Michigan Lake and Stream Associations, Inc. is a fifty two year old non-profit organization whose membership is comprised of hundreds of lake associations, corporations and individual members throughout the state who share a common goal and vested interest in preserving and protecting the ecological, recreational and economic value of our profound wealth of inland lakes and streams for future generations.
For over sixty years, our members, the conscientious men and women of lake associations throughout the state, have voluntarily placed themselves at the forefront of a never ending battle with a destructive array of aquatic invasive plants and animals. Through self-imposed special property tax assessments whose funds are specifically allocated to implementing long term plans to manage the aquatic invasive species that have entered their lakes primarily through public boating access sites, lake associations and their respective townships have placed themselves at the epicenter of efforts to preserve and protect the recreational and economic value of thousands of Michigan’s inland lakes. The on-going efforts of our state’s lake associations have ensured the preservation of viable recreational boating and fishing opportunities for the public as well as the unique lakefront lifestyles and private businesses whose success is so dependent on healthy aquatic ecosystems and good water quality.
We are sad to note that after more than sixty years since the first introduction of aquatic invasive species into the inland waters of the State of Michigan, our state government has yet to enact legislation that would create an effective and sustainable aquatic invasive species management funding mechanism that would serve to redistribute a sizable, yet equitable, portion of the financial burden and responsibility for the cost of aquatic invasive species management to Michigan’s expansive public recreational boating and fishing communities as well as to every citizen who benefits from the presence of high quality inland waters.
Scientists, governmental regulators and aquatic resource managers throughout the state have acknowledged that the potential threat posed by the propagation of highly aggressive and rapidly colonizing aquatic invasive plants such as Hydrilla and Brazilian water weed, will require heretofore un-achieved levels of public funding as well as intensive collaboration between state government and water resources stakeholders in order to effectively thwart and/or minimize extensive damage to our state’s highly beneficial aquatic ecosystems.
Therefore, in light of these indisputable facts, Michigan Lake and Stream Associations hereby strongly suggests that the Michigan State Waterways Commission and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources place an immediate moratorium on the expansion, upgrade or new construction of public boat launch facilities until such time as the State of Michigan enacts legislation in order to provide for a viable and sustainable operational funding mechanism with which to support the management and control aquatic invasive species within the inland waters of the State of Michigan.
For far too long, Michigan lake associations and/or lake communities throughout the state have been asked to singularly shoulder the burden of aquatic invasive species management and control while the recreational boating and fishing public as well as a diverse population of citizen stakeholders who continue to reap the benefits of navigable waters and good fishing have not been asked to contribute a fair and equitable amount with which to help support and sustain these collective efforts.