When it comes to mapping its natural resources, Michigan falls behind other states. But a $500,000 state grant may help change that. The grant to the Michigan Geological Survey will pay for statewide resource mapping.
John Yellich is the director of the survey out of Western Michigan University. He says Michigan has received less than half the federal dollars of nearby states like Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois. As a result, Yellich says Michigan has only studied a fraction of its resources.
“In order for us to understand and protect our resources we have to know more than just what’s in the top two inches. We have to know what’s down there at 10, 15, 30, 50, 100 feet down below. We don’t have that information. That’s what we want to try and garner,” he says.
Yellich says one of the resources the state should look into is aggregates - such as sand, gravel, and clay.
“We just don’t know where we are going to get our aggregates to replenish our infrastructure here in Michigan because a lot of the aggregate resources are now being depleted. And where can we go and where can we actually put in an aggregate production facility close to where it’s needed?” says Yellich.
Yellich says the grant will pay for projects that prove the importance of the Michigan Geological Survey. He says he hopes it will lead to an annual budget for the service.