September 2019 Edition of the
Michigan Soil and Water Conservation Society

The official newsletter of the Michigan Chapter
of the Soil and Water Conservation Society

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Officer Nominations, Elections and Mentorship Survey
Registration and guest options available for  Annual Meeting at MACD Conference


It's all in the pores: New paper points to soil pore structure as key to carbon storage

Unpopular bait ban will only slow spread of CWD. What could stop it is even more controversial
What to Watch in Great Lakes Legislation


"We are living in the beginning of a mass extinction and our climate is breaking down... But we can still fix this - you can still fix this. It's simple, we need to protect, restore, and fund."

-Greta Thunberg in support of "Natural Climate Solutions"


Dan Kesselring, Michigan Chapter SWCS Secretary, represented the Michigan Chapter at the 74th Annual International SWCS Conference Awards Luncheon to receive the two awards.  Clare Lindahl, CEO, SWCS, presented the awards.  Photo by SWCS, Ankeny.

 Officer Nominations, Elections and Mentorship Survey

Hello Michigan Chapter of SWCS,

You have received quite a bit of correspondence through the Chapter this month, and I would like to remind you in brief about the opportunities available for service and leadership.

We have had Zach Curtis join the Executive Council as Region 2 Director and he is already making arrangements to enrich the chapter in central Michigan. Many others have been actively serving on the Nominations Committee in preparation for our annual meeting on October 28th (which can be reached remotely, by the way; we will send out a link).

Ballots will be going out at the end of this month and we are still looking for candidates for the position of President-Elect. This is a one year term which will transition to President in 2021 and finally to Past-President in 2022. This opportunity gives candidates time to grow into the leadership role and learn the ropes. If you would like to run as a candidate for President-Elect, please let the nominating committee know your intentions.

We have also been receiving many informative responses to the Mentorship Survey our intern prepared. If you have not had a chance to weigh in, please follow the survey link here. Those of you who have already responded, thank you for contributing to the vision and understanding of our Chapter.

Keep up the good work, everyone.

Rebecca Bender
MI-SWCS Membership and Outreach Chair
Current Region 1 Director
The Michigan Chapter SWCS's Annual Meeting will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, October 28, at the Shanty Creek Resort, Bellaire, MI.  Members can attend either on-site or by remote access.  To help planning, we need to know who will be attending either in person on-site or by remote access.  If you are planning to participate, please go to Survey Monkey poll site shown below to register.
Also, the Michigan Chapter SWCS is planning to conduct a Field Trip in the afternoon on Monday, October 28.  More information on the Field Trip can be found on our website  Again, we need to know if you would like to go on the Field Trip.  This applies even if you have already registered for the MACD Convention and have shown that you want to go on the Field Trip.  You can also register for the Field Trip on the same Survey Monkey poll link below.

Do you have some conservation-worthy news to share?  Upcoming events or topics of interest to the SWCS Professional Development Committee?  Please feel free to share them with newsletter editor, Rebecca Bender at


Research funded by Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, USDE and the Kellogg Biological Station (with NSF) program studied five different cropping systems for nine years to discover a new mechanism that determines how carbon is stored in soils.

It's all in the pores: New paper points to soil pore structure as key to carbon storage

Kravchenko, Robertson co-author article on soil carbon for Nature Communications
Excerpt from AgBioResearch coverage by Justin Whitmore, July 22, 2019

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State University (MSU) researcher Alexandra Kravchenko and several of her colleagues recently discovered a new mechanism determining how carbon is stored in soils that could improve the climate resilience of cropping systems and also reduce their carbon footprints.

The findings, published last week in the scientific journal Nature Communications, reveal the importance of soil pore structure for stimulating soil carbon accumulation and protection.

“Understanding how carbon is stored in soils is important for thinking about solutions for climate change,” said Phil Robertson, University Distinguished Professor of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences, and a co-author of the study. “And it’s also pretty important for ways to think about soil fertility and therefore, crop production.”

The study was conducted through the MSU Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and it was supported by NSF's Division of Earth Sciences.

Over a period of nine years, researchers studied five different cropping systems in a replicated field experiment in southwest Michigan. Of the five cropping systems, only the two with high plant diversity resulted in higher levels of soil carbon. Kravchenko and her colleagues used X-ray micro-tomography and micro-scale enzyme mapping to show how pore structures affect microbial activity and carbon protection in these systems, and how plant diversity then impacts the development of soil pores conducive to greater carbon storage.

John Schade, from the NSF Division of Environmental Biology, said the results may transform the understanding of how carbon and climate can interact in plant and soil microbial communities.

“This is a clear demonstration of a unique mechanism by which biological communities can alter the environment, with fundamental consequences for carbon cycling,” he said.

Kravchenko, a professor in the MSU Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences, said the study made several breakthroughs in understanding the mechanisms of soil carbon storage.

“One thing that scientists always tend to assume is that the places where the new carbon enters the soil are also the places where it is processed by microbes and is subsequently stored and protected,” she said. “What we have found is that in order to be protected, the carbon has to move; it cannot be protected in the same place where it enters.”

Scientists have traditionally believed soil aggregates, clusters of soil particles, were the principal locations for stable carbon storage.

Recent evidence, however, shows that most stable carbon appears to be the result of microbes producing organic compounds that are then adsorbed onto soil mineral particles. The MSU research further reveals that soil pores created by root systems provide an ideal habitat where this can occur.

Of particular importance are soils from ecosystems with higher plant diversity. Soils from restored prairie ecosystems, with many different plant species, had many more pores of the right size for stable carbon storage than did a pure stand of switchgrass.

... Read the rest of the AgBioResearch article in full or browse the journal article in Nature Communications online.

Unpopular bait ban will only slow spread of CWD. What could stop it is even more controversial.
By Kaye LaFonde of Michigan Radio, Sept. 27, 2019

To help combat chronic wasting disease, Michigan is banning deer baiting and feeding across big parts of the state. It’s highly unpopular with some hunters and lawmakers.

But, banning bait will only slow CWD from spreading to new areas, and more aggressive approaches that might actually stop it could be just as unpopular.

What to Watch in Great Lakes Legislation

This section provides a brief review of current and pending legislative decisions this month regarding agriculture, environmental protection, and natural resources.
  • Modifications to location notification requirements for air pollution (SB 0255) referred to Committee on Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation; with exemption for military surplus vehicles (SB 0346 ) referred to committee of the whole
  • Restrict emissions during thermal inversions within air quality index reporting and forecasting program (SB 0490) referred to committee on environmental quality
  • Extend "sunsets" for policy on surface water and stormwater discharge permit fees (SB 0447)
  • Extend "sunsets" for electronic device manufacturers fee and electronic device recycler registration fee (SB 0448)
  • Modify conditions under which zoning ordinance may prohibit mining (SB 0431) reassigned to committee on transportation and infrastructure

For additional information on legislative updates, visit the complete listing at or consider joining the MI-SWCS Legislative Committee.


Michigan Chapter SWCS


October 28-30 Annual Fall MACD Convention
Shanty Creek, Bellaire, MI
Registration now available

Other Organizations

October 8, 2019 Michigan Wetlands Association Fall Meeting: A Focus on PFAs and Wetlands
9:30am-2:30pm Eberhard Center in Grand Rapids, MI
Registration $25 with lunch

October 19th Michigan Beekeepers Association Fall Conference
Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, MI

Register for the MBA fall conference here

May 20-21, 2020 Watershed Management Conference: A Clear Vision of Watershed Management
Henderson, Nevada
*Now accepting abstracts*


MDEQ Calendar:

MDNR Calendar:

MSU Extension Calendar:
Copyright © 2019 Soil and Water Conservation Society: Michigan Chapter, All rights reserved.

This newsletter is a monthly compilation of news stories of interest to Michigan SWCS members and stakeholders. The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect official policy of the Soil and Water Conservation Society unless so stated.

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