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Michigan House Bill 5690- Bad for Our Inland Lakes

By September 5, 2012 No Comments

Michigan Lake and Stream Associations adamantly opposes the passage of House Bill 5690 – a poorly conceived and ill advised attempt to de-regulate several potentially harmful and heretofore regulated activities on one of Michigan’s most valuable natural assets – our inland lakes.

First of all,  if passed, House Bill 5690 would eliminate the requirement to first acquire a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality permit before deploying the potentially harmful technique of diver assisted suction harvesting to remove aquatic native and non-native aquatic plants. Diver assisted suction harvesting, a new and relatively unproven method that involves the use of divers to manually remove native and invasive aquatic plants who then transport the harvested organic material to a boat utilizing high pressure suction hoses, may lead to the destruction of fish spawning areas and cause harmful algal blooms as massive amounts of nutrient rich bottom sediments are re-suspended during the intensely mechanical process. For more discussion of the potential harmful affects of suction harvesting, please read the detailed bill analysis by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.

While we recognize that diver assisted suction harvesting may provide a viable alternative to conventional mechanical harvesting and aquatic herbicides in some well defined and limited situations, we are strongly opposed to unleashing this potentially harmful technique on Michigan’s inland lakes in an unregulated and not closely monitored environment. Past experience tells us that deregulation will lead to indiscriminate and widespread use of the technique to remove not only invasive aquatic plants but also to remove the native aquatic plants that are so beneficial to water quality and fish.

In addition, House Bill 5690 contains language that eliminates the requirement for a DEQ permit to create artificial beaches using transported sand.  Beach sanding contributes large amounts of phosphorus and sediment to our inland lakes which fuels the growth of aquatic plants and algae as well as destroys habitat that is critical to the survival of fish and other aquatic organisms.

The legislation also contains language that removes the requirement for DEQ permits for several other critical activities that have been previously regulated and monitored by the DEQ,  including inland lake water withdrawls.

Moreover, the bill analysis reveals “no equivalent exemption under federal law, this exemption would likely be determined to be inconsistent with federal law by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). Michigan’s Section 404 Program must be consistent with federal requirements to continue administration of the program.”

Michigan Lake and Stream Associations urges you to contact your Michigan House Representative to indicate your opposition to this irresponsible legislation.  The future economic and recreational viability of our inland lakes is simply too important to squander on legislation that attempts to provide petty relief from simple and reasonable federal and state regulations that serve to preserve and protect our inland lakes from abuse and mismanagement.

To read a complete analysis of House Bill 5690, click here

To read House Bill 5690 in it’s entirety,  click here