Red Cedar plan sows seeds for renewal of Red Cedar

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By RJ Wolcott
Meridian Times staff writer

OKEMOS–On March 20, Meridian Township passed the Land Preservation Drainage Agreement, giving it the option of fixing the erosion problem on the Red Cedar Glen Land Preserve.

In a 5-1 decision, the board agreed to begin planning how to address damage to township property. The four-page plan recommends how to fix erosion and water runoff without causing further damage.

Township Supervisor Susan McGuillicuddy said that the board needed the option to fix the property themselves. She also said that this was the first step to curbing the erosion, which has been an issue since the property was purchased in 2006.

McGuillicuddy said the erosion stems from the Ember Oaks development. The project has been slowed by the economy and has yet to install proper runoff systems.

Trustee John Veenstra, said that he believes the plan is gravely deficient in terms of how to stop the runoff from Ember Oaks. He said that to fix the problem, the board needs to get to the root of the issue and that involves stopping runoff from the development.

Veenstra also said the board and citizens were not given ample time to read the memorandum. Veenstra said he has always refused to vote for something which he has not read.

Veenstra added that the legal process of getting this proposal together has taken too long. Veenstra said that the board has racked up more than $12,000 in legal fees with just this issue.

Veenstra said that Keith Schroder, the Ember Oaks developer, should be held financially responsible for the damage done to township property. Veenstra said it was unfair for the township to foot the bill.

Jane Greenway, the parks and land management coordinator for Meridian Township, said that the Land Preservation Advisory Board has recognized that the runoff is getting worse.

Greenway pointed to several suggestions in the plan which will reverse the effects of the runoff.  These measures included the repair and stabilization of headward and streambank erosion, and consulting with township engineers on how to improve runoff and storm water detention facilities at Ember Oaks.

Greenway said the real shame with this runoff is the damage being done to the Red Cedar River. She says that sediment is running into the river and causing all sorts of ecological damage.

Greenway said that she hopes the Land Preservation Board and the township will agree on how to repair the land preserve soon. She said that the board would like to start working on the project in August.

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