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Scott Brown

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

Michigan Aggregate Industry and Allies in the State Legislature to Re-Introduce Legislation Depriving Local Units of Government the Right to Deny Aggregate Mining Associated Land Use Permits

by Scott Brown
MWA Board Member

Arguing that Michigan needs sand and gravel to build roads, bridges and homes, the Michigan Aggregates Association (MAA), a non-profit trade association founded in 1960 to protect and promote the interests of the Michigan aggregates industry, and its allies in the state legislature, will again introduce legislation in 2021 that will seek to prevent local units of government from denying permits for new aggregate mining sites.

Introduced to the Michigan state legislature in 2018, and again in 2020, if passed, aggregate industry supported legislation would have acted to amend Section 205 of the 2006 Michigan Zoning Enabling Act to read “a local unit of government shall not, by ordinance or otherwise, prevent, prohibit, or deny a permit, approval, or other authorization for the extraction, by mining, of natural resources from any property, possessory, or contractual rights…”. It is important to point out that supporters of the controversial legislation have failed to garner enough support for passage in each of their two previous attempts.

The intensity of the controversy surrounding the proposed legislation has been amplified by the fact that Michigan is known to host one of the most abundant concentrations of aggregate in North America. Referring to the immense volumes of stone, sand, and gravel that were transported to Michigan from as far away as Canada during the last ice age by the movement of the immense glaciers that were also responsible for creating Michigan’s vast natural heritage of inland lakes and streams, aggregate provides the foundation for the construction of roads, highway, railroads, bridges, dams, and both commercial and residential construction. The importance of aggregate is emphasized, for example, by the fact that the United States Geological Survey (USGS) indicates that aggregates comprised of crushed stone, sand, and gravel account for 94% of the material utilized to construct interstate highways.

In addition to concerns related to having sufficient quantities of aggregate to complete construction projects, the Michigan Aggregates Association argues that even though Michigan currently hosts 325 aggregate mines, their primarily rural locations force those engaged in highway and bridge revitalization in urban areas to haul aggregate in from distant counties, therefore resulting in significantly higher project costs. The aggregate industry indicates that the most important mining operations are those that are situated closest to densely-populated metropolitan areas where the materials are needed for road-building and other aggregate dependent construction projects.

As currently written, the 2006 Michigan Zoning Enabling Act allows local units of government to consider a host of critical factors, including the potential impact of the proposed aggregate mine on property values, road safety, local water resources, and on overall quality of life within surrounding communities. The Michigan Township Association indicates that the existing provisions of the law give local communities the right to deny new aggregate mines when necessary, in addition to giving local government officials the leverage to negotiate with the owners of existing aggregate mines to help prevent conflicts with their residential neighbors. For example, the current law permits local units of government to regulate hours of operation, and to attempt to limit the unfavorable impacts of existing aggregate mines by requiring noise abatement, dust control, and truck traffic regulation.

Environment groups in Michigan remain adamantly opposed to the passage of legislation that would deprive local units of government the right to deny land use permits for aggregate mining operations due to the fact that, because of their glacial origins, proposed aggregate mining sites are often situated in areas of the state hosting an abundance of extremely valuable freshwater resources such as inland lakes, streams, wetlands, and ground water that are known to be vulnerable to degradation by surface mining operations.

Please “stay tuned” to future Michigan Waterfront Alliance e- newsletters for more information as the next round of Michigan Aggregates Association supported legislation proceeds through the legislative process later this year…

The Laurentian Great Lakes Region’s Large and Highly Mobile Recreational Boating Community is Primarily Responsible for Lake-to-Lake Spread of Exotic Aquatic Invasive Species

Frequently operating on a readily accessible and easily navigated network of large lakes and rivers such as the Detroit/St. Clair River system that are widely recognized for their spectacular scenery and world class freshwater fisheries, and that over the course of the past 150 years have also become international “hotspots” for spectacular biological invasions, the Laurentian Great Lakes region’s highly mobile recreational boating community continues to play an instrumental role in contributing to the increasingly widespread “success” of often highly invasive exotic aquatic animals, plants, and algae that now thrive in many of our lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands (Bossenbroek et al., 2001; Johnson et al., 2001; Leung et al., 2006). Capable of having a deep and pervasive influence on the aquatic ecosystems that they successfully invade, the exotic aquatic invasive species that have thus far entered the waters of the Great Lakes region include an increasingly diverse array of crustaceans that act as voracious scavengers, fish that are capable of disrupting aquatic food webs, freshwater-borne viruses such as viral hemorrhagic septicemia that  cause large scale fish die-offs, and filter-feeding mussels, submerged macrophytes, and macroalgae that are capable of acting as powerful ecosystem engineers (Strayer, 2010).

Serving as both an international beachhead and as a viable gathering place for a diverse array of exotic aquatic species that have been introduced in previous decades, the Laurentian Great Lakes are poised to remain an important source for future exotic aquatic plant and animal invasions that are likely to occur within thousands of unconnected inland waters in the region as well as throughout North America (Rothlisberger and Lodge, 2013). Analogous to the hub-and-spoke pattern of secondary invasions that have been orchestrated by transient recreational boaters in a “stepping-stone” fashion from well-known heavily invaded international beachhead areas such as San Francisco Bay, and the Port of Vancouver (Washington state) to hundreds of coastal marinas, protected marine parks as well as to thousands of inland lakes, streams, and wetlands distributed throughout the region that were once thought to be immune from the negative impacts of international shipping (Levings et al., 2004), the Laurentian Great Lakes region has also experienced large scale secondary invasions of exotic aquatic invasive species that are primarily attributed to recreational boating (Minchin et al., 2006). Once successfully introduced within the waters of a beachhead location such as the frequently navigated Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, or the Detroit/St. Clair River system, to cite just three primary examples, exponentially larger infestations of alien species may be facilitated by frequently occurring transport vectors such as recreational boaters (Minchin and Gollasch, 2002). Large scale secondary spread of often highly invasive exotic aquatic invasive species to smaller inland waters such as lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands that are widely distributed throughout the Great Lakes region has been enabled by the fact that, as reported by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (2019), approximately 95% of recreational boat owners tow their watercraft.

Although the secondary spread of exotic aquatic invasive species may also occur through natural means of dispersal, much of the on-going rapid spread of exotic aquatic species to thousands of inland lakes widely distributed throughout the Laurentian Great Lakes region may be directly attributed to in-water dispersal and overland movement of recreational small-craft boats (Bossenbroek et al., 2001; Leung et al., 2006). It is important to note that larger inland lakes that are popular with the region’s recreational boating and sport fishing communities are far more likely to experience a significant number of successful exotic aquatic invasive species introductions, and to consequently serve as source hubs for their secondary dispersal (Johnson et al., 2001). Representing a popular regional destination for the province’s enthusiastic sport fishing community, Ontario’s Lake Simcoe, for example, has long since served as a regional hub for the secondary dispersal of invasive Eurasian water milfoil, exotic zebra and quagga mussels, and spiny water flea (Kelly et al., 2013). Emphasizing the significance of the role of recreational boaters in facilitating the secondary dispersal of invasive exotic macrophytes, Brainard and Schultz (2012) discovered that inland lakes hosting public boating access sites possess an average of three times more invasive macrophyte associated biomass compared to lakes that are not accessible to the region’s transient recreational boaters.

Secondary dispersal of exotic aquatic animal, plant, and algae species to inland lakes via trailered recreational boats occurs primarily through the entanglement of viable fragments or individuals in fishing equipment, anchor ropes or chains, attachment to trailers, propellers, and/or to boat hulls, and through the transport of standing water containing fragments, propagules, or individuals in bait wells, minnow buckets, coolers, bilge water, and increasingly, in the ballast water storage bladders of wake boats (Johnson et al., 2001; Minchin et al., 2006; Rothlisberger et al., 2010; Stasko et al., 2012). Each time a recreational watercraft is transported overland to a different water body after navigating within invaded waters, the potential exists for introducing a new exotic aquatic invasive species to an unaffected waterway (Rothlisberger et al., 2010). Recreational boaters that frequently tow their water craft to two or more waterways hosting public boating access sites in relatively quick succession are particularly vulnerable to inadvertently contributing to the spread of exotic aquatic invasive species (Doll, 2018). Secondary dispersal by recreational boaters engaged in overland transport of their often ballast water laden watercraft has been primarily responsible for the increasingly widespread and abundant presence of highly invasive exotic aquatic plants and animals, including several species that have managed to achieve a high degree of success in the waters of the region such as the highly invasive Eurasian water milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum), starry stonewort (Nitellopsis obtusa) and now widely distributed zebra and quagga mussels (Dreissena spp.) (Rothlisberger et al., 2010; Doll, 2018).

It is important to note that the extent to which transient recreational water craft owner/operators continue to inadvertently contribute to the spread of exotic aquatic invasive species may be directly attributed to the fact that many of them have not yet committed the time and effort necessary to avail themselves of the wealth of outstanding educational resources that have been developed and made readily available in order to help recreational boaters curtail the spread of exotic aquatic species that are currently available on the recently revised Michigan State University Extension Clean Boats, Clean Waters website. Dedicated to developing a Michigan-based Clean Boats, Clean Waters program that is devoted to “building a unified understanding of boat cleaning practices and regulations through the creation and distribution of materials, mobile boat washing demonstrations, events, and partnerships with environmental organizations”, the program’s outstanding website provides users with a wealth of detailed information supported by well-illustrated graphics that have been designed to enable and enhance the capacity of on-line users to learn how to effectively combat the spread of aquatic invasive species by properly implementing “Clean, Drain, Dry, Dispose” procedures. The newly revised program website has also dedicated a large section to providing those who take the time to visit the resource rich site with a wealth of aquatic invasive species focused education outreach materials, including a host of downloadable documents whose content is devoted to teaching recreational boaters how to identify and manage aquatic invasive species. The highly organized and well-illustrated web site also includes important information on how to apply for Michigan Clean Boats, Clean Waters program sponsored 2021 grant opportunities, and information regarding the program’s unique Mobile Boat Wash demonstration unit that has appeared at numerous public boating access sites throughout Michigan over the course of the past few summers. It is important to note that Michigan State University Extension is leading the effort to refresh and implement the new Clean Boats, Clean Waters program in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. The reinvented Michigan Clean Boats, Clean Waters program also builds upon existing collaborative partnerships with statewide and local partners including the Michigan Lakes and Streams Association, Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas, and lake associations, and is actively seeking new opportunities and partnerships with which to share the Clean Boats, Clean Waters “clean, drain, dry” message. To visit the Michigan State University Extension Clean Boats, Clean Waters website, click here.  Those interested in learning more about on-going efforts to thwart the spread of invasive species should also visit the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) program website that is dedicated to developing and providing early detection and response resources for invasive species.

 

References

Bloch, J. (2011). Keeping it clean: Invasive species continue to threaten the St. Clair River. The Voice, April 13, 2011.

Bossenbroek, J. M., Kraft, C. E. & Nekola, J. C. (2001). Prediction of long-distance dispersal using gravity models: zebra mussel invasion of inland lakes. Ecological Applications 11 (6), 1, 1,778-1778.

Brainard, A. S. & Schulz, K. L. (2012). Propagule pressure and disturbance as drivers of invasive macrophyte abundance in public versus private lakes. 97th ESA Annual Convention.

Doll, A. (2018). Occurrence and Survival of Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) Veliger Larvae in Residual Water Transported by Recreational Watercraft. A Theses Submitted to the Faculty of the University of Minnesota in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

Griffiths, R. W., Schloesser, D. W., Leach, J. H. & Kovalak, W. P. (1991). Distribution and dispersal of the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) in the Great Lakes region. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 48, 1381-1388.

Johnson, L. E., Ricciardi, A., & Carlton, J. T. (2001). Overland dispersal of aquatic invasive species: a risk assessment of transient recreational boating. Ecological Applications, 11, 1789–1799.

Johnson, L. E., Bossenbroek, J. M. & Kraft, C, E. (2006). Patterns and pathways in the post-establishment spread of non-indigenous aquatic species: the slowing invasion of North American inland lakes by the zebra mussel. Biological Invasions 8, 475- 489.

Karatayev, A. Y., Mastitsky, S. E., Burlakova, L. E.  & Olenin, S. (2008). Past, current, and future of the central European corridor for aquatic invasions in Belarus. Biological Invasions 10, 215–232.

Kelly, N. E., Wantola, K., Weisz, E. & Yan, N. D. (2013). Recreational boats as a vector of secondary spread for aquatic invasive species and native crustacean zooplankton. Biological Invasions, 15 (3), 509-519.

Kraft, C. E. & Johnson, L. E. (2000). Overland dispersal of zebra mussels: regional differences among North American lake districts. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 57: 993–1001.

Leung, L. A., Bossenbroek, J. M., & Lodge, D. M. (2006). Boats, pathways, and aquatic biological invasions: estimating dispersal with gravity models. Biological Invasions 8 (2), 241-254.

Levings, C. D., Cordell, J. R., Ong, S., & Piercey, G. (2004). The origin and identity of invertebrate organisms being transported to Canada’s Pacific coast by ballast water. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 61, 1-11.

MacIsaac, H., Julianna V. M. Borbely, Muirhead, J., & Phil A. Graniero. (2004). Backcasting and Forecasting Biological Invasions of Inland Lakes. Ecological Applications, 14 (3), 773-783.

Minchin, D., Floerl, O, Savini, D. & Occhipinti-Ambrogi, A. (2006). Chapter 6: Small craft and the spread of exotic species. In Davenport, J. and Davenport, J. L. (Eds.) The Ecology of Transportation: Managing Mobility for the Environment. Springer, The Netherlands.

Minchin, D. & Gollasch, S. (2003). Fouling and ships’ hulls: how changing circumstances and spawning events may result in the spread of exotic species. Biofouling, 111-122.

National Marine Manufacturers Association (2020). U.S. Boat Sales Reached Second Highest Volume in 12 Years in 2019, Expected to Remain Strong in 2020. Accessed at https://www.nmma.org/press/article/23026.

Rothlisberger, J. D., Chadderton, W. L., McNulty, J. & Lodge, D. M. (2010). Aquatic invasive species transport via trailered boats: what is being moved, who is moving it, and what can be done? Fisheries 35 (23), 121-130.

Rothlisberger, J. & Lodge, D. (2013). The Laurentian Great Lakes as a beachhead and a gathering place for biological invasions. Aquatic Invasions. 8, 361-374.

Strayer, David. (2010). Alien species in fresh waters: Ecological effects, interactions with other stressors, and prospects for the future. Freshwater Biology, 55, 152 – 174.

Strayer, D. L. (1991). Projected distribution of the zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, in North America. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 48, 1389 -1395

New State Laws Enabling the Capacity of Local Units of Government to Establish No-Wake Ordinances are Helpful but No Substitute for the Need of Michigan’s Legislature to Establish Wake Boat Operating Standards to Help Ensure the Practice of Safe, Sustainable Wake Enabled Water Sports

In light of the fact that high energy wakes created by passing watercraft, and in particular wake enhanced boats are capable of inflicting damage to shoreline property and natural habitat during periods marked by high water, the Michigan state legislature passed a series of recreational boater targeted laws last year, that, in at least some cases, may help to mitigate the situation by allowing local governments to establish temporary no-wake watercraft limitations during periods of high water. Signed into law in April of 2020 by Governor Whitmer, Public Act No. 70 of 2020 and Public Act No. 71 of 2020 permit the County Sheriff, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, or the County Emergency Management Coordinator to establish temporary reduced watercraft speed limits in response to the request of a local municipality in order to protect life and property during emergency conditions. Under Public Act 70 and 71, temporary speed limits are restricted to a maximum duration of 14 days. Temporary speed limits authorized under the auspices of Public Act 70 and 71 can only be issued once per each calendar year; they may, however, be issued twice in a calendar year if the municipality is seeking to implement the watercraft speed limit restrictions under a temporary ordinance.

Also becoming state law in the spring of 2020, Public Act No. 72 permits municipalities in Michigan to request Department of Natural Resources authorization to implement temporary ordinances regulating the use of watercraft for a period of up to six months, and may be extended or renewed only if the particular municipality is seeking to implement the restrictions on a permanent basis as a special local rule under the auspices of MCL 324.80110. To download a Michigan Department of Natural Resources document that was written to describe the procedures that are required in order to establish a temporary local watercraft control under the auspices of Public Act 72, click here. To download a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division Temporary Local Watercraft Control Application, click here.

It is important to note that Holland Charter Township, working with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, invoked the new law early in the summer of 2020 in order to establish a temporary no wake ordinance on Lake Macatawa that is set to expire on January 9, 2021. The establishment of a temporary “no wakes within 300 feet of the shoreline” prohibition enacted in July of 2020 by municipalities with jurisdiction over the large western Michigan inland lake represents one of the first actions taken under the auspices of the new law.

Michigan Waterfront Alliance recognizes the importance of the ability of municipalities to establish temporary no-wake ordinances in response to high water levels, and to the increasing presence of watercraft that are capable of generating wakes whose energy greatly surpasses those created by high winds. However, we also understand that the enactment of Public Act(s) 70, 71, and 72 does not provide an effective substitute for the long-standing need of our state legislature to enact wake boat operator targeted legislation that would define minimum distance to shore, and other critical operating criteria that would help establish safe wakeboarding practices while at the same time serving to protect Michigan’s inland lakes.

Michigan Waterfront Alliance Pleased to Make Important Contributions to the Highly Successful 2020 Michigan Inland Lakes Convention

by Bob Frye, MWA President

Michigan Waterfront Alliance is pleased to have been a major contributor to the unqualified success of the very well attended 2020 Michigan Inland Lakes Convention. Featuring three days of inland lake focused keynote speakers, workshops, presentations, and networking opportunities, this year’s lakes convention convened on the morning of Wednesday, September 16th, and ran through the late afternoon of Friday, September18th. Recognized as Michigan’s premier opportunity to learn about, and/or share the latest innovations, ideas, and methods associated with lake science, management, and stewardship, the theme of the 2020 virtual lakes convention was “Conserving Lakes in a Changing Environment”. We are also proud of the fact, that in addition to being a Platinum-level sponsor of the biennial event, members of the Michigan Waterfront Alliance Board of Directors made substantive contributions to the overall success of the convention.

Representing one of the best attended sessions of the 2020 Michigan Inland Lakes Convention, the presentation entitled “Legal aspects of the public trust doctrine as it pertains to Michigan’s lakes and streams”, conducted by attorney William Carey of the Grayling-based law firm Carey and Jaskowski PLLC, and attorney Dane Carey of the Traverse City-based law firm Kuhn Rogers PLC, both long standing Michigan Waterfront Alliance Board members, provided attendees with an overview of their legal rights under the Michigan Environmental Protection Act, and the Public Trust Doctrine. Moreover, attendees were also apprised of the legal remedies that can be used to compel appropriate government agency response to combat negative environmental impacts on Michigan waterways. To view the recorded session entitled Public Trust Doctrine, click here.

We are also pleased to recognize the contribution of Michigan Waterfront Alliance Board member Scott Brown, who organized a lakes convention workshop entitled “An update on critical aspects of the forty-year starry stonewort bio-invasion”. The opening session was dedicated to providing viewers with an overview of the natural history, biology, morphology, reproductive capacity, and eco-physiological prerequisites of starry stonewort; the second session of the workshop was dedicated to exploring research conducted by Wesley Glisson of the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center focused on discovering and developing effective, eco-friendly herbicide application-based alternatives for controlling exotic invasive starry stonewort. The concluding session of the three-hour workshop was conducted by David Carr, manager of the Hobart and William Smith College Finger Lakes Institute’s Starry Stonewort Collaborative, who discussed the mission, goals, and status of an on-going United States Environmental Protection Agency grant enabled project that was launched in order to enhance the capacity of lake managers and scientists within the Great Lakes region to manage exotic invasive starry stonewort. To view the recorded starry stonewort focused presentations, click here.

On behalf of the Michigan Waterfront Alliance Board of Directors,, we would like to extend a Happy Thanksgiving to our members, and to all who work hard throughout the year to help preserve and protect Michigan’s vast wealth of high quality inland lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands!

Dedicating Oil and Gas Royalties to the Protection of Water Resources, Land, and State Parks in Perpetuity: 2020 Michigan Election Ballot Proposal 1 Passes with Overwhelming Support from Voters

Representing an important victory for land conservation and public recreation in Michigan, Michigan Waterfront Alliance is happy to report that on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020 Michigan voters “elected” to support Proposal 1 in a manner that can only be described as overwhelming. Passage of Proposal 1 essentially acts to remove the Natural Resources Trust Fund cap of $800 million in principal and interest, and permits the state trust fund to (again) start receiving revenue derived from royalties associated with natural gas and oil extraction in Michigan. Demonstrating a clear commitment to the protection and improvement of Michigan’s public lands and outdoor spaces, voter approval of Proposal 1 will allow the State Parks Endowment Fund to (again) start receiving money whose expenditure will be entirely dedicated to improving, maintaining, and purchasing land for State parks; for Fund administration; require subsequent oil and gas revenue from state-owned lands to go into the Natural Resources Trust Fund; require at least 20% of Endowment Fund annual spending go toward State park improvement; and require at least 25% of Trust Fund annual spending go toward parks and public recreation areas; and at least 25% toward land conservation.

Conserving Lakes in a Changing Environment”: The 2020 Michigan Inland Lakes Convention an Unqualified Success!!!

Attracting nearly 500 registered participants, including students, scientists, academicians, educators, lakefront property owners, lake preservation advocates, lake and aquatic plant management professionals, and state agency personnel all drawn to an exceptional agenda comprised of three full days of lake focused keynote addresses, special presentations, workshops, concurrent sessions, educational exhibits, photo and writing contests, and even an opportunity to win prizes during an inland lakes trivia competition, all supported this year by the generous contributions of an enthusiastic group of public and private sponsors, by all measures, the 2020 Michigan Inland Lakes Convention was an unqualified success!

Beginning with the inaugural event held in the spring of 2014, the biennial Michigan Inland Lakes Convention is the extraordinary by-product of the high level of cooperation that occurs between a broad range of inland lake and water resource preservation focused non-profit organizations, companies, and state agencies that comprise the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership, an organization dedicated to promoting collaboration between citizens, professionals, researchers, and governmental agencies in order to advance stewardship of Michigan’s vast legacy of inland lakes.

Kicking off on Wednesday, September 16th at 9:00 AM, and adjourning at 4:30 PM on Friday, September 18th, this year’s lakes convention featured dozens of well attended special events, workshops, and concurrent sessions each committed to exploring a particular lake conservation related topic aligned with this year’s overarching convention theme of “Conserving Lakes in a Changing Environment”. To view the complete 2020 Michigan Inland Lakes Convention program, click here. Convention organizers would like our readers to know that many of this year’s virtual lake convention workshops, concurrent sessions, and special events were recorded, and will be available in November by visiting the 2020 Michigan Inland Lakes Convention website.

This year’s lakes convention also featured two outstanding keynote addresses by prominent speakers. Opening Wednesday afternoon’s convention sessions, noted author of the renown “The Guide to Walden Pond”, University of Connecticut Professor of Geoscience Dr. Robert Thorsen presented “Michigan Inland Lakes: Their Different Origins and Why This Matters for Lake Managers”. Leading off Thursday morning’s convention proceedings, Dr. Kendra Spence Cheruvelil, Professor of Landscape Limnology within Michigan State University’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, delivered the convention’s second keynote address entitled “Lessons from LAGOS: Creating and using big data to understand lakes at broad scales of space and time”.

Editors Note: Michigan Waterfront Alliance is very proud to have been a “platinum” level sponsor of the 2020 Michigan Inland Lakes Convention. We would also like to extend a hearty congratulations to all who contributed in some way to the great success of this year’s lake convention!

Michigan Waterfront Alliance Encourages Voters to Support State Proposal 20-1

MICHIGAN WATERFRONT ALLIANCE WOULD LIKE YOU TO KNOW THAT YOUR –YES- VOTE ON STATE PROPOSAL 20-1 THAT WILL APPEAR ON THE NOVEMBER 3RD BALLOT WILL HELP ENSURE THE LONG TERM SUSTAINABILITY OF MICHIGAN’S EXTRAORDINARY STATE PARKS

STATE PROPOSALS

Proposal 20-1

A proposed constitutional amendment to allow money from oil and gas mining on state-owned lands to continue to be collected in state funds for land protection and creation and maintenance of parks, nature areas, and public recreation facilities; and to describe how money in those state funds can be spent.

This proposed constitutional amendment would:

• Allow the State Parks Endowment Fund to continue receiving money from sales of oil and gas from state-owned lands to improve, maintain and purchase land for State parks, and for Fund administration, until its balance reaches $800,000,000.

• Require subsequent oil and gas revenue from state-owned lands to go into the Natural Resources Trust Fund.

• Require at least 20% of Endowment Fund annual spending go toward State park improvement.

• Require at least 25% of Trust Fund annual spending go toward parks and public recreation areas and at least 25% toward land conservation.

Should this proposal be adopted?