Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an action plan

On Tuesday, the U.S. EPA will hold a public engagement meeting in Saginaw to talk about the next road map for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Action Plan 3. As a conservationist, I believe that the next plan should look to birds — marsh birds to be exact. A wetland that can attract and sustain breeding these species is a healthy ecosystem that will not only benefit birds and other wildlife but the communities lucky enough to have them. 

There is a direct correlation between the quality of wetland habitat and the presence of migratory birds. When our wetlands are overrun by invasive phragmites or the quality of the water is bad birds disappear, but the good news is that when we restore these important areas the birds return. Audubon and conservationists have been able to revitalize these habitats throughout the Great Lakes, and the benefits go beyond giving the birds a place to rest, eat and raise their young. Restored wetlands have also been hugely beneficial for people. Wetlands act as a natural sponge that can hold large amounts of water, which is crucial during storms, because they help provide flood control.

By investing in habitat restoration that restores wetlands good enough for marsh birds, we will be investing in conservation that is informed by sound science and that is measurable.

Don Burlett, president,

Oakland Audubon Society, Birmingham

Black lives matter; blue lives, too

Everyone including my own family members and friends who are Chicago police officers, know how tough I am on cops when it comes to police involved shootings of people of color. But I have to be fair when it comes to what most people feel may be an injustice with the latest public outcry of a police involved shooting death of a black man on Chicago's South Side. 

If you view the video of the fatal shooting of the suspect, Harith Augustus, you don't have to be a big fan of the Chicago Police to agree with the outcome. It's obvious that the suspect had no intentions of being arrested with the semiautomatic weapon he had concealed; posing a threat not only to the police, but to the community as he attempted to escape. 

I commend Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson for releasing the video as early as he did. The South Shore neighborhood where the incident occurred is a high crime area. There are hundreds of people walking down the street, and getting on and off the Metra train and buses everyday in that area. 

We all should be thankful that no police officers or innocent people were shot during the attempted arrest. But we must be careful of crying wolf every time a police officer shoots and kills someone. The summer is not over, lets remain vigilant against police officers who are racially biased, violate our civil rights and demonstrate unwarranted infliction of excessive force, but let's also not forget to thank the officers who risk their own lives to save one of ours.

William Booker



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