NEWS

THE 2018 LAME DUCK SESSION – THE GOOD, THE NOT SO GOOD, AND OTHERWISE

January 21, 2019 22:11

By: Paul J Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director

Our December 2018 Newsletter provided information about the 2018 Lame Duck Session, which was like no other in terms of the volume of bills coming up for consideration that could undermine protections for Natual Resources or have an impact on Riparian Property Owners in Michigan.

The following provides the status of several legislative bills that might be of interest:

SB 1136 – AIS ERADICATION AND CONTROL FUND

Outgoing Governor Snyder signed the bill into law on December 28, 2018.  The bill provides for funding from “any source” and the details of funding have to be worked out in the future. 

HB 4205 – No Stricter than Federal This bill would prevent Michigan state agencies from adopting rules that are more protective than federal standards. Some Riparians believe it is important that Michigan officials decide what’s best for our state, and not rely on federal minimum standards to dictate how we protect our waterways, drinking water, and air. Several changes were made during the session and Outgoing Governor Snyder signed the final version into law on December 28, 2018.

SB 1211 – Changing Protections for Wetlands and Inland Lakes – This bill would have removed protections for about 600,000 acres of Michigan wetlands and around 4,500 inland lakes. Amendments were made during the session to reduce the scope and range of impact.  Outgoing Governor Snyder signed the final version into law on December 28, 2018.

SB 1188-1194 Legislation to Pre-empt Local Control of Trees and Other Vegetation

The bill passed out of the Michigan Senate and was awaiting action in the Michigan House.  The Michigan Townships Association (MTA) opposed these bills stating that Local Ordinances covering these matters reflect the decisions by local communities and should be respected. These bills died in committee and did not become law in 2018.

SB 1244 – Part 201 Cleanup Standards for Contaminated Sites

The legislation places new requirements on the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality when moving to update current cleanup standards based on new health studies. Without new resources, these additional requirements will divert money from current efforts to protect Michigan residents from exposure to contaminated sites. The legislation requires the DEQ to use chemical toxicity values from a U.S. Environmental Protection database – unless the agency undergoes a lengthy process that includes public notices and meetings with “stakeholders.” Outgoing Governor Snyder signed the final version into law on December 28, 2018.

HB 5752 and HB 5753 – Inspecting and identifying failing septic systems by creating a statewide septic code (These bills died in committee during 2018)

SB 943 – Renew Michigan

This bill provided a sustainable funding source for environmental issues such as contaminated site cleanup and water quality monitoring (e.g. CLMP). It also provides much needed funding for contaminants of concern like PFAS. Governor Snyder reportedly supported this bill.  This bill died in Committee during 2018.

STATE CONTROL FOR SHORT-TERM RENTALS of RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY

Bills were introduced in 2017, but this proposed legislation, removing local control of such matters, was not re-introduced in 2018, nor in the Lame Duck Session.

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ARE YOU READY TO BE A LAKE LEADER ?

January 21, 2019 22:02

by: Dr. Jo Latimore, PhD, MSU

Have you ever struggled watching people in your community disagree about what is best for your lake? Do you ever wish you knew more about how lakes and rivers work? Are you unsure about what resources are available to help protect and manage your lake or waterway? Are you ready to jump in and be a lake leader? The Michigan Lake and Stream Leaders Institute wants you!

The Class of 2019 will be the 8th session of this popular program, co-sponsored by MLSA. Participants develop their technical and people skills in an atmosphere of openness, trust, and camaraderie, with guidance from expert instructors. Community members, students, and professionals are all encouraged to apply.

Learning by doing:

·         Study the life and habitats of Michigan lakes and rivers

·         Develop communication and conflict management skills

·         Discover new resources and partnership opportunities

·         Explore Michigan water law, regulations, and management programs

The Institute is conducted in three sessions that include classroom learning and field experiences:

·         May 31-June 1:Kettunen Center, near Cadillac

·         July 26-27:Kellogg Biological Station, near Kalamazoo

·         October 18: Michigan State University, East Lansing

Sponsors cover most of the costs of putting on the Institute; the participant registration fee of $400 covers the remainder. Scholarships are available.

Applications and more information are available online. https://www.canr.msu.edu/michigan_lake_and_stream_leaders_institute/

You can also contact Dr. Jo Latimore at MSU: latimor1@msu.edu or 517-432-1491. The application deadline is March 31, 2019.

The Michigan Lake and Stream Leaders Institute is sponsored by Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Lake Stewardship Associations, the Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and is endorsed by the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership.


BIENNIAL SHORELINE AND and SHALLOWS CONFERENCE

January 21, 2019 21:56

By:  Lois Wolfson, PhD, MSU

Date: Thursday, March 7

Time: 9:30am – 3:45pm

Place: Lincoln Room, Kellogg Center, East Lansing, MI

The Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership will host its biennial Shoreline and Shallows Conference on Thursday, March 7, 2019 at the Kellogg Center at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI. This year’s conference focuses on the impacts of moderate and high-energy waves on lake shorelines. It will also include information on lake levels, native plant communities along shorelines and healthy shorelines and fish responses.

Contractors, state and local governments, educators, non-profit organizations, lake suppliers, native plant growers, landscape designers, and lakefront property owners will all benefit by attending this program.

Visit www.mishorelinepartnership.org/events for more information, an agenda, and to register; or contact Lois Wolfson at wolfson1@msu.edu; 517-353-9222 for other questions.  Cost is $45 ($55 after March 1) ($20 for full-time students) and includes lunch, materials and breaks. Co-sponsors for the conference include the Institute of Water Research, Michigan State University, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and MSU Extension.  Conference contributors include GEI Consultants and Wildtype.



2019 MLSA CONFERENCE PREVIEW

January 21, 2019 21:52

by Paul J. Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director

Lon Nordeen, MLSA Board Member and Conference Program Coordinator, has been busy developing the Presenters for the MLSA 2019 Annual Conference. Lon reports the following presenters are anticipated to be part of the MLSA 2019 Annual Conference:

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Alan D. Steinman, Director Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University

PFAS ISSUES and ACTIONS: Invited- Steve Sliver, PFAS Executive Lead; MDEQ, Laura Rubin, Ex Dir Huron River Watershed Council Ann Arbor Case example; Dr. Rick Rediske, Professor, GVSU Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute.

FARMING IMPACTS on LAKES and WATERSHEDS: Tom Zimnicki, MI Environmental Council; Ben Tirrell, Mgr. Right to Farm Program, MI Agriculture and Rural development; water expert-TBD

DEALING WITH THE SPREAD OF AIS and STARRY STONEWORT: Dr. Doug Pullman, Aquest; Dr. Douglas McLaughlin, senior scientist; and Scott Brown.

WAKE BOATS and IMPACTS FOR INLAND LAKES: Michael Smith, Wake Boat Insurance issues; Nicki Polan, EX Dir MBIA; Brett Denese, Boat Sales; Dr. Paul Webb, U of Michigan

UAVs to SUPPORT LAKE MANAGEMENT: Rob Karner, Watershed Biologist, Glen Lake; Jim Hamp, Crystal Lake; and Dennis Wand, Zero Gravity

Lake Levels, Dams and the Role of Drain Commissioners on MI Inland Lakes- Brian J. Cenci, VP Stormwater Management Specialists

The above listing is just the beginning and more sessions are being developed.  Stay tuned for more info about this year’s conference!!!



MLSA PRESIDENT DELIVERS FACTUAL TESTIMONY BEFORE THE SENATE NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE: BILL No. 1136 – AIS FUND AND GRANTS

January 21, 2019 10:58

By Paul J. Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director

On Tuesday November 27, 2018, MLSA President Mike Gallagher traveled to Lansing to participate in the Public Meeting about SB 1136, which seeks to establish a fund for the eradication and control of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) in Michigan’s inland lakes.

President Gallagher informed the Committee about the accelerating rate of new AIS infestations, and the high financial cost riparians are burdened with when they try to control/eradicate AIS.

Representatives of the following organizations testified in support of the bill: Michigan Aquatic Managers Association, PLM Lake and Land Management Corp.  The Michigan Waterfront Alliance indicated support for the bill, while a representative of the Department of Natural Resources testified with a neutral position on the bill.

Subsequently, the bill was processed favorably through the full Senate and the House Committee on Natural Resources. As of 12/18/2018 the Bill was waiting for a second reading on the House floor.  Based on what has been happening during the current “Lame Duck Session.” It is unknown if sufficient time is available for the bill to proceed farther.

 

 



HEALTHY LAKES INITIATIVE

January 21, 2019 10:54

By Paul J Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director

During 2018,the Oakland County Board of Commissioners launched and funded their “Healthy Lakes” Intiative.   The Commissioners recognized the critical importance of monitoring and protecting local lakes. The Board and the Oakland County Health Division then partnered with the Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) to provide Oakland County residents with free training and equipment to monitor water quality in local lakes during the summer of 2018.  That was done via the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP), which has been an integral component of Michigan’s inland lake monitoring.  Michigan has had citizen lake monitoring programs in several forms for over 40 years

MLSA has recently been advised that it appears Oakland County will continue their initiative during the summer of 2019, and will provide up to $120 for each lake, with a maximim of up to 80 lakes participating.

The vision and commitment to lake stewardship by Oakland County is truly a model for other municipalities in Michigan.  If Oakland County can find the funding for essential stewardship, then other counties and/or townships can do the same for their lakes.



LAME DUCK SESSION (as of December 18, 2018)

January 21, 2019 10:47

LAME DUCK SESSION

(Originally issued in the December 2018 Newsletter)

This lame duck session has been like no other in terms of the volume of bills coming up for consideration that could undermine protections for Natual Resources. As of December 18, here is the status of several legislative bills that might be of interest to Michigan Riparians:

HB 4205 – No Stricter than Federal (Sent to the Governor) This bill would prevent Michigan state agencies from adopting rules that are more protective than federal standards. Some Riparians believe it is important that Michigan officials decide what’s best for our state, and not rely on federal minimum standards to dictate how we protect our waterways, drinking water, and air. This bill passed out of the House last week and is now sitting on Governor Snyder’s desk.

SB 1211 – Changing Protections for Wetlands and Inland Lakes – This bill would remove protections for about 600,000 acres of Michigan wetlands and around 4,500 inland lakes. If this bill goes into effect, people could fill, pave over, and dredge wetlands and inland lakes and our state decision-makers would not be able to prevent it. The bill passed out of the Michigan Senate and is now awaiting action in the Michigan House.

SB 1188-1194 Legislation to Pre-empt Local Control of Trees and Other Vegetation

The bill passed out of the Michigan Senate and is now awaiting action in the Michigan House.  The Michigan Townships Association (MTA) opposes these bills stating that Local Ordinances covering these matters reflect the decisions by local communities and should be respected.

SB 1244 – Part 201 Cleanup Standards for Contaminated Sites

The legislation places new requirements on the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality when moving to update current cleanup standards based on new health studies. Without new resources, these additional requirements will divert money from current efforts to protect Michigan residents from exposure to contaminated sites. It could also delay efforts to update the current standard of 70 ppm for PFAS/PFOA. The bill is still pending action.

HB 5752 and HB 5753 – Inspecting and identifying failing septic systems by creating a statewide septic code (These bills are dead for this year)

SB 943 – Renew Michigan

This bill provides a sustainable funding source for environmental issues such as contaminated site cleanup and water quality monitoring (e.g. CLMP). It also provides much needed funding for contaminants of concern like PFAS. Governor Snyder reportedly supports this bill, and favorable action remains a possibilty.



DO SOME GOVERNMENT STUDIES UNDERVALUE HEALTHY LAKES AND RIVERS?

January 13, 2019 23:10

by Paul J. Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director

 

A recent study, published online October 8, 2018  in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, surveyed 20 government reports analyzing the economic impacts of U.S. water pollution laws. Most of these laws have been enacted since 2000, when cost-benefit analyses became a requirement. Analysis of a measure for restricting river pollution, for example, might find that it increases costs for factories using that river for wastewater disposal, but boosts tourism revenues by drawing more kayakers and swimmers.

The study suggest that many U.S. government attempts to quantify the costs and benefits of protecting the country’s bodies of water are likely undervaluing healthy lakes and rivers. . That’s because some clean water benefits get left out of the analyses, sometimes because these benefits are difficult to pin numbers on. As a result, the apparent value of many environmental regulations is probably discounted. To read the whole report, follow this link:

http://www.sciencenews.org/blog/science-public/were-probably-undervaluing-healthy-lakes-and-rivers



MDEQ RELEASES UPDATED MINOR PROJECT (MP) AND GENERAL PERMIT (GP) DOCUMENTS

January 13, 2019 23:07

by Paul J.Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director

 

Part 301, Part 303, and Part 325 of the NREPA authorize the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Water Resources Division (WRD), to define types of regulated activities that would be expected to have only minor impacts and that can, therefore, be reviewed through an expedited permit application process. The updated MP document, issued on September 24, 2018,  defines those activities that the WRD has determined are Minor Project(MP) categories and also defines the legal authority and limitations for their use.

Also on Septmber 24, 2018, the MDEQ issued the updated General Permit (GP) document. The purpose of this GP is to allow the WRD to evaluate permit applications for many minor activities without he delay of public noticing or site inspecting specific projects.  The objective of the GP is to reduce the time and cost of the permit process for applicants proposing minor activities and to reduce the costs of administering the program while protecting aquatic resources.  Please note that the GP does not define projects that will be authorized, but only those that may be considered for accelerated processing. Applications under the GP may be issued, modified, or denied. Authorization will be issued only if it is determined that the proposed activity is in accordance with the criteria and requirements of the NREPA.

The issued documents have some changes from prior issues, and Riparians are encouraged to reviewthem before taking any action that requiresa permit.  To viewthe documents, followthis link to the DEQ:  https://www.michigan.gov

 



MI SHORELAND STEWARDS PROGRAM EARNS MAJOR AWARD

January 13, 2019 22:28

By Paul J Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director

Each year The North American Lake Management Society (NALMS founded in 1980) awards individuals or teams for design, facilitation, or performance of exceptional education and outreach activities supporting community understanding and appreciation of lake and reservoir management.

NALMS recently recognized the MI Shoreland Stewards Program as earning the award for 2018. The MI Shoreland Stewards Program is a multi-faceted approach to engaging and empowering lake property owners to protect and restore their lakefront property. The program can also be utilized by lake groups to help promote healthy lake front property management, and provide special recognition to their property owners by registering their lake group on the website. An icon will appear on the MiSS website http://www.mishorelandstewards.org for their lake group, so they can access promotional materials and see the results of surveys from their lake. They can also use this in conjunction with a whole lake shoreline assessment to track the status of their lake’s shoreline over time. These programs have created significant interest regarding inland lakeshore protection.

MLSA and the MNSP provide financial and other support to the on-going operation of the Shoreland Stewards Program.



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