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:
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).
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.
8:30- 9:00 AM Registration/check-in, light refreshments, educational displays
9:00- 1:00 PM Workshop
- 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:
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 email@example.com
Registration questions— Cathy Morris: (248) 858-1639 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about MSU Extension Oakland County:
For more information about Oakland County Parks:
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.
Lake residents across the state are taking note of the importance of healthy shoreline habitat by signing up to Score the Shore of their inland lake. The Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps; https://micorps.net) statewide volunteer monitoring program recently added this parameter for lake associations, lake residents, and local governments to protect high quality shorelines and to be aware of degraded shorelines that could benefit from improvements. The process starts by taking an aerial map of your lake and dividing it into 1000 foot sections. Volunteers assess each section separately to provide a section score, and at the end, a whole lake score is defined on a 0-100 scale.
While completing the Score the Shore procedure, volunteers look at the number of docks and homes, the percent of aquatic vegetation, terrestrial vegetation, and erosion control practices. Higher scores are calculated in sections with larger percentages of submerged or emergent vegetation as well as shoreline vegetation since these are important habitat for fish, birds, amphibians, and other animals. In addition, less impervious surfaces and wider vegetation buffers between maintained lawns and the water’s edge help preserve water quality by limiting erosion and slowing rain runoff.
If you are interested in becoming a MiCorps volunteer and signing up for Score the Shore in 2018, please review our website at https://micorps.net/lake-monitoring/become-a-volunteer/ or contact Jean Roth at 989-257-3715.
- Are you tired of funding the management of aquatic invasive species on your lake that were introduced by recreational boaters using the local MI Department of Natural Resources public boating access site?
- Are you just a bit angry that recreational boaters using your lake are not being asked to contribute their fair share to the battle against aquatic invasive species?
- Are you worried about the fact that your lakefront residential property values are influenced by the presence of aquatic invasive species?
- Are you concerned about the fact that it is nearly impossible to find an inland lake in Michigan that does not currently host one or more potentially harmful aquatic invasive species?
- Are you aware of the fact that inland lakes are Michigan’s most valuable natural resource, and that our state legislature has appropriated almost nothing in the way of budget resources to help ensure they remain healthy and viable?
If your answer is yes to any of these important questions, please make your voice is heard by downloading, completing, and mailing in the resolution that appears at the link below.
Sponsored by the Michigan Waterfront Alliance, Inc., this resolution has been written in order to help focus the attention of our state legislators on the increasingly significant issues associated with the steadily increasing presence of aquatic invasive species within our inland waters.
You may submit the resolution on behalf of your lake association, or as a concerned Michigan individual.
To download the Michigan Waterfront Alliance, Inc. sponsored aquatic invasive species focused resolution, click here
By Clifford H. Bloom, Esq.
Bloom Sluggett PC
Grand Rapids, Michigan
There have been many headaches for lakefront property owners in Michigan over the years, particularly with regard to the latest watercraft “toy”. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, the main safety problem on inland lakes was speed boats (with or without water skiers) operated in a fast or unsafe fashion. During the 1980’s, the proliferation of jet skis or personal watercraft struck many riparians as a nuisance and safety hazard. Today, riparians are becoming increasingly concerned about the popularity of “wave boats” (also sometimes referred to as bladder boats, wave runner boats or wakeboard boats). Unfortunately, the impact of wave boats on Michigan inland lakes appears to be dramatically worse than the negative consequences of personal watercraft and conventional speed boats. As one law enforcement officer put it, personal watercraft are mosquitos and problem speed boats are bumble bees, while wave boats are African killer bees!
What is a wave boat? It is a watercraft of speed boat size (or slightly larger in some cases) that uses mechanical means to fill reservoirs (sometimes called “bladders”) with water or other liquid to increase the boat’s weight and mass, and to raise or lower the boat in the water. Depending upon how a wave boat is operated, it can throw a tremendous wake and create huge artificial waves. In fact, such boats are actually designed and intended to throw huge waves. That is part of the fun associated with these watercraft – they create waves that can be “surfed” by water skiers or wake boarders.
There are three major concerns regarding the use of wave boats in inland lakes. First, on many lakes, they have had severe negative environmental impacts. If one of the purposes of a wave boat is to create huge waves, that goal has proven all too successful! On some lakes, wave boats have caused considerable erosion along the shoreline and banks of the lake. Many riparian landowners have had to install new seawalls, rocks and other shoreline protection devices to protect against the huge waves and wakes intentionally generated by wave boats. Some riparians have even had to install larger seawalls to guard against increased erosion, as their existing seawalls are not adequate. Wave boats also keep the water “churned up,” particularly in shallower areas, thus disturbing plant life, fish, aquatic insects and other natural lake organisms.
The second negative impact of wave boats is property destruction (beyond the negative impacts of erosion). Riparians throughout the state have reported instances of moored boats being swamped, boat tether lines snapping, adjoining anchored boats being slammed into each other and similar property destruction caused by the huge waves generated by wave boats.
The third and final problem associated with wave boats involves safety. There have been reports throughout Michigan of people being thrown off swim rafts and even other boats due to the waves generated by a wave boat passing too close. The risk for bodily injury and even death to others associated with wave boats passing too close to (or even running into) other boats, swim rafts, fishing boats, or swimmers is obvious.
Can anything be done to solve the problems associated with wave boats? Many believe that wave boats should only be operated on the Great Lakes (and at some distance from the shore) or in very large inland lakes far away from the shore. However, there is no statute in Michigan that regulates or treats wave boats differently than conventional speed boats or pontoons. For decades, it has been the general policy of the State of Michigan not to “discriminate” against any particular type of boat or watercraft. A cynic might say that state officials believe that any type of substantial regulation of watercraft (including even potentially dangerous watercraft) would adversely impact tourism.
It is likely that the most practical way of minimizing the adverse impacts of wave boats is to vigorously enforce state boating laws. For example, any type of motor or power boat operated at greater than a slow or no-wake speed must remain at least 100 feet away from the shore, a dock or swim raft, a marked swim area, a swimmer or an anchored vessel. Both careless and reckless use of a watercraft are illegal. Water skiers and wakeboard users must also generally remain at least 100 feet away from any dock, swimming area or an anchored vessel. If such regulations are vigorously enforced, it could minimize the dangerous aspects of wave boats and even lessen shoreline erosion, but not completely solve the problem.
In addition, associations for lakes with heavy power boat usage (including potentially, wave boats) should consider “purchasing” extra sheriff marine safety patrol hours. That is a fairly common practice for many populated lakes throughout Michigan. The physical presence of law enforcement officials on a given lake normally does have a big impact upon boating speed and safety.
Some owners of wave boats argue that it is not fair to “profile” or “discriminate against” a particular type of watercraft. However, it cannot be denied that the impacts of wave boats on inland lakes in Michigan (particularly, smaller lakes) can be much more severe than conventional speed boats. Few would argue that it would be appropriate to use a huge cabin cruiser or a “cigar” power boat in a small inland lake. Highly specialized race cars of the type used at the Indianapolis 500 or the Daytona 500 races could be driven on the streets of a residential subdivision, but that certainly would not be safe or reasonable! The problems associated with wave boats are different from other watercraft, not only in kind but also in magnitude and intensity.
By Scott Brown
ML&SA Executive Director
Michigan Lake and Stream Associations continues to receive numerous e-mails and phone calls from lakefront property owners expressing their concern regarding damage to docks, moored boats, and shorelines caused by the increasingly large number of wake boats operating on Michigan’s inland waters. As wakeboarding 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 deployed 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.
If you and/or your lakefront neighbors experience personal property, and/or shoreline erosion related damage during the coming summer as a result of wake boat operation, please be sure to contact your local law enforcement agency with specific information regarding the time and date of the incident(s), a detailed description of the damage, along with videos or photographs, and the registration number of the watercraft rendering the damage. The steadily increasing number of reports from those living on Michigan’s lakefronts regarding the negative impact of wake boats on inland lake fish and wildlife habitat, native aquatic plant communities, lake water quality, and on personal shoreline property, strongly suggests that the time has come for the State of Michigan to intervene by more effectively regulating the operation of wake boats on our inland lakes. In the interim, Michigan Lake and Stream Associations recommends the following operating guidelines which are intended to help minimize the ecological and environmental impacts of wake boats. Wake boat operators should be advised to:
1. Reduce their speed within 500 feet of shore;
2. Not add ballast water or other extra weight to increase the displacement of their boats;
3. Not operate wake boats near sandy areas, natural shorelines, wetlands or lakefront residences;
4. Avoid turning wake boats in tight circles (tight circles increase wave height and frequency);
5. Avoid operating wake boats in shallow water and/ or near natural shorelines.
This July, MSU Extension will offer two workshops in the UP on Protecting Lake Shorelines: A Program for Lakefront Property Owners and Local Government Officials.
The MSU Extension workshop will teach lake property owners and local officials the benefits of maintaining shorelines in a natural state and teach about tools and resources for property owners to plan and protect natural shorelines. Additionally, local government officials will learn how to better accommodate lakes in plans and local regulations. Specific topics include Introduction to Shorelines; Planning, designing your natural shoreline project; Maintenance and Natural Shoreline Successes; Planning and Zoning for Natural Shorelines; Michigan Shoreline Rules and Regulations; and Michigan Shoreland Stewards Program. Participants will also enjoy a field component examining local natural shoreline projects.
Workshops will be taught by natural resource and public policy experts from MSU Extension. The workshop locations and dates are:
· July 27, 2017 – Curtis, Portage Township Community Building, W17361 Davis St.
· July 28, 2017 – Watersmeet, Lac Vieux Desert Resort Casino, US Hwy 45
The workshops run from 9:30am to 5pm. The cost is $40 for individuals if registered on or before July 6 ($60 after), or $60 for a couple only receiving one set of materials ($80 after July 6). Registration includes snacks, lunch, and a copy of the MSU Extension bulletin Natural Shoreline Landscapes on Michigan’s Inland Lakes – a $25 resource. Early registration ends July 6, 2017, with late registration available through July 20.
Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer – so, PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD by forwarding this email, circulating the attached PDF flier, or posting the attached graphic on social media!
For more information and to register, visit https://events.anr.msu.edu/upnaturalshorelines.
This program is supported in part by the Eastern Upper Peninsula Regional Planning & Development Commission. Also, members of the Cisco Chain Riparian Owners Association or the Invasive Species Control Coalition of Watersmeet wishing to attend will be reimbursed the early registration price upon completion of the workshop.
Please send questions to Brad Neumann, Michigan State University Extension, 906-315-2661 or email@example.com
by Alisha Davidson, PhD
ML&SA Research & Development Coordinator
As waters warm up this summer, riparians head to the beaches and into the water. While the vast majority of inland and Great Lakes waters are safe for recreation, users should be aware of the potential for contamination and resulting illness. Freshwater lakes and rivers can be contaminated with germs from failing septic systems, animal and human waste deposited near or in the water, and water runoff following rainfall that can bring contaminants from throughout the watershed. Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) are diseases that are spread by swallowing, breathing, or having contact with this contaminated water. RWIs can include a wide variety of infections, including gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic and wound infections. The most commonly reported RWI is diarrhea, which can be caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites such as Crypto (short for Cryptosporidium), Giardia, Shigella, norovirus, and E. coli O157:H7.
Incidentally, contact with contaminated water occurs not only in lakes and ponds, but is actually more common in swimming pools. Last year, an incredible 58 percent of pool filters surveyed by the Center for Disease Control were found to contain E. coli. Fifty-nine percent of filters sampled contained Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Although the risk of contracting a RWI is higher in pools than lakes and rivers, some inland waters do have RWI-causing contaminants. Because of the risk of RWI, public health officials and some lake associations monitor lakes and beaches for contaminants. In 1986, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) recommended two new indicator organisms for recreational water quality assessment. They were enterococci (for both marine and fresh waters) and Escherichia coli (E. coli, for fresh waters only). These organisms were chosen based on epidemiological studies conducted at various beaches in the United States that showed a strong positive correlation between the organisms and the occurrence of swimming associated gastroenteritiss (diarrhea). As such, Michigan agencies use E. coli levels to assess water safety for recreational purposes. Results of the analysis are available after approximately 28 hours, so water-testing results are reported the following afternoon. E. coli bacteria are counted and judged against standards established by state rules. For more details on how this monitoring is completed and how the results are used to assess beach safety, visit http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,4561,7-135-3313_3681_3686_3730-11005–,00.html. A beach is closed if monitoring conducted by the county health department determined that levels of bacteria exceed the limits established by the Michigan Public Health Code. If a beach is closed due to bacterial contamination, county health departments will continue to monitor the water quality at the beach and will permit the beach to re-open when bacteria levels fall back within acceptable levels. It is possible that a beach could be closed for swimming but other recreational activities at the beach may still be available.
To find out about lakes and beaches in your area, start with your local county health department. Ask them what beaches they monitor, and how often; what they test for; where can the public view results (and get an explanation of what they mean); and what are the primary sources of pollution for your local beach? Owners of public bathing beaches must post a sign that states whether or not the bathing beach has been tested, and if so, where the test results may be accessed.
While monitoring is voluntary, health departments are required to notify the MI Department of Environmental Quality within 36 hours of conducting a test. Results of local beach and water monitoring are then compiled in the MI Department of Environmental Quality’s BeachGuard System (http://www.deq.state.mi.us/beach/). This website reports beach water quality sampling results and beach advisories and closures for 1221 public beaches and 519 private beaches. In addition to state and local health officials, it may also be useful to contact your lake association; some associations use member funds to protect the health of riparians by testing water more frequently (or testing when local officials do not have sufficient funding).
In addition to monitoring efforts by health officials and lake associations, RWIs can be prevented through responsible action by the public using the water and beaches. With funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Ottawa County Health Department recommends the following ways to prevent RWI:
• NEVER feed birds – that includes seagulls, ducks and mergansers
• Keep pets off the beach and pick up any waste that is near the water (i.e., could wash into the water with rain)
• Use the restroom before swimming
• Do not swallow lake water
• Wash your hands with soap and water before eating
• Do not swim in water that smells foul
• Shower when you return home
• Avoid swimming immediately after heavy rainfall
• Contact your local health official if you think your water is contaminated
This article is intended to inform, not frighten. While there is some risk of RWI when using inland waters, the U.S. (and particularly, Michigan) has some of the cleanest recreational waters in the world, thanks to efforts by the U.S. EPA, MI DEQ and ML&SA over recent decades. Please help continue this improvement by supporting federal, state and local environmental protection efforts!
May 2, 2017
Funding proposals for 2017 now are being accepted through the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program, with an anticipated $3.6 million available to applicants. The program – a joint effort of the Michigan departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Quality, and Agriculture and Rural Development – is part of a statewide initiative launched in 2014 to help prevent and control invasive species in Michigan.
An invasive species is one that is not native and whose introduction causes harm, or is likely to cause harm to Michigan’s economy, environment or human health.
“Michigan’s world-class natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities – and the local economies they help support – are under threat from a growing variety of invasive species in our woods and water,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “The Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program is a valuable resource that allows us to team up with community partners across the state to find new and better ways of preventing and containing these damaging land and water invaders.”
Program handbook, informational webinar
The 2017 grant program handbook, outlining focus areas and information on how to apply, is available on the DNR website www.michigan.gov/dnr-grants. A live webinar explaining the 2017 grant process and focus areas is scheduled for Tuesday, May 23, from 2 to 3 p.m. Interested applicants can register for the webinar at www.michigan.gov/invasivespecies. A recorded version of the webinar also will be available at this website after May 23.
Administered by the DNR, the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program supports projects throughout the state that prevent, detect, manage and eradicate invasive species on the ground and in the water. Total program funding is set by the Legislature and the governor during the annual budget cycle.
To date, the program has provided more than $11 million in grant funding, resulting in management of invasive species including Phragmites, Japanese knotweed and oak wilt disease on over 17,000 acres of public and private land and water statewide. New approaches for treating aquatic invasive species, including Eurasian watermilfoil, starry stonewort and sea lamprey are being explored. Highlights of the 2016 program can be found in the Michigan Invasive Species Program Annual Report.
Regional Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs) are operating in 77 of Michigan’s 83 counties, providing assistance to the public in identifying and managing invasive species. Contact information for individual CISMAs can be found in the Local Resources section of the invasive species website.
Focus areas for 2017
The 2017 grant program encourages the development of regional CISMAs in the six counties currently without coverage: Branch, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, St. Joseph, and Washtenaw. The program also offers continued support for existing CISMAs statewide.
Proposals to advance methods of aquatic invasive plant control are being sought in 2017, as well as those undertaking surveillance for emerging or potential infestations of hemlock woolly adelgid, balsam woolly adelgid, thousand cankers disease and/or Asian longhorned beetle in Michigan.
Invasive species prevention activities are highlighted in this year’s program, including those that reduce the risk of spreading invasive species through movement of firewood, a primary pathway for tree diseases and pests. Proposals addressing the spread of invasive species through recreational activities including land and water trail use, boating, angling, hunting and camping, also are encouraged.
Important program dates, grant parameters
Local, state, federal and tribal units of government, nonprofit organizations and universities may apply for funding to support invasive species projects conducted in Michigan. For this 2017 funding cycle, pre-proposals will be accepted through June 13 and requested full proposals must be submitted by Sept. 18.
Grant requests for 2017 projects can range from a minimum of $25,000 to a maximum of $400,000. Applicants must commit to provide 10 percent of the total project cost in the form of a local match.
Competitive applications will outline clear objectives, propose significant ecological benefits, demonstrate diverse collaboration and show strong community support.
Learn more about this and other grant opportunities on the DNR website www.michigan.gov/dnr-grants.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.