation work.”   “If you are a hunter, have bought a hunting or fishing license or have purchased a firearm, bow or crossbow, thank you for investing in Michigan’s wildlife. You have made a difference for 75 years and we sincerely hope you continue to support conservation in Michigan.  WHY ARE WE PERMITTING THIS GOVERNMENT HUNTING AGENCY TO “MANAGE” OUR WILDLIFE?

Karen Stamper
11,285 supporters
Stopping the toxic pesticide spraying over Kalamazoo and SW Michigan

Thank you for contacting me regarding Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and the planned pesticide spray in Kalamazoo County. I am in communication with the two entities conducting the pesticide spray in Kalamazoo County -- the Kalamazoo County Health Department and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). As human EEE cases in Michigan have occurred, particularly in Kalamazoo County, the MDHHS has coordinated with Kalamazoo County Health officials in monitoring regional developments and proposing public health services. In most cases, targeted mosquito control operates at a local level. However, because of their assessment of the current situation, the MDHHS has chosen to offer their services due to the spread of the virus over numerous counties the state. According to information on aerial spraying of mosquito pesticides from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aerial spraying is the most efficient method of mosquito eradication when large areas need to be treated quickly. The decision to move forward with aerial spraying is being undertaken by the aforementioned entities. For more information regarding their plans and their potential effects on health and safety, please contact MDHHS at (517) 373-3740 and/or the Kalamazoo County Health Department at (269) 373-5200. I encourage you to go to for up-to-date information about the pesticide treatment plans. The MDHHS has provided guidelines to avoid disease-carrying mosquitoes, including using repellents containing DEET and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants. This is particularly critical for those with compromised or underdeveloped immune systems, including children and those over the age of 50. The MDHHS has also encouraged residents to dump out any standing water in their yard and replace window and door screens with tears or holes that a mosquito could pass through. Thank you again for contacting me. I take public health issues such as EEE very seriously, and will continue to communicate with local health providers to learn about activities that may help Kalamazoo County residents stay safe. Sincerely, Sean McCann State Senator 20th District - Kalamazoo County Email: Phone: (517) 373-5100

3 months ago