Governor Signs Bill to End “Pop-up” Property Tax Increase for Close Relatives

January 16, 2013 11:29

Good news coming out of Lansing for real estate owners wishing to transfer their home and/or real property to a spouse or child. On December 31, 2012, Governor Rick Snyder signed enrolled House Bill No. 4753 which amends the General Property Tax Act of 1893 (Public Act 206), to allow property transferred to a person related by blood or affinity to the first degree to retain its current taxable value. The newly revised law will allow real estate property owners to avoid  the property tax re-valuation, known as the “pop-up tax,” previously in effect when real property was transferred from one spouse to another or by a decedent to a surviving spouse. A first degree blood relation would include the spouse and children, and a first degree affinity would include stepchildren.

Under the old law, when a piece of real estate is transferred to a new owner (including family members), the taxable value generally “uncaps” to the true value of the property. Once you own a piece of real estate the taxable value cannot increase from one year to the next by more than 5% or the rate of inflation, whichever is less, until that real estate is transferred to a new owner. The new law will make transferring a cottage or lakefront home, for example, more affordable for the close family recipients of the real property by maintaining property tax assessments at the lower levels “enjoyed” by the previous homeowner.

To read the entire amendment to Public Act 206, click here…

MSU Extension Offers Conservation Stewards Program

December 20, 2012 11:17

Michigan Conservation Stewards Program in Oakland County: Spring 2013 Session scheduled for February 23 to April 29, 2013

Are you looking for a great opportunity to learn about conservation and natural science and assume critical leadership roles through volunteering your time, knowledge, and skills in conservation management in your community? Individuals who take part in the Michigan Conservation Stewards Program (CSP) can learn how to effectively take part in informed, scientifically based conservation and resource management and work to sustain healthy ecosystems across Michigan.

MSUE and its partners are offering this volunteer training and leadership program designed for individuals who are interested in natural resource conservation and ecosystem management, natural history, outdoor recreation, natural areas, the region’s environmental issues and challenges, and strategies to help restore and conserve ecosystems in Oakland County.

Topics include Conservation Heritage, Ecological Foundations, Making Choices to Manage Natural Resources, Emerging Ecosystem Issues, and Managing Forestlands, Grasslands, Wetlands, and Lake and Stream Ecosystems. There will also be a volunteer expo highlighting conservation opportunities available in southeastern Michigan. The series of classes, led by experts in various fields of conservation and natural resources, will include lectures, interactive learning and field experiences.

This intensive program consists of nine evening classes held from 6-9 pm on MONDAY EVENINGS (February 25, March 4, 11, 18, 25; April 8, 15, 22, 29 (April 29th session runs from 6-10 pm) at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Rd, Waterford. Three ALL-DAY SATURDAY field sessions will be held from 9-4 pm on February 23 at the E.L. Johnson Nature Center, Bloomfield Hills; March 23 at Indian Springs Metropark, White Lake; and April 13 at Independence Oaks County Park, Clarkston.

Early Registration fee is $275/participant if application packet and payment are received on or before February 1, 2013. Late Registration fee is $300/participant if application packet and payment are received on or after February 2, 2013. Deadline to register is February 15, 2013. Space is limited. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first served basis. Limited scholarships may be available.

Program partners include ITC Transmission, Michigan State University, the Michigan Chapter of the North American Lake Management Society, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Oakland County Parks and Recreation, Oakland County Planning and Economic Development Services, Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority, E.L. Johnson Nature Center, and Clinton River Watershed Council.

Become part of the network of dedicated, well-prepared volunteer Conservation Stewards who understand, actively contribute to or lead significant conservation management activities on public and private lands.

Obtain a brochure and an application packet online at:

or call (248) 858-0887 to request registration materials by mail. The deadline to submit applications is February 15, 2013. Please call (248) 858-0887 for more information.


December 18, 2012 16:25

Impervious surface is defined as a hard surface that either prevents or retards the entry of water into the soil. Examples include, but are not limited to, structures, walkways, patios, driveways, carports, storage areas and concrete or asphalt paving. As communities become more urbanized, rooftops, roadways, and other impervious surfaces replace natural ground cover. As impervious surfaces increase, runoff increases and infiltration into the ground decreases, (with natural ground cover 40% of rainfall evaporates back into the sky, 50% soaks into the ground and 10% is runoff, with impervious surface 30% evaporates back into the sky, 15% soaks into the ground and 55% is runoff.) With an increase in imperviousness and the quantity of storm water runoff, there is generally a concurrent increase in the quantity of pollutants transported into our lakes. Just one-tenth of an inch of falling rain on a 1,000 square foot roof can fill 65 gallons of water. Low Impact Development is an approach to land development that uses various planning and design practices that protect natural resources. This is generally accomplished by controlling storm water at the source by preserving natural site features and by reducing impervious surfaces. (This information provided by the Website- Michiganlakeinfo, articles by Tony Groves).  more »

A Handbook for the Irish Hills’ Mud Lake

December 15, 2012 21:34

Michigan Lake and Stream Associations extends a hearty congratulations to George SanFacon and John Gajar of the Mud Lake Community Association for compiling, writing and publishing the “Mud Lake Handbook”, a well written and organized book dedicated to the natural history, ecology and community-based management of Mud Lake, a 119 acre freshwater gem located near Brooklyn, Michigan in the Irish Hills.

While the “Mud Lake Handbook” provides readers with an interesting and enlightening look at the natural and anthropological history of Mud Lake, the authors greatest contribution lies in the fact that they had the wisdom and foresight to provide a section emphasizing the importance of  building a sense of community whose energy can then be harnessed to effectively manage the ever changing lake.

A “Mud Lake Handbook” should serve as both a guide and an example to other lake associations in Michigan. In a state possessing over 11,000 relatively high quality inland lakes, the importance of the role of lake associations in managing our inland lakes cannot be overstated.

Michigan Lake and Stream Associations is hopeful that a “Mud Lake Handbook” will inspire others to create and document a basic inland lake management plan.  Less than one percent of the lake associations in Michigan have created a lake management plan to help guide their collective efforts to preserve the value of their lake and their personal investment in their lakefront homes.

The “Mud Lake Handbook” can be ordered from Charing Cross Press in Ann Arbor by calling 734-971-3455.


2013 MNSP Shallow and Shorelines Conference

December 15, 2012 08:30

Shoreline and Shallows Conference to
Highlight Shoreline Restoration and Habitats

Kellogg Center, East Lansing
Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The third annual Shoreline and Shallows Conference, a program of the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership (MNSP), will be presented Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing.  Titled “Natural Shorelines and the Habitat Connection,” the conference will highlight lake shore habitats, shoreline restoration and habitat improvement, as well as wave energy in relation to plant selection.

Featured speakers will be Bob Kirschner, Director of Restoration Ecology at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, Michael Meyer, Research Scientist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Dennis Albert, Landscape and Wetlands Ecologist formerly with the Michigan Natural Features Inventory and now at Oregon State University. Jim Brueck, Certified Natural Shoreline Professional and owner of Native Lakescapes, LLC will share case studies about balancing native plant selection and design with fluctuating lake levels and aesthetics, and Jane Herbert with MSU Extension will discuss the current status of the Natural Shoreline Demonstration Sites that have been installed as part of the Certified Natural Shoreline program.

The cost to attend is $35, which includes lunch and coffee breaks. Three Certified Natural Shoreline Professional continuing education units will be available for attending this conference.  The conference co-sponsors along with 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, Institute of Water Research, Michigan State University at, 517-353-9222. Additional information and registration is now available at

The Michigan Public Road Ends Law: Enforcement not Optional

December 6, 2012 20:21

Signed into law on March 22, 2012, Michigan Public Act 56 provided statewide codification of twenty year old court rulings that limits public road ends to one seasonal public dock (if approved by the local unit of government and the issuance of an MI DEQ permit), forbids overnight mooring as well as the installation of boat hoists.

While it is reasonable to believe that that the new law of the land regarding the use of public road ends in Michigan may have initially met with some confusion on the part of local governments and their respective law enforcement agencies, we are nevertheless very concerned about several reports we have received regarding official refusal to enforce the law. In writing the law, the legislature did not include language that provides those who disagree with the law an “enforcement optional” clause. Public Act 56 is now MCL 324.30111b, and must be enforced by state, county, municipal and township law enforcement agencies.

If your local unit of government and/or your local law enforcement agencies have refused to enforce the law, we would like to hear about your particular set of circumstances and the various reasons you were provided by local officials for their lack of enforcement. We would like to believe that those disregarding the law remain confused about the definition of a “public road end that terminates at an inland lake” or other specific aspects of the law.

If you have encountered this unfortunate situation on your lakefront, please contact Scott Brown, Michigan Lake and Stream Associations Executive Director at e-mail:  .

Your cooperation may help eliminate confusion and assist in restoring law and order to public road ends at inland lakes throughout Michigan.

Friend and Colleague Gary Crawford Passes Away

November 2, 2012 18:10

The Michigan inland lakes management and conservation communities have lost one of their most generous and personable friends. Michigan Lake and Stream Associations mourns the loss of Gary Crawford who passed away on Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 after a brief battle with cancer. Gary, who  possessed a Master of Science degree in  aquatic biology, worked as an inland lakes management consultant with Environmental Consulting and Technologies, Inc. of Ann Arbor. His generosity, kindness and love for his family,  for his work and for his colleagues, served as an inspiration for us all.

Gary was married to Janine Barker Crawford and they have three children, Joshua, Benjamin and Charis. Gary was a Worship Pastor at Christian Love Fellowship Ministries International in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He was a gifted worshipper, teacher, mentor, singer and songwriter for many popular gospel groups.

Often partnering with limnologist Dr. Doug Pullman of Aquest Corporation, the two co-authored several  articles regarding Starry Stonewort, an invasive macro-algae first observed in a Michigan inland lake by Gary and Doug in 2005.  Always happy to devote his personal time to educating our members about the importance of individual stewardship, Gary was a speaker at the 51st Annual Conference at Boyne Mountain in April of 2012 and at the Michigan Chapter, North American Lake Management Society’s annual conference in September 2011.

The entire Michigan Lake and Stream Associations extended family offers heart felt condolences to Gary’s family, friends and colleagues.

Water samples detect Asian carp eDNA in Lake Erie’s Maumee Bay

October 19, 2012 14:59

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Press Release

Sept. 25, 2012

Asian carp environmental DNA (eDNA) has been detected in three of 350 water samples collected from western Lake Erie’s Maumee Bay and Maumee River between July 31 and Aug. 4.

The three samples, all positive for silver carp eDNA, were found in Maumee Bay – two in Michigan waters and one in Ohio waters.

The water samples were collected by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of an extensive sampling effort developed in response to the discovery of Asian carp eDNA in water samples taken from Maumee and Sandusky bays in summer 2011. more »


October 17, 2012 19:12

People have been told that if they take care of their bodies, they will live a good long life. So they exercise, take vitamins, see their doctor annually and take prescribed medications to take care of their bodies.

People spend thousands and thousands of dollars for their vehicles. They have been told that if they take care of their vehicles, they will last a long time. So they change their oil at regular intervals, take their car in for regular checkups, wash and wax their cars.

People buy expensive lawn equipment. They are told that if they take care of the equipment it will last a long time, so they do. I’ve seen people waxing their lawn mowers.

Then people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for lake front property. They buy big boats and pontoons and they take care of them so they will last. BUT, very few of them consider the quality of the lake which is a part of their property. Many of them will unintentionally do everything they can that is harmful for the lake. more »

The Election Process Is Almost Over?

October 17, 2012 18:40

by Paul J. Sniadecki, President

Eagle Lake Improvement Association, Inc.

The 2012 General Election is less than 1 month away, and by November 20, the newly elected candidates will be sworn-in and “hold” office.  Hopefully, based on this series of articles, there will be some new “Riparian-Minded Candidates” who will assume local office in your area.  So, is this the last of these types of articles and the election process is over?  Well, YES and NO, and not so fast! more »

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