The Environmental Board is a nine-member board tasked to advise City Council on matters pertaining to the environment and matters relating to the protection and enhancement of the groundwater resources of the city. The Environmental Board is available to ensure the appropriate consideration of environmental and groundwater issues as determined necessary by the City Council. Everyone is invited to attend the meetings.
- 7 p.m.
- 2nd Wednesday of every month (no meeting in July)
- City Hall
7900 S Westnedge Avenue
Portage, MI 49002
Agendas & Minutes
Agendas are available prior to the meetings. Minutes are available following approval.
News & Events
New Name for a familiar pest: Gypsy moth is now Spongy moth
The Entomological Society of America announced on March 2nd, a new common name for the Lymantria dispar moth. The invasive moth most familiar in its voracious, leaf-eating caterpillar stage will now be known as "spongy moth." The name spongy moth derives from the French name "spongieuse", referring to the moth's egg mass, which has the color and texture of a natural sea sponge.
This hairy, yellow-faced caterpillar with pairs of red and blue spots down its back was formerly referred to as "gypsy moth." Caterpillars become active in May and consume foliage until they create their cocoons in July. For more information click here or www.michigan.gov/invasives. Learn more about the name change from the Entomological Society of America https://entsoc.org/.
City Installs Electric Vehicle Charging Station at City Hall
The City of Portage recently installed the first municipally operated electric vehicle (EV) charging station in the city. The new ChargePoint Level 2 EV charging station is located in the upper level of the Portage City Hall parking lot at 7900 South Westnedge Avenue. The station, which is available for use by the public, utilizes a standard J1772 connector and offers dual ports capable of charging two vehicles simultaneously. Consumers Energy awarded the City of Portage $5,000 to aid in the purchase and installation of the station.
Portage is committed to working towards the reduction of Co2 emissions and reliance on fossil fuels. As a leader in promoting the advancement of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, the city plans to install two additional charging stations at the new Charles & Lynn Zhang Portage Community Senior Center.
Be a Property Steward! Keep Storm Drainage Grates Clear
Quick, intense rainstorms can cause water ponding on streets, especially when grass clippings and fall leaves cause storm drainage grates to be clogged. It is easy to overlook the buildup of lawn clippings and debris deposited in the street gutter and on street drainage grates.
The City of Portage reminds residents of their civic responsibility to inspect and clean street gutters and storm drainage grates abutting their property on a regular basis.
» Periodically inspect grates near your property and remove accumulated debris. Major maintenance needs can be reported to the Transportation & Utilities Department at 329-4422.
» Do not blow grass clippings, leaves, or debris into the street, without returning to collect the debris. When it rains, storm water carries these materials down the gutter to the nearest drainage grate.
» Never pour used motor oil, chemicals, or foreign substances into drainage grates or street
» Never use a street drainage basin as a “garbage collector” or dumpster for pet wastes. These simple preventative actions will keep storm sewers functioning at a maximum level, minimize storm water ponding in the street abutting your property and keep your property looking pleasant.
Mosquitoes and Eastern Equine Encephalitis
This summer, Portage park patrons will notice mosquito traps in West Lake Nature Preserve, Schrier Park and Bishop’s Bog as part of a continuing monitoring program for mosquito-borne illnesses, in particular, the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus. The Culiseta melanura and Coquilletidia perturbans species of mosquitoes are the only species to carry the EEE virus. These species are active in bogs and swampy areas during late summer and early fall.
The City of Portage is working with researchers from Michigan State University, Michigan Department of Health & Human Services and the Kalamazoo County Health & Human Services who will trap mosquitoes and test them for the EEE virus, as part of our monitoring and surveillance preemptive program.
Although mosquitoes carrying EEE are only found in swampy areas, all mosquitoes are pests, often carrying illnesses that can spread. We remind everyone to provide protection against mosquitoes, including controlling mosquitoes near your home:
» Use insect repellent with the active ingredient DEET; picaridin; IR3535; oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para menthane-diol (PMD); or 2-undecanone. (Consult with your medical provider before using these products on young children.)
» Empty vessels that hold standing water where mosquitoes breed; they lay eggs on or near water. Look in buckets, birdbaths, kiddie pools and planters.
» Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed.
» Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug the drains.
» Wear long sleeves, long pants, shoes and socks when outdoors, especially at dusk or after dark.
» Stay indoors at dusk and after dark when mosquitoes are most active and likely to feed.
A Citizen’s Guide to Understanding Stormwater
Where does stormwater come from and what pollutes it?
Rainfall and snowmelt across hard and impervious surfaces that do not allow water to soak into the ground are the leading cause of stormwater. The water flows into storm sewers or catch basins, which then direct the water to a natural water body such as a wetland, river, pond or lake. Stormwater carries salt, grass clippings, sediment, fertilizer, oils, pet waste and other material left on driveways and sidewalks into the catch basins.
Stormwater is different than greywater from sinks and showers and sewage from toilets. These are taken to a water reclamation plant before being discharged into our natural water bodies.
What else can pollute our rivers?
Fecal coliform bacteria is a serious concern. People commonly hear about a strain of bacteria called E. coli because it is an indicator of the presence of disease-causing bacteria. E. coli inhabits the digestive system of humans and animals, but can also be found in sewage. Unfortunately, every so often, sanitary sewers have been incorrectly connected to storm drains, which then cause sewage to enter our waterways. During major storms, leaks and cracks occur that allow stormwater to flow into our sanitary sewer system. This overwhelms the treatment plant causing sewage overflows. Correcting these problems is time consuming and expensive, but together, our community works actively to restore them.
Simple ways you can protect our watershed:
Wash your car on the lawn or take advantage of a commercial car wash. Grass acts as filter for these pollutants and you will water your lawn at the same time! Commercial car wash facilities send their water to the sanitary sewer, which directs the water to the wastewater reclamation plant. The oil and dirt you wash off your car can harm aquatic life and animals if they flow directly into the storm drain.
Check your vehicles for oil and fuel leaks. Rain will wash the grease and oil drippings from your driveway into storm drains, which flow directly into local waterways.
Limit the use of fertilizer and pesticides. Make it a habit to clean up your grass clippings so that they do not enter a catch basin. Pesticides and fertilizers are one of the biggest pollutants to our water bodies.
Clean up after pets. Parasites, pathogens and bacteria from pet waste can easily wash into catch basins and discharge into our rivers and lakes without being treated.
Remember, only rain down the drain. Never allow anything but natural rainwater to flow into a catch basin. Please deposit trash in a trash can. Even if it is a minor inconvenience for you, keeping our waterways clean benefits the people and creatures who all share Michigan’s rivers and lakes.
Increased Use of To-Go Containers Leads to More Landfill Waste
The recent changes in dining behaviors due to the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a significant increase in the use of “to-go” food containers at local restaurants. This can lead to more litter and landfill waste.
Not all to-go containers are environmentally friendly. Plastic (#1, #2 or #5) or paper/cardboard containers, cardboard drink carriers, paper sleeves for hot drinks and aluminum containers are all recyclable, ONLY IF ...
» they are not coated with a plastic coating and
» they are rinsed or wiped clean. If the item is stained or has absorbed oils, it cannot be
Styrofoam containers, plastic utensils, condiment packets and the plastic bag cannot go into your recycling bin. Try to skip these items and materials with your next “to go” order to drastically cut down on the amount of trash you make.
Visit portagemi.gov/284 to find out more about what can be recycled as part of the City of Portage SingleStream Recycling Program.
Kalamazoo County Household Hazardous Waste Center
Portage residents may use the HHW Center at no charge.