Monthly Archives

March 2021

Michigan Clean Boats, Clean Waters Program Awards $19,800 to Stop the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species

by Paige Filice, Michigan State University Extension – February 14, 2021

Seven projects received funding to educate boaters on the importance of cleaning, draining, and drying equipment.

The Michigan Clean Boats, Clean Waters program is funding seven outreach projects across Michigan to educate boaters about aquatic invasive species prevention. The awardees include lake associations, watershed groups, local units of government, and other nonprofit organizations. Grant funds will be used to communicate aquatic invasive species prevention information through outreach materials and in-person events. Projects range from the installation of signage at boat launches to boat and trailer cleaning stations with invasive species removal tools.

2021 Michigan Clean Boats, Clean Waters Funded Projects

  • The Benzie Conservation District will engage boaters through their Aquatic Invasive Species Pathways Program in Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Manistee counties. Staff and volunteers will conduct boat washing events at public and private launch sites throughout the boating season and are installing signage at boat access sites.
  • The Black Lake Preservation Society is installing boat and trailer cleaning stations with hand removal tools at three public boat access sites on Black Lake in Presque Isle County. They will be hosting grand opening events at each access site to demonstrate how to use the equipment.
  • The Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds is hosting three outreach events with educational materials at popular public access sites along the lower Grand River in the Grand Rapids region. They are also creating a video demonstrating proper boat cleaning techniques.
  • The Michigan United Conservation Clubs is sharing prevention information via their Michigan Out-of-Doors magazine and membership newsletters. They are also incorporating Clean Boats, Clean Waters prevention messaging in three of their “On the Water” volunteer watershed habitat improvement project work days on the Clinton River, Manistee River, and in the Bay Mills Watershed.
  • The Missaukee Conservation District is partnering with the North Country Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area and the Missaukee Lake Association to host three outreach events on Lake Missaukee and Lake Cadillac. They will also be distributing educational materials at local businesses and popular tourist destinations.
  • The Charter Township of Oxford is installing a user-operated, waterless cleaning station that will be equipped with a weed removal tool, plug wrench, boot brush, and interpretive signage at the Stony Lake Township Park in Oakland County. They will be promoting the cleaning station and invasive species prevention activities via media outlets and at three outreach events hosted at township parks throughout the boating season.
  • The Portage Lake Watershed Forever watershed council in Manistee County is hosting aquatic invasive species education booths at community events throughout the boating season and will be applying parking lot stencils with outreach messaging at popular boating access sites. They are also partnering with local businesses including marinas and bait shops to share educational information.

Since 2006, Clean Boats, Clean Waters has educated and engaged recreational water users in behaviors that will limit or prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Aquatic invasive species are frequently spread unintentionally on boats and trailers and once introduced they are extremely difficult and expensive to manage. Boater outreach is one tool of many used in Michigan to address invasive species issues. This year, grant funding was available for the first time through the program to support local organizations. The Michigan Clean Boats, Clean Waters program is a joint effort between Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. Funding for the program and this grant opportunity is provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The 2021 Clean Boats, Clean Waters funding opportunity was noncompetitive, and complete and eligible applications were funded in the order that they were received until all funds were allocated. Project expenditures range from $1,000 to $3,000 per grantee. Funds may be available next year through the program. If you would like to be notified of future grant opportunities please visit the Clean Boats, Clean Waters grants website.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Office Seeking Candidates to Serve on the Michigan Wildlife Council

The Michigan Wildlife Council is a governor-appointed, public body established by Michigan Public Act No. 246 of 2013. The nine member Michigan Wildlife Council represents a wide range of residents that share a common vision for Michigan’s cherished outdoor traditions – to ensure that they are managed and sustained for future generations. The Michigan Wildlife Council is entrusted with educating the public about the importance of conserving, and effectively managing our state’s vast natural legacy of forests, waters, and wildlife.

As stipulated by Michigan Public Act 246 of 2013, members of the Michigan Wildlife Council are intended to represent various stakeholder groups including hunters and anglers; members of the agricultural, and business communities; representatives from rural areas that are affected by hunting and fishing activities; an individual with a media/marketing background; and the Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, or a designated representative.

All nine members of the Michigan Wildlife Council are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the State Senate.

Readers of this newsletter interested in serving as a member of the Michigan Wildlife Council should immediately contact Mr. MoReno Taylor II of Karoub Associates at e-mail mtaylor@karoub.com .

Michigan Dam Safety Task Force Releases its Final Report

Responding to two dam failures on the Tittabawassee River during record rainfall events that caused catastrophic flooding in Midland and Gladwin counties in May of 2020 that resulted in $250 million in damages, in addition to the fact that the impounded waters of both Wixom and Sanford Lakes were completely drained during the event, Governor Whitmer formed the Michigan Dam Safety Task Force in order to perform a comprehensive review of the status of Michigan’s 2,500 dams. Comprised of dam safety officials, engineers, senior state agency managers and tribal representatives, the 19-member task force recently issued its report comprised of a set of 86 recommendations that includes quadrupling the number of EGLE staff members dedicated to dam safety regulation; hiring additional dam safety inspectors; establishing a $25 million dam safety emergency fund over the course of the next five years; creating a $25 million dam safety emergency fund over the next five years; and establishing a 20-year, $400 million loan fund dedicated to helping dam owners with much-needed maintenance on aging, crumbling, high-risk dams. In addition, the Dam Safety Task Force also recommended that the Michigan state legislature act to help promote dam owner accountability by revising and adapting new laws and rules that would act to clarify the on-going responsibilities of dam owners, and the structural engineers they hire to help inspect and maintain the dams.  Click here to download a copy of the 69-page Michigan Dam Safety Task Force Report that was released on February 12, 2021.

It is important to note that most of Michigan’s 2,500 dams were built many decades ago, and are now in a state of severe deterioration as a result of age, antiquated design, severe erosion, and/or neglect as indicated by the fact that many of the dams have been poorly maintained over the years. Dams in Michigan are regulated by Part 307, Inland Lake Levels, and Part 315, Dam Safety, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 Public Act 451. Of Michigan’s 2,500 dams, 813 of which are regulated by Part 315, and 235 are regulated by Part 307.  Dams are regulated by Part 315 when they are over 6 feet in height, and when they serve to impound over 5 acres of water during the design flood.  Dams regulated by Part 307 are structures that were constructed in order to establish and maintain court ordered inland lake levels. Michigan also hosts 99 hydroelectric dams that are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) under the auspices of the Federal Power Act.

To view an Arc Geographic Information Systems information augmented map of dams regulated by the State of Michigan that is maintained by the Department of the Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Dam Safety Program, click here . Readers interested in learning more about EGLE’s  Dam Safety Program