NEWS

MICHIGAN LAKES BELONG TO EVERYONE, BUT SO DOES THE STEWARDSHIP

May 14, 2013 16:57

 

Our Opposition to the Michigan Department of
Natural Resources Proposed Boat Launch Site

PART 1

 By Paul J. Sniadecki

Eagle Lake Improvement Association, Inc.

In the Spring of 2012, The Eagle Lake Improvement Association, INC (ELIA) heard ‘rumors” of the DNR’s keen interest in acquiring a 7.01 +/- acre parcel on the East Side of Eagle Lake, Ontwa Township, Cass County, Michigan, which is just north of the Indiana Border and Elkhart/South Bend, Indiana.  Their reported intent was to construct a boat launch facility.  That action by the Michigan DNR is what motivates us to share our story. This is the first in a series of articles that will chronicle how the DNR has conducted itself in the process, how our Lake Association attempted to reason with the DNR, provide periodic updates on the acquisition process, and highlight many glaring disconnects that point to serious shortcomings in the DNR approach to such acquisitions and development.

In Part 1, we will cover some history about the Eagle Lake situation, as well a summary of what has happened to date, and what steps we await currently.

Eagle, one of eight (8) such “Eagles” in Michigan, is 379 acre lake that was expanded to over 400 acres due to numerous “key-holing” channels that were created from 1930 through as recently as 1991.  The lake is densely developed, with an extensive hardened perimeter of sea walls, and an average lot width at the shoreline of about 50 feet. Over 315 homes and cottages surround the lake. The lake has several Public Road End Access points, and one Road Commission launch without any parking spaces.  There was a long-standing tavern/restaurant on the eastside known as THE DOCK, which ceased operations a few years ago.  The property was then acquired by a developer who set-out to construct a Site Condominium Development with 48+ condo units, complete with “marina” type docks providing mooring for 50+ water craft.  Based on legal actions pursued by ELIA, and about three years of hearings and tens of thousands of dollars in legal expenses incurred by ELIA, the Circuit Court rejected the developer’s plans, and he went bankrupt.  The bank, which had issued an approximate 2 million dollar loan on the property, foreclosed in 2010-2011, and is now trying to recover some of its original cash outlay.  A few initial inquiries by private investors did not progress and it appears the bank then approached the DNR about acquiring the property.  So, Eagle Lake, THE DOCK property, and the DNR became connected by chance, not by choice.

We discussed the rumored DNR interest at the ELIA Annual Meeting in May 2012. During the meeting the membership compiled a list of pros and cons about such a DNR purchase.  There were about five positive points, while the Flip chart column of “negatives” filled two (2) pages.   High on the list of negatives was Eagle’s long history of infestation with exotic species.  The lake was the first in Michigan to encounter Zebra Mussels, and was one of the first to received Eurasian Water Milfoil (EWM). The lake is also one of the first to have genetically documented “Hybrid” EWM and also has an expanding Curly Leaf Pond Weed area.  “Carrying Capacity” was another listed drawback because whether the calculations used was 20 acres or 7 acres, per water craft on the water, the lake was significantly overcrowded on weekends, with near-miss accidents a common occurrence. We also listed the fact that Eagle already HAD several public access points. We further outlined the many Zoning and Master Plan incompatibilities. Because our Lake Association’s mission is to provide “stewardship” for the health of the lake and surrounding community, we met with the DNR field people in the Fall of 2012. We shared our extensive “list of concerns” and attempted to obtain feedback how these concerns would be evaluated by the DNR.  We never received a detailed response.  All the DNR would say was they “…would keep us advised.”  Subsequently the ELIA “list of concerns” did not deter the DNR process, for on April 4, 2013, the DNR entered into an “option” to purchase the THE DOCK property pursuant to Michigan Act 210 and Act 451, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. 

This just begins our story.  There is more to share that should interest any Michigan resident, especially Riparians. Future articles will provide detailed reporting on how the DNR handled this “option” and the outcomes of the many hearing we will be participating in. 

 

EDITOR’s NOTE:  This newsletter recently published a yearlong series of 2012 General Election focused articles by Paul concerning how Riparians need to influence the local election process.  That series was well received by readers.  In this next series, Paul will cover a very real concern for inland lakes.



Michigan Natural Features Inventory and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Seeks Your Help In Identifying and Reporting Aquatic Invasive Plants

April 23, 2013 19:40

Michigan Natural Features Inventory and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources are collaborating on the development of a statewide Aquatic Invasive Species “Early Detection Rapid Response” program and are seeking your assistance in helping to identify aquatic invasive species infestations in their early (and much easier to manage) stages.

Please view and or download the “Michigan’s Most Wanted Aquatic Invasive Plants” poster by clicking here

Should you observe any of these aquatic invasive plants, immediately contact Michigan Department of Natural Resources Early Detection Rapid Response Program Coordinator Matt Ankney at 517.641.4903 or via e-mail: ankneym2@michigan.gov.



Buying waterfront property can be tricky, says Grand Rapids lawyer who wrote a book on it

April 6, 2013 19:42

Our chief legal counsel and senior partner in the Grand Rapids firm of Bloom Sluggett Morgan Law, Cliff Bloom, recently sat down for an interview with M-Lives Jim Harger to discuss buying and selling waterfront property in Michigan.

Cliff Bloom is the author of an authoritative book regarding the unique challenges presented to folks interested in either buying or selling waterfront property in Michigan. The book is available for sale from Michigan Lake and Stream Associations and can be purchased by calling our Central Office at 989-831-5100.

 To read the M-Live interview with Cliff Bloom, click here .



Listen to Buying and Selling Waterfront Property Interview with Cliff Bloom on WOOD Radio

March 19, 2013 23:01

Bloom Sluggett Morgan Law Attorney Cliff Bloom was interviewed on

Friday, March 15th by Lauren ‘Shmitty’ Smith of Newsradio WOOD

1300 and 106.9 FM in Grand Rapids regarding Buying and Selling

Waterfront Property in Michigan. 

Listen to the entire interview by clicking here…

 

 



Why Join Michigan Lake and Stream Associations?

March 10, 2013 20:38

Contributed by Scott Brown
ML&SA Executive Director

 I know I don’t need to remind you or the other members of your association how profoundly valuable our “inland seas” – our lakes, big or small, are to the Great Lakes region and to our state in particular. These fragile bodies of water, not yet even fifteen thousand years old, continue to attract hundreds of thousands of people to Michigan in search of fun and relaxation. The investment you made in your lake front home and/or property turned out to be a wise one!

Yet, while our lakes continue to serve generation after generation, offering both outstanding recreational   and economic opportunities for our citizens, the fact is, we have given little or nothing back to sustain or maintain the health of these living and ever evolving freshwater basins we know as lakes. Rapidly expanding development on and around our lakes as well as over use and aquatic invasive species threaten to degrade the water quality and the aquatic ecosystems of these priceless freshwater gems. Is the fishing in your lake as good as it was forty years ago – with few exceptions, the “old timers” will tell you that it is not.

I’m convinced the best way to ensure that our lakes remain healthy and viable for future generations as well as to protect the substantial investment you’ve made in lake front property is to join the Michigan Lake and Stream Associations – an organization totally dedicated to preserving and protecting our lakes and streams as well watching out for your rights as a lake or stream front property owner.

With the active support of you and your association members, our organization will continue to educate and train state and local government officials on issues that directly impact you and your lake, we’ll continue to work with our partners – the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan State University Extension, the Great Lakes Commission and the Huron River Watershed Council in administering the Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program – one of the best all volunteer water quality monitoring efforts in the country. And, with your support, the Michigan Lakes and Streams Foundation, an organization dedicated to ensuring the future of Michigan Lake and Stream Associations, will continue to publish one of the nation’s finest magazines dedicated to covering subjects and issues of interest to Michigan lakefront property owners – The Michigan Riparian.

I won’t mince words at this point – the Michigan Lake and Stream Associations needs you and your association to join us in helping to give back -to preserve, to protect and to save our lakes and streams for future generations.  We need your active participation in projects that benefit your lake, and quite frankly, without the financial support gleaned through your annual association dues, we would be unable to continue to actively support the education, training, and lake monitoring programs that are so critical to preserving our inland lakes and the riparian rights we all enjoy in Michigan.



MLSA Region 9 Aquatic Invasive Species Survey Highlights Need for Close Lake Monitoring

March 6, 2013 18:56

by Sarah Litch
ML&SA Region 9
Representative

The Water Quality Committee of the Glen Lake Association sent out a survey in January 2013 to the Lake Associations, Watersheds, and Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore in Michigan Lake and Stream Associations Region 9, which includes Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee and Wexford counties, to determine the aquatic invasive species that they have identified in their lakes and along their shorelines.

The graph shows the percentage of lakes reporting the presence of each of the invasive species that they have in their lake/watershed.  The graph is based on the reports from 36 lakes.  Only 1 of the surveys sent out was not returned. View the graph by clicking here

Only two lakes within ML&SA’s Region 9 besides those in the Glen Lake Watershed do yearly aquatic invasive species surveys, reported to Michigan Lake and Stream Associations Aquatic Plant Survey data base, of their lakes for aquatic invasive species so there is probably under reporting for many of the lakes

Glen Lake has Zebra mussels as do 66.67% of the lakes reporting.  One of the biggest threats to our watershed is  Eurasian water milfoil, which was reported by 36.11% of the lakes, though not yet found in the Glen Lake Watershed. It is an aggressive grower and spreads rapidly.  The treatment to eliminate it can be very expensive if it is not detected early. An Aquatic Plant Survey has been done for the past ten years in our watershed to facilitate early detection and rapid response if Eurasian milfoil is found as well as any other invasives .

A survey and treatment for both Coltsfoot and Eurasian Phragmites along the shoreline is done each year in our watershed. Curly leaf pondweed has been found in Big Glen Lake and harvested.  Since the Glen Lake Association has an active survey/treatment program for both aquatic and shoreline invasives we are in fairly good shape in relation to other lakes in District 9.  Treatment of Zebra mussels is also being actively explored and may be part of our survey/treatment of invasives in the future.

The constant threat of the introduction of aquatic invasive species into our watershed by recreational watercraft is shown in this table. View table by clicking here



MLSA Announces Agenda for 52nd Annual Conference

March 4, 2013 15:29

Conference Registration Now Open
to Members and the General Public

STANTON — Michigan Lake and Stream Associations (ML&SA) is proud to announce the agenda for the 52nd  Annual  Conference  that  will  be  held  on Friday  and   Saturday, April  26th & 27th, 2013  at  the Doubletree by Hilton Riverfront Hotel in Bay City.

Since 1961, ML&SA has held an annual conference whose overall theme and substance is focused on  celebrating and learning more about how citizens can contribute to the preservation and protection of Michigan’s vast treasure of high quality inland lakes and streams.

This year’s Annual Conference theme is “Celebrating and Exploring Michigan’s Magnificent Inland Fisheries”. The conference will open on Friday morning with a unique two hour plenary session focused on the status of Michigan’s diverse fish populations and the ecological challenges that must be overcome to ensure that viable recreational fishing opportunities remain for future generations of Michiganders. In addition, the conference will feature a three hour seminar focused on hydraulic fracturing (fracking), the controversial natural gas extraction process that has recently stirred heated  debate throughout Michigan.

Inland lake and stream enthusiasts and lakefront property owners are encouraged to attend this unique conference which will explore the latest techniques for managing aquatic invasive species, controlling lake muck and restoring inland lake natural shorelines. A variety of diverse topics including riparian rights and water law, Michigan water withdrawal laws, working with local townships in protecting your local water resources and inland lake management will also be offered during the two day conference.

In addition, lake and stream products and services companies, Michigan based non-profit environmental organizations as well as the United States Fish and Wildlife Service will host exhibits offering a plethora of free brochures and literature. Conference attendees are also invited to participate in the ML&SA annual banquet on Friday evening and the “bring in an aquatic plant or animal for identification” booth, silent auction and 50-50 raffle.

People interested in registering for the ML&SA 52nd Annual Conference may contact Sharon Wagner, ML&SA Central Office Manager, at e-mail: swagner@mlswa.org; or Scott Brown, ML&SA Executive Director at e-mail: sbrown@mlswa.org.  Annual conference information and registration forms are available for download from    https://www.mymlsa.org/mlsa-52nd-annual-conference

###

 Michigan Lake and Stream Associations, Inc., located in Stanton, Michigan, is a statewide non-profit, primarily volunteer organization dedicated to preserving and protecting Michigan’s freshwater resources. To learn more about ML&SA, visit the organization’s web site at  www.mymlsa.org



MSU Extension Offers Natural Shoreline Workshop

February 26, 2013 11:49

On SaturdaExample of natural shoreline project. Photo credit to Jim Bruecky, March 16, 2013, Michigan State University Extension is sponsoring a workshop designed to educate interested lakefront property owners on the importance of natural shoreline landscaping and the use of bioengineering techniques to provide erosion control.

Workshop topics include: Components of a healthy lake ecosystem; designing and maintaining natural landscapes on lake shorelines; using native plants in shoreline landscapes; attracting fish and wildlife to the shoreline; managing shoreline invasive species; and a review of state of Michigan rules and regulations to consider when planning a natural shoreline project.

Several local shoreline projects will be showcased to give participants a better idea of how to deal with their particular shorelines. Numerous educational displays also will be provided by partner organizations to give participants additional shoreline information and resources.

The workshop will be held at MSU Tollgate Education Center in Novi, Mich. Workshop registration is $45 per person on or before March 8, or $55 per person after. Registration includes morning refreshments, lunch, workshop handouts and a copy of MSUE Bulletin E3145, Natural Shoreline Landscapes on Michigan’s Inland Lakes: Guidebook for Property Owners. Visit the event page for complete registration details.



Lights

February 22, 2013 12:08

by Roger Carey

My wife and I bought on the lake with plans to get away from the lights, noise and congestion we came from. Why do people move to the lake then turn it into the place they came from?

The negative effects of light pollution on human activity are numerous. From an economic point of view, wasted light is wasted money and the switch to more conscientious lighting can put not just the night sky overhead in the black but also balance sheets. The International Dark-Sky Association figures about a third of outdoor lighting is wasted because of poorly designed and inefficient fixtures. It estimates that in the U.S. alone, the annual price tag for misdirected light is $10 billion. (We know of a person who just remodeled their house and now has over 15 recessed lights on the outside of the house alone. Why would you ever need over 15 outside lights?) more »



Register Now for the 3rd Annual Shoreline and Shallows Conference

February 5, 2013 14:00

The third annual Shoreline and Shallows Conference, a program of the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership (MNSP), will be presented Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at Michigan State University’’s Kellogg Center. Titled “Natural Shorelines and the Habitat Connection,” the one-day conference will highlight lake shore habitats, shoreline restoration and habitat improvement, plant selection and design with fluctuating lake levels, high energy sites, and the current status of the natural shoreline demonstration sites installed as part of the Certified Natural Shoreline Professional (CNSP) certification training. The cost to attend is $35, which includes lunch and coffee breaks. Three CNSP continuing education units are available for attending this conference. Conference co-sponsors, in addition to the MNSP, include the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Water Resources Division; Institute of Water Research, Michigan State University; MSU Extension Greening Michigan Institute; Michigan Lake and Stream Associations, Inc., and the Michigan Chapter, North American Lake Management Society. For more information, contact Lois Wolfson, MSU Institute of Water Research at wolfson1@msu.edu or 517-353-9222. Click here for a complete conference agenda and a link to registering for the conference.



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