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The Killer Bees Appear to be Winning – An Update on Wake Boats

By | An Attorney Writes, News

By Clifford H. Bloom, Esq.
Bloom Sluggett, PC
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.bloomsluggett.com

The watercraft commonly known as wakeboard boats, bladder boats, ballast boats or wave boats (hereinafter, “wake boats”) are increasingly becoming a big problem on inland lakes throughout Michigan. Wake boats are not simply a different type of boat, and the problems they create are not just a matter of degree. The problems caused by wake boats are geometrically worse than conventional speed boats. This article will update my earlier Attorney Writes column on wake boats from the Fall 2013 issue of the Riparian Magazine called “Of Mosquitoes and Killer Bees.”

As wake boarding has steadily increased in popularity over the past decade, statewide sales of recreational boats designed to create large, high energy wakes have also increased dramatically. Intense competition among wake boat manufacturers has led to the development of new technologies to improve the ability of their boats to create increasingly high energy wakes. Variable, high volume ballast systems, as well as specially designed hulls, propellers and powertrains, have all led to significant improvement in the performance of wake boats in recent years. The potential for collateral damage to docks, hoists, moored boats and other shoreline equipment as well as the potential for shoreline erosion increases with wake boat displacement, engine and hull size, and speed. Ballast-laden wake boats operating at even moderate speeds are capable of producing surface and near-surface wake related energy levels that substantially exceeds the energy created by even the largest of waves induced by intense summer thunderstorms and/or high winds on inland lakes.

Why are wake boats such a problem on Michigan inland lakes? There are generally at least three problems associated with such watercraft. First, they are having significant negative environmental impacts on lakes. Why? Wake boats are designed not only to throw a larger wake or wave than conventional boats, but their propulsion system and deep wakes disturb the bottom lands of the lake involved to a much greater depth and degree than other boats. Given such boats’ hyper-wave effect, they tend to keep lake waters churned up (and murky) as well as continually disturbing the bottom lands of the shallower lakes, which imperils natural aquatic plants, insects, fish and microscopic life. Many of the adverse environmental impacts remain unknown and untested at this time.

Second, wake boats are destroying natural shorelines, seawalls and other shoreline protective structures throughout the state. Waves created by wake boats are not only larger and more intense than waves created by conventional boats, they also slam into shorelines and seawalls with much greater force and velocity. Many riparian landowners have reported that seawalls and shorelines which have for years been able to withstand conventional boating activity are being destroyed or disrupted in relatively short periods of time by the large waves from wake boats. In many instances, the operators of wake boats are destroying the private property of others.
Finally, wake boats present significant safely hazards to other boaters, swimmers and even people resting or sitting on or in moored boats, swim rafts and docks. It is not uncommon for the wave from a wake boat to cause a person to fall down on or fall off of a dock or moored boat, or even break boat mooring lines.

Unfortunately, on a relatively small lake, just a few wake boats operated irresponsibly (and even sometimes, operated in a normal fashion) can destroy many of the attributes that makes lake living attractive.

What can be done to resolve the problems associated with wake boats? Sadly, in Michigan, the options appear to be limited. Some of the possible solutions are as follows:

A. More vigorous enforcement of existing Michigan boating laws.
Existing Michigan laws already make it illegal to operate a boat at a wake producing speed within a certain distance of the shore, a dock, a swim raft, a swimmer, a fisherman or sailboats. Furthermore, the improper use of a wake boat could constitute careless or even reckless boating in a given situation. More vigorous enforcement of these laws as to wake boats could make a difference.

B. Special watercraft rules.
Pursuant to MCL 324.80108 et seq., the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (the “DNR”), in conjunction with a local municipality, can adopt one or more special watercraft rules for a given inland lake. The special watercraft rules include no wake areas, no wake lakes, a limitation on hours for high speed boating and water skiing and similar restrictions. Unfortunately, however, the statute does not allow the adoption of a special watercraft rule to ban or regulate certain types of boats, such as wake boats. Furthermore, the DNR generally will not agree to adopt a special watercraft rule unless there is a demonstrated safety problem with the lake involved.

C. The possibility of a municipality adopting its own local ordinance regarding wake boats.
Theoretically, a Michigan township, city or village could adopt a local ordinance (without DNR involvement) to regulate or potentially even ban wake boats on some or all lakes within the municipality. Miller v Fabius Township Board, 366 Mich 250 (1962). However, it is also possible that any such regulations are preempted by either state or federal law. Preemption occurs where either the federal or state government has taken away (or severely curtailed) the ability of a local government to regulate a particular area. Michigan courts have not yet ruled regarding whether the special watercraft rule procedure found in MCL 324.80108 et seq. preempts the ability of local municipalities to regulate on-water activities on their own.

D. State legislation.
The Michigan legislature has full power to regulate or even ban wake boats on Michigan inland lakes. However, due to the lobbying power of the boating industry, such regulations are not likely to be enacted. Nevertheless, it should also be pointed out that even if the sale and use of wake boats were prohibited or significantly regulated, it likely would not adversely affect commerce or the boating industry for the simple fact that almost all of the people who would purchase wake boats would buy other conventional boats as an alternative. One common sense legislative proposal would be for the Michigan Legislature to adopt a law or statute that prohibits wake boats from being used on inland lakes under a certain size (for example, 2,000 acres) and to forbid wake boats from being used (or at least their bladders or mega-wave capabilities from being used) within so many feet of the shoreline (for example, 1,000 feet). Such regulations could help minimize the adverse safety, environmental and property damage effects of wake boats.

E. Private civil damages lawsuits.
If a wake boat damages a riparian’s dock, swim raft, seawall or other property, that riparian might have the ability to pursue a damages lawsuit against the operator of the wake boat involved. However, such lawsuits would likely be not only expensive, but could potentially be difficult to win. Damage to seawalls and other property is often cumulative and may not be caused simply by one wake boat.

F. A riparian rights lawsuit.
In Michigan, a lakefront or riparian property owner can only use his or her lake frontage and the surface of the water of the lake in a reasonable fashion. See Thompson v Enz, 379 Mich 667; 154 NW2d 473 (1967); Three Lakes Assn v Kessler, 91 Mich App 371; 285 NW2d 300 (1979); Pierce v Riley, 81 Mich App 39; 264 NW2d 110 (1978); West Michigan & Market Corp v Lakeland Investments, 210 Mich App 505; 534 NW2d 212 (1995), and Square Lake Hills Condo Assn v Bloomfield Twp, 437 Mich 310; 471 NW2d 321 (1991). On a given lake (particularly a smaller inland lake), one or more riparian property owners could theoretically pursue a lawsuit against the operator of a wake boat for unreasonably interfering with the riparian rights of others. To the extent that the wake boat damages a riparian’s lake bottom lands, seawall or other property, or effectively “crowds out” other riparians from using the lake, that could potentially be actionable via a civil lawsuit. The idea is somewhat novel, but could potentially evolve into court sanctioned litigation.

Many of the problems created by wake boats are a result of operators not being thoughtful of their neighbors and fellow riparians. Following the Golden Rule would likely cut down significantly on the problems caused by wake boats.

Should you feel strongly regarding this matter, please contact your local Michigan senator or representative. You can also contact the Michigan Waterfront Alliance at (989) 821-6661 or at www.mwai.org.

Join the Adventures in Collective Water Management Network on Friday, November 17th

By | News, Special Events

This webinar is the 4th in a series of free, on-going support for Riparians and Local Government Officials following the MLSA Conference in April 2017.

 On November 17, 2017, at 1:30 PM, The Adventures in Collective Water Management Network will be offering a forum to learn about local efforts for managing wastewater and sewage in your community/watershed,  The emphasis will be on septic and sewer systems. This unique webinar format (you can login from anywhere via the internet) invites participants to contribute to the conversation.

If you are inspired to help prevent future damage from wastewater and sewage in your local community, you will not want to miss this free online meeting. Space for the webinar is limited. Advance registration is required and can be found at https://glccn.org/groups/adventures-in-collective-water-management/  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Registration will be accepted until 11:30 AM on Nov 17, 2017, or until all available participant connections are taken.

Previous sessions have included local actions for: Zoning Overlay Districts for Watershed Protection, Managing Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS), and Management of Storm Water.

 For more information contact:  Monica Day, Extension Educator – Water Resources, Michigan State University Extension

517-768-2046 (office), 517-604-9500 (cell); or Paul J. Sniadecki,  269-329-8320

Michigan Senate to Consider Regulating “No Greater Than the Feds,” Hand Over Protection of Clean Air and Water to Trump Administration

By | News

by Mitch Barrows
Freshwater Future Policy Associate
E-mail: mitch@freshwaterfuture.org

The Michigan state House voted in May 57 to 50 in favor of a bill (HB‐4205) designed to restrict the ability of state agencies to create regulatory rules that are stronger than federal standards. If passed by the state Senate and signed by Governor Snyder, this bill may end up as the most consequential Michigan environmental law in decades, impacting efforts to prevent invasive species, keep our drinking water clean, and more.

Under the potential law, the directors of executive agencies like the Department of Environmental Quality would face an additional burden of proving “a clear and convincing need” to exceed the federal standard. Agencies would be required to prepare and present “impact statement[s],” which are notably required to emphasize the “cost of compliance” for businesses rather than potential public benefits and positive impacts.

With Scott Pruitt as EPA Director, federal environmental regulations will undoubtedly erode. As Oklahoma Attorney General, Pruitt sued the EPA 14 times over the agency’s Clean Power Plan, Clean Water Rule, and established limits on mercury, methane, and ozone pollution. Pruitt’s EPA has already reversed 23 environmental regulations in its first 100 days, and President Trump has further committed to rolling back two administrative rules for every new rule enacted.

Representative Triston Cole (R‐Mancelona) of the 105th House district (Charlevoix, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, and Oscoda counties) introduced the bill, claiming that the legislation would serve as a ‘check’ on the regulatory system. But if passed, this bill would surrender the security of Michigan’s natural resources to a federal administration working against efforts to safeguard land and water resources that are essential to our economy and way of life.

Federal regulations are baseline protections developed for watersheds and habitats ranging from the Alaskan arctic to the Arizona desert; they are not meant to be comprehensive. The Great Lakes holds twenty percent of the world’s fresh water, and harbors thousands of specialized watersheds. Stewardship of Michigan’s unique and priceless natural resources requires stable, attentive, and proactive management. House bill 4205 is antithetical to Michigan values and our nation’s decentralized system of government, and would hamstring those in power charged with resource conservation.

Visit http://act.freshwaterfuture.org/page/speakout/no‐greater‐than‐the‐feds to find your state Senator and tell them to vote NO on “No Greater Than the Feds.”

Learn about Michigan’s Lakes on-line from MSU Extension

By | News

LSLI IMageThe Michigan State University Extension Introduction to Lakes course is being offered online January 2018 and registration is now open! This popular six-week course is offered in a convenient self-paced online format and is designed for anyone interested in lakes, including lakefront property owners, lake users, local government officials, lake managers and educators. Over the last two years, 235 lake enthusiasts across Michigan and surrounding states participated in the class.

The online format allows you, from the comfort of your home or office, to have week-by-week, 24/7 access to six online units — complete with video lectures, activities, resources, discussion forums, quizzes, and Ask-an-Expert webinar sessions with Michigan State University Extension.  Through this convenient format you can increase your knowledge and understanding of lake ecology, lake and their watersheds, shorelines, Michigan water law, aquatic plant management, and citizen involvement. The course schedule allows for regular online communication with classmates and course instructors.

The 2018 course runs January 23 – March 9. Ask-an-Expert webinars are scheduled from 12 to 1 p.m. February 7, February 21, and March 7, 2018. The cost of the course is $115 per person. Register by December 22, 2017 for an early bird discounted price of $95 per person. Registration ends January 16, 2018.

For more details about Introduction to Lakes and to register visit the MSU Extension Introduction to Lakes webpage.

Fourteen Michigan Department of Rural Development Pesticide Applicator Recertification credits, 14 Michigan Department of Education State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH), and 6 Master Citizen Planner Education Credits are available for this course.

A Hot Topic for Lake and Waterfront Home Owners: Short Term Rentals

By | News

 

By Lon Nordeen
Michigan Waterfront Alliance
Board of Directors

This issue has generated a considTrevor-WI-2-05beb5erable amount of interest and debate in Michigan recently and there are a number of good reasons for all of the controversy. First is the accelerating trend toward owners of residential homes, second homes, cabins, condominiums and other residential dwellings (many located on or near lakes or other water bodies) offering their property out for daily or short- term rental to secure additional cash flow through programs like Air BNB, VRBO, Home Away or other concepts which are often scheduled on the computer through third party agencies. This is a different concept than the older rental models we have long seen with weekly to monthly vacation rentals or other housing deals for longer term use by a single family or group that sign a lease.

There are pros and cons with this short-term lease concept:

Pro: property owners have the opportunity to expand their revenue sources and more use of their residence. Realtors and other groups also benefit. The consumers benefit as they have additional short-term housing options outside of traditional hotels, motels, bed and Breakfasts etc.

Con: Noise, increased traffic and activity, rentals may change character of neighborhood, lack of control, possible real or perceived impact on property values, lake/water impact.

Zoning Issues: The MI Zoning Enabling Act gives townships and counties primary responsibility for local zoning and control. Since the expanded short-term rental concept is a relatively new many of these local government bodies have not created new ordinances and rules covering this issue. However due to neighbor concerns and complaints, some townships have begun to address this issue. Actions taken by local townships and municipalities in Michigan have ranged from banning short-term rentals, placing limits on the duration of such activity, and local efforts to beef up zoning and building code rules to try and limit homeowner options.

Since in nature – every action causes a equal and opposite reaction – homeowners wanting to participate in short term rentals have sought solutions in Lansing. Legislative action on this issue has been proposed by Senator Joseph Hune R-22nd District introduced SB 329 and Representative Jason Sheppard R-Bedford R-56th district, HB 4503. Both bills are in their respective Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committees for review since April 2017. These bills would allow residents to have short term rentals for up to 28 days and classify this effort as a residential not commercial property use so that all residential dwelling could classify. MI residents have voiced strong views to their elected representatives about this issue.

House Bill 4503 as proposed:  April 25, 2017, Introduced by Rep. Sheppard and referred to the Committee on Tourism and Outdoor Recreation. A bill to amend 2006 PA 110, entitled “Michigan zoning enabling act,” (MCL 125.3101 to 125.3702) by adding section 206b. THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:  SEC. 206B. (1) FOR THE PURPOSES OF ZONING, ALL OF THE FOLLOWING APPLY TO THE RENTAL OF A DWELLING, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, SHORT-TERM RENTAL: (A) IT IS A RESIDENTIAL USE OF PROPERTY AND A PERMITTED USE IN ALL RESIDENTIAL ZONES. (B) IT IS NOT SUBJECT TO A SPECIAL USE OR CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT OR PROCEDURE DIFFERENT FROM THOSE REQUIRED FOR OTHER DWELLINGS IN THE SAME ZONE.  (C) IT IS NOT A COMMERCIAL USE OF PROPERTY. THIS SECTION DOES NOT PROHIBIT REGULATION APPLIED ON A CONSISTENT BASIS TO RENTAL AND OWNER-OCCUPIED RESIDENCES FOR NOISE, ADVERTISING, TRAFFIC, OR OTHER CONDITIONS. AS USED IN THIS SECTION, “SHORT-TERM RENTAL” MEANS THE RENTAL OF ANY SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE OR 1-TO-4-FAMILY HOUSE OR DWELLING UNIT, OR ANY UNIT OR GROUP OF UNITS IN A CONDOMINIUM, FOR TERMS OF LESS THAN 28 DAYS AT A TIME.

“I introduced this biRep Jason Sheppardll to prevent the over-reach of local governments from banning homeowners renting out their home on a short-term basis. We promote to other states to come take a vacation in Michigan and we want to make sure visitors have a place that will accommodate them, to get the best experience of our beautiful State, whether that be a hotel or a short-term house rental.” said Representative Jason Sheppard (56th- Temperance) “To me, this is about you, a homeowner, and your right to rent out your home” added Sheppard. If successful, the legislation would serve to “take away” local control of vacation and short-term rentals.

In Michigan, the realtor association has taken up the cause to fight for short term rentals.

PRESERVE PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS
ADVOCACY INITIATIVES / PRESERVE PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS

Protect Property Rights and Help Michigan’s Tourism Industry
Tell Your Legislators to Support SB 329/HB 4503
Michigan has been a vacation and tourism destination for decades. The short-term rental of a fully furnished vacation home has long been a valued option for vacationers in Michigan.

 

CON Voices————————————————————————————————————————–

Also, there are many groups opposing these MI House and Senate Bills. The Michigan Municipal League has stated: “Short-term rentals are causing problems in many communities around the state by creating commercial activity in residential areas. Residential zoning exists to preserve the charter of neighborhoods and protect the property values for every home”.

The Michigan Township Authority has taken a strong position in opposition to these bills since they would reduce local control of zoning.
Providing analysis and insights for all things legislative impacting Michigan’s townships
________________________________________
Short-term rentals, property tax exemptions for disabled veterans and pension reform all top the legislative agenda when lawmakers return to Lansing next month.
Both the House and Senate are on summer recess, putting all bills on hold while representatives and senators work in their districts. But when they return after Labor Day, they’re expected to dive into a large number of issues that will impact townships.

Short-term rentals—Of particular concern is legislation that would take townships out of the equation when it comes to regulating short-term vacation rentals. Two bills—House Bill 4503, sponsored by Rep. Jason Sheppard (R-Bedford Twp.), and Senate Bill 329, sponsored by Sen. Joe Hune (R-Hamburg Twp.)—would effectively strip townships and other municipalities of their authority to regulate where vacation and short-term rentals can be located. Instead, the bills would specify that short-term rentals of 28 days or less are a residential—not commercial—property use, allowing them in all residential zones.

Townships also could not require any special use permit of rentals that they don’t require for all other residential homes. Their ability to regulate would instead be limited to ordinances on noise, advertising, traffic and other conditions—completely dismantling ordinances enacted in townships throughout Michigan to help curb problems arising from short-term rentals.

The legislation also could impact communities that have rental ordinances as well as future zoning by local government.

The Legislature is expected to take up the HB 4503 and SB 329 this fall. MTA continues to urge township officials to contact their state representative and state senator to stop this harmful legislation.
—————————————————————————————————————————————-
The Michigan Lake and Stream Associations has had many calls from its members and lake residents about this issue and has referred callers to the Michigan Waterfront Alliance. If you feel strongly about this issue please contact your local government body and state elected officials.
——————————————————————————————————————————————

 

 

 

 

Join the “Adventures in Collective Water Management Network” on Friday, September 15th for an informative discussion about managing stormwater

By | News

This webinar is the 3rd in a series of free, on-going support for riparians following the ML&SA Conference in April 2017.

In Michigan, local communities have authority to require development standards that will lower the damage resulting from heavy rains and major storms. Adoption of many protections is the choice of local government. Do you want to know if your community has the needed protections, or if there is something more they could do? Do you have experience that you think has worked and you think could work elsewhere?

On Sept. 15, 2017, at 1:30 PM, The Adventures in Collective Water Management Network will be offering a forum to learn about local efforts for managing stormwater. This unique webinar format invites participants to contribute to the conversation. If you are inspired to help prevent future damage from storms in your local community, you will not want to miss this free online meeting.

Program Agenda:

1:30 – 1:40 P. M. Meeting Guidelines and program introduction – Monica Day, Water Resources Educator, MSU Extension

1:40 – 2:00 P. M. Who’s Who: Introductions of panelists and participants – Francisco Ollervides, Leadership Development Manager, River Network

2:00 – 2:15 P. M. Review the Rules Part 1: Stormwater management from a national perspective: CWA and Stormwater Management – Katherine Baer, Director Science and Policy, River Network

2:15 – 2:30 P. M. Review the Rules Part 2: Stormwater management: state role – Christe Alwin, MS4 Program Coordinator, Water Resources Division, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

2:30 – 3:00 P. M. Get er dun: “Protecting water resources and public health with a regional sewer district” Chuck Olson, OMM Engineering

3:00 – 3:15 P. M. Energize with soft skills: What science says about how to gain and keep volunteers – Monica Day, Water Resources Educator, MSU Extension

3:15 – 3:30 P. M. Appreciations and Announcements Francisco Ollervides, Leadership Development Manager, RN

•  Space for the webinar is limited. Advance registration is required and can be found at https://glccn.org/groups/adventures-in-collective-water-management/ here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Registration will be accepted until 1130am on 9/15/2017.

Aquatic Invasive Species Alert! Red Swamp Crayfish Detected in Michigan

By | News

AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES ALERT!

Red Swamp Crayfish
(Procambarus clarkii)

*Detected in Michigan*

Identification:
•  Dark red color with bright red raised spots, look like small lobsters
•  Elongated claws and bony exoskeleton
•  Elongated head with a triangular rostrum
•  2.2 inches – 4.7 inches in length
Habitat: Red swamp crayfish live in Red Swamp Crayfisha variety of permanent freshwater habitats. Crayfish are crustaceans that burrow deep into the substrate of their habitat and create large mounds of sand and soil called chimneys with a relatively large hole in the center.
Diet: Crayfish feed heavily on snails, fish, amphibians, and plants.
Native Range: Mississippi river drainage and Gulf coast

U.S. Distribution (outside of native range): Established populations in California, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Introduced but not established in Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, and New York.
Local Concern: Red swamp crayfish compete aggressively with native crayfish species for food and habitat. Feeding behavior reduces the amount of available habitat for amphibians, invertebrates, and juvenile fish. Burrowing and foraging behavior can also lead to summer cyanobacteria blooms and eutrophic conditions.
Other Names: Louisiana crayfish, crawfish, crawdads. Louisiana “mudbugs”

Potential Means of Introduction: Aquaculture/aquarium trade, classroom/laboratory release, live bait dumping, small chance of introduction through fish stocking events

Report this species to Seth Herbst, MDNR, at herbsts1@michigan.gov or 517-284-5841 or at www.misin.msu.edu or download the MISIN app to your smartphone

To view an invasive red swamp crayfish focused  YouTube video that was recently produced by the
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality  click here

Exploring the Role of Local Units of Government in Lake and AIS Management Workshop

By | News, Special Events

ML&SA Annual Conference Workshop Follow-up

Presenters for the “Exploring the Critical Role of Local Units of Government in Lake and Aquatic Invasive Management” workshop that occurred during the 2017 Michigan Lake and Stream Associations annual conference continue to have bi-monthly “Zoom Meetings” with those who attended the original workshop, and any other interested persons.

The first learning and support session occurred on Friday, May 19, 2017, with many local government officials, riparians, and subject-matter experts participating from around the state using the Zoom Meeting internet connection. Participants explored the use of Overlay Districts as a planning and zoning approach to protect water resources. Also discussed during the session were success stories about interaction with agricultural stakeholders to enhance water quality efforts.

The next Zoom Meeting will be held on Friday, July 21, 2017 from 1:30 – 3:30 PM.

The deadline to register for this session is 1:30 PM on Thursday, July 20.

To download and/or view the agenda for the session, click here

Here’s the link to find out more about this great learning opportunity and to register for the event:

https://glccn.org/groups/adventures-in-collective-water-management/

Everyone is invited to participate. The session will focus on the question/issue:
“Is the management of aquatic invasive species (AIS) a controversial subject in your area?” The Zoom webinar will cover tips for moving forward despite differences of opinion between riparians and fishing enthusiasts, demystify the DEQ aquatic nuisance plant treatment permitting process, and showcase stories from the frontlines in local rule making for boat washing, and the deployment of boat wash facilities.

The information posted in the “Adventures” group continues to expand, and is relevant for riparians, environmentalists, and local government officials.

Note: The Great Lakes Clean Communities Network hosts documents related to the annual conference workshop, and the bi-monthly Zoom Meetings. There is no fee for registration, however, use of a high quality internet access connection is highly recommended.

For more information, contact Monica Day, Michigan State University Extension Water Resources Educator, at 517-768-2046 (office).

Investigating Lake Ecology at Independence Oaks County Parks

By | News, Special Events

 

With more than 1,400, Oakland County has more inland lakes than any other county in Michigan. Each lake has unique ecological properties which people influence by their activities on the land and in the water. In this hands-on workshop, participants will investigate lakes, common aquatic vegetation and their role in keeping lakes healthy, aquatic invasive species that threaten lakes, the effects of seasonal changes on lakes, as well as the physical, chemical and biological properties of the water. The workshop will be led by Michigan State University’s Dr. Lois Wolfson, Oakland County Park’s Melissa Nawrocki and Kegan Schildberg, and Michigan State University Extension’s Bindu Bhakta and Erick Elgin. Participants will have the opportunity to explore Independence Oaks County Park’s Crooked Lake via pontoon boat. Activities will also take place inside the Wint Nature Center, inside the Park.

Date, Place of the Event:

Saturday, July 22, 2017 at Independence Oaks County Park in the Wint Nature Center, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston, Michigan 48348.

Workshop Agenda:

8:30- 9:00 AM           Registration/check-in, light refreshments, educational displays

9:00- 1:00 PM           Workshop

 Location Details:

https://www.oakgov.com/parks/parksandtrails/independence-oaks/Pages/default.aspx

 Workshop Objectives:

  • Investigate components of ecology and seasonal changes that can impact a lake ecosystem
  • Explore water chemistry and other physical/biological tests to gauge lake health
  • Explore aquatic life in the lake’s transition zone (area between land and water) that helps promote a healthy ecosystem
  • Collect and identify native aquatic plant species
  • Collect and identify aquatic invasive species, and how to prevent their spread

About the Instructors/Organizers:

This workshop is sponsored by Michigan State University Extension and Oakland County Parks.

Dr. Lois Wolfson is a senior specialist with the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and Institute of Water Research at Michigan State University. She also represents MSU Extension for the North Central Region Water Network. Her work focuses on educational and outreach programming in aquatic ecology, invasive species, and watershed management and in utilizing computerized information systems as tools for understanding water related issues. Dr. Wolfson teaches an upper level undergraduate field and laboratory course which offers experiential learning for students interested in lake and stream processes and biotic interactions, and is also an instructor for MSU Extension’s online Introduction to Lakes course. She received her masters of sciences degree in botany and doctoral degree in fisheries and wildlife from Michigan State University.

Erick Elgin is a Water Resources Educator for Michigan State University Extension. His job responsibilities include providing expertise in aquatic ecology to the state of Michigan and delivering educational programs that promote our understanding about water resources. Erick grew up on a small farm in Minnesota and went on to study water resources management and work with multiple habitat restoration companies and organizations. He has a master’s degree in aquatic ecology from the University of Calgary where he studied prairie pothole lakes in Alberta, Canada. He has extensive experience working with lakes, wetlands, and aquatic plants.

Melissa Nawrocki is the Recreation Program Supervisor and supports conservation education at Oakland County Parks. She also coordinates Parks’ citizen science programs and nature-based programs for the public.

Kegan Schildberg is the Natural Areas Stewardship Program Manager at Oakland County Parks, where he works on invasive species removal, prescribed burns, and habitat restoration. He also helps coordinate natural resource programs and events.

Bindu Bhakta is a Natural Resources Educator for Michigan State University Extension. She develops/delivers natural resources programs such as inland lake management, landscaping for water quality, and septic system education. She also helps coordinate the Michigan Conservation Stewards Program, which gives individuals the tools they need to conduct conservation-oriented volunteer service in Southeast Michigan and across the state.

Pre-registration is required. Registration cost is $40/person on or before July 14, 2017. The cost is $50/person on or after July 15, 2017. Workshop registration fee includes park entry, light morning refreshments, and educational resources.

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development pesticide applicator recertification credits have been submitted for approval for this workshop.

Deadline to register is July 21, 2017. After this date, please call (248) 858-1639 to see if space is still available.

A $25/person cancellation fee will be assessed for those requesting a refund by July 21st. No refunds will be given after July 21st.

Register online: https://events.anr.msu.edu/lakeecology2017/
If you are have trouble registering online, call (248) 858-1639.

Contact person(s), phone and email:

Workshop questions— Bindu Bhakta: (248) 858-5198 or bhaktabi@anr.msu.edu

Registration questions— Cathy Morris: (248) 858-1639 or morrisc@oakgov.com

For more information about MSU Extension Oakland County:
http://msue.anr.msu.edu/

http://www.oakgov.com/msu/

 For more information about Oakland County Parks:

http://www.destinationoakland.com/Pages/default.aspx

 MSU is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or veteran status.