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It’s a Date! February Zoom Meeting Details

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Our discussion about Lake Monitoring in 2020 was a success, we had 24 participants and a recording of the meeting is available by request (melissa.desimone@mlswa.org). Also, the details about lake monitoring this year can be found in “Love Your Lake? Continue Monitoring in 2020”.

We will continue to meet monthly and welcome your ideas for discussion. Feel free to “zoom” in with the camera and speakers on your computer or call in to the phone number provided.

This month we will discuss Volunteers and Other Topics, our meeting will be on Friday, February 28 at 1:00PM EST, connection details are below:

Join Zoom Meeting Online: https://zoom.us/j/256326654

Call In to the Meeting: 646-558-8656

Love Your Lake? Continue Monitoring in 2020

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ICYMI … we have detailed information for what you can do in 2020 to continue your lake monitoring efforts. Please take a look at the information provided at this link: https://www.hrwc.org/what-we-do/programs/2020-lake-monitoring/

We want to thank MSU Extension and the Huron River Watershed Council for their collaboration on this year’s program. The full MiCorps CLMP (Cooperative Lake Monitoring Program) will be available again in 2021.

Dissolved oxygen meters are not available for use from EGLE in 2020. But, MLSA can assist you in purchasing a meter for use in 2020 that will meet EGLE’s requirements. If MLSA orders five or more meters we can get a reduced rate, we are selling at cost with no mark up. Orders must be placed by April 1, 2020.

Click here for the full list of DO Meter options.

Please contact Mike Gallagher: 269-209-1566

Conference Session Preview: Aquatic Plant Survey Methods for Lake Management

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by Dr. Jennifer L. Jermalowicz-Jones, MLSA Board Director

Aquatic vegetation survey methods are critical for the early detection rapid response protocol in controlling invasive aquatic plant species. Such methods utilize the use of global positioning systems (GPS) that accurately record the specific locations of these invasive species. This allows for lake managers to re-visit individual sites and determine if the invasive species are spreading further in a lake or are responding to a particular treatment.

At the annual MLSA conference in May 2020, a presentation will be given that focuses on the different survey methods that are used in Michigan inland lakes. This includes the Aquatic Vegetation Assessment Site (AVAS) survey method and the Point-Intercept method. Both are commonly used along with additional collection methods such as rake tossing and grapple hooks. Collection methods are usually used in combination with survey methods to allow for close-up identification of individual aquatic plants. This assists the lake manager with precise determination of the species and growth habit of the plants. The majority of aquatic plants have both a common name and scientific name which can be confusing as some common names can be similar among species. Thus, it is important to use the scientific (Latin) name during vegetation surveys or a unique species numerical code. Many of our inland lakes in Michigan contain over 32 native aquatic plant species. 

***Plan to attend the MLSA conference presentation to learn more about these species, the associated survey methods, and how they help YOU to monitor the lake you love!

Michigan Residents Favor Stronger Regulations to Improve Water Quality and Safety

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Poll Respondents Rate Inland Lakes & Streams

By: Paul J. Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director

“Pure Waters: A Citizens Agenda for Water Quality and Affordability in Michigan,” a report released on February 12, 2020, by The Center for Michigan, reveals that Michigan residents favor stronger regulations to improve water quality and safety. 

The findings were developed from The Center for Michigan’s “Your Water, Your Voice” public engagement campaign. From September through November 2019, the Center gathered input from more than 3,100 residents who participated in a statewide poll, attended more than 20 town halls and solutions summits, or responded to a Bridge magazine reader survey. 

Nearly 7 in 10 residents in the survey say the Great Lakes are in good or great shape. However, respondents had more skepticism about the quality of inland lakes and steams, with just over half saying they are in good condition. That means 46.3 percent rated inland lakes and streams as Fair-Poor-Terrible.

Nearly 80 percent of participants said Michigan should “strengthen regulations to protect water quality,” with only 3 percent saying Michigan should “loosen regulations if needed to promote economic growth.” Only 17 percent felt the state should “keep regulations generally the same”. If trade offs must be made between environmental preservation and economic development, most Michiganders polled said they prioritized protecting water quality.

Interestingly, during the lame-duck legislative session in 2018, the state adopted a law dictating that Michigan regulations cannot be more stringent than those set by the federal government, unless the state shows a “clear and convincing” need due to “exceptional circumstances.” Three in 5 poll respondents said the state should repeal this law. 

Six in 10 respondents supported increased oversight of private wells and septic tanks. Many cited that Michigan is the only state in the nation without a unified septic code, and leaking septic tanks can contaminate surface water and water wells with E. coli to the detriment of public and ecological health. 

The report also covered resident concerns about PFAS, Line 5, and Public Water Systems.  Download the report here.

Boating Access Site Survey Results from DNR

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A Note from MLSA’s Executive Director, Melissa DeSimone: We are pleased that the Michigan DNR is taking a look at the aquatic invasive species (AIS) contamination around their boating access sites. For a full list of all the data compiled through this sampling project, please click here and click on the graphic above, for the full report.

As you may recall, we have also been compiling data from lakes about their AIS infestations and control measures, to take this survey and/or update the information for your lake please click here. So far 145 responses have been recorded and only 10 of those lakes indicated that they are NOT treating for invasive species. 85% or 123 of the lakes are managing Eurasian watermilfoil, 55% or 79 for curly-leaf pond weed, and 49% or 71 for starry stonewort just to highlight a few.

The next meeting of the Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force is later this month and we continue to work with the DNR on these issues.

Rollback of Federal Clean Water Protections

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By: Paul J. Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director

A rollback of Federal Clean Water protections has been implemented. The changes, finalized on Jan. 23, 2020 scale back the interpretation of which waterways qualify for protection against pollution and development under the nearly half-century-old Clean Water Act (CWA-1972). Potentially about half of the nation’s remaining wetlands could be impacted. The federal revision comes subsequent to a Michigan lame-duck legislative measure approved in 2018 that lessens environmental protections for Michigan’s wetlands.

The 1972 Clean Water Act authorized the federal government to regulate the discharge of pollutants into “navigable waters,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Under a 2015 revised Federal EPA Rule, that was expanded to include smaller, upstream waterways and wetlands.

While the current rollback is set to take effect within about 60 days, environmental groups vow court challenges, perhaps delaying its implementation. On the other hand, groups like the Michigan Farm Bureau and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce welcome the rollback because it helps provide clarity on what is regulated and what requires a permit.

This environmental struggle could impact Michigan. Over the decades, the state has lost many of its wetlands, which are wildlife habitats and fish nursery areas. Research shows wetlands are vital to lake and stream water quality, because they help control flooding, absorb storm water runoff, and help filter out pollutants.

Under the implemented revisions, temporary bodies of water, those that form only after rainfall or flow only part of the year and dry up at other times, are now exempt from federal protections. This exception also applies to waste treatment systems, groundwater, certain cropland and farm watering ponds.

Some conservation experts anticipate the rollback will have little short-term effect on Michigan wetlands. The reason being Michigan now has regulatory control over wetlands, as one of only two states with authority to issue federal wetland permits. However, the longer-term impact remains unknown. MLSA will provide updates on this matter as more information becomes available. 

EGLE Press Release

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Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE)

Press Release from Feb. 10, 2020

by Nick Assendelft, EGLE Public Information Officer

High water summit identifies resources, needs in response to growing statewide issue

Town halls planned across Michigan to engage, inform residents

State, federal, and local officials pledged today at the first Michigan High Water Coordinating Summit to collaborate closely and share resources in responding to public health and safety challenges created by Michigan’s near-record high water levels.

Participants in today’s summit — convened by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — agreed to form an ad hoc Michigan High Water Action Team. The multi-agency consortium will collaborate to:

  • Identify available assets that can be marshaled in response to high water incidents.
  • Coordinate communications across agencies and levels of government to ensure residents receive information in a timely, accurate, and consistent fashion.

Town hall meetings are to be scheduled around the state this spring to inform residents about the impacts of high water levels and the state government’s response. Details on these events will be available in the coming weeks.

For the full article including a list of participating organizations, click here.

To contact the author: AssendelftN@Michigan.gov, 517-388-3135

Lake Monitoring 2020

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CLMP in 2020 – Stay Tuned…

We received this message from EGLE on January 14, 2020: “MiCorps is a network of volunteer water quality monitoring programs in Michigan created by former Governor Granholm under Michigan Executive Order #2003-15 to assist the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) in collecting and sharing water quality data. Initial funding for the MiCorps program was provided through the Clean Michigan Initiative (CMI) bond; however, due to the exhaustion of these CMI funds, MiCorps has dealt with uncertainty in the past few years while trying to find another long-term funding source.

EGLE is proud to announce that funding has been secured from Renew Michigan Initiative in order to create a new five-year contract for the MiCorps program. Due to the timing of acquiring this funding and the necessary transition to initiate a new contract, the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP) will not be able to be funded in 2020, but will return in 2021.

The CLMP and the Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program (VSMP) will both be included in the new contract. MiCorps is excited to build on this fantastic program by updating the long-term database and website along with reinstating stream macroinvertebrate grants.

MiCorps would like to thank all the volunteers for your support of the program.”

A follow up from MLSA: The MiCorps partner organizations – other than EGLE – are exploring ways to maintain some limited volunteer lake monitoring during this transition year. We will be offering monitoring opportunities in 2020 but we only just receive this news from EGLE so we will announce our plans for this year as soon as possible.

Please stay tuned, we will have more information soon!

New! MLSA Virtual Meet Up

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We want to meet with you! In each newsletter we will announce a date for a monthly virtual meeting that anyone can join with a link. We will have some general topics ready but really want to hear from you and allow you the time and space to network with other members. Feel free to “zoom” in with the camera and speakers on your computer or call in to the phone number provided.

This month we will be meeting on Friday, January 31st at 1:00PM EST to discuss:

Lake Monitoring and More

Connection details are below:

Join Zoom Meeting – https://zoom.us/j/103858565

Meeting ID: 103 858 565

Dial by your location

       +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)

       +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)

Meeting ID: 103 858 565

We Moved!

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Our goal for 2020 and beyond is to make sure your membership dollars are working harder for our mission. In an effort to reallocate funds for the important work we all believe in, we have closed our Stanton office. We can still be reached at (989) 831-5100 and info@mlswa.org but our new mailing address is now:

Michigan Lakes and Streams Association, Inc

PO Box 19615

Kalamazoo, MI 49019

Wondering if you missed an opportunity to have an in-person meeting with us? Have no fear! Our board and staff will always be available to assist you and would be happy to set up a coffee shop meeting, a virtual meeting, or attend a larger meeting you may have planned throughout the year.