NEWS

EPA Creates New Harmful Algal Bloom Focused Web Resource

August 7, 2012 12:03

The United Photo of Microcystis bloom at Ohio River, 2008. Photo by Jim Crawford, Ohio EPAStates Environmental Protection Agency has created an information rich and useful on-line resource dedicated to Cyanobacteria associated Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB). Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, are of particular concern because of their potential impacts on drinking and recreational waters. In freshwater based resources, cyanobacteria can produce unsightly conditions along  shorelines and in open waters degrading aquatic habitats and posing a health risk to humans, pets or wildlife.

The newly created on-line resource includes information on freshwater harmful algal blooms and their various effects to help inform the general public about potential impacts of toxic algal blooms in freshwater.

This information rich resource can be accessed by clicking here



MNFI & DNR Seek Your Help in Identifying Aquatic Invasive Plants

July 5, 2012 15:48



An Update on the Public Road Ends Law

July 3, 2012 10:07

New Michigan Public Road Ends Law Invokes
Enforcement, Resentment and Confusion

In hundreds of lakefront communities throughout Michigan, local  government officials, lakefront property owners, law enforcement officials as well as those with a long history of using publicly owned road ends to install their docks, boat hoists and other boat associated equipment are struggling to come to terms with the letter and intent of  Michigan’s new public road ends law, known as Public Act 56.

Signed by Lieutenant Governor Calley on March 22, 2012, Public Act 56 provided statewide codification of now twenty year old court rulings that limit 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. Please read Public Act 56 in its entirety on page two of this newsletter.

Based on our recent conversations with various township officials, law enforcement agencies as well as the with DEQ Water Resource Division officials, here is a synopsis of various activities that have ensued as a result of the passage of Public Act 56:

  • Individuals who have attempted to install seasonal docks and/boat hoists on publicly owned road have been warned by state, county and township law enforcement officials to cease and desist.  ML&SA is not aware of any case where law enforcement officials have issued the $500.00 dollar per day fine specified for violations under  Public Act 56.
  • The MI DEQ has just completed a public comment period regarding a proposed Minor Permit category for which local units of government would have to apply for and gain issuance of a DEQ permit before installing a seasonal “public dock at a public road end” under the auspices of Public Act 56.  The proposed Minor Permit category has not yet been finalized by the MI DEQ; nor has it yet been determined whether the DEQ will issue such permits without first requiring public notification of  affected lakefront communities.
  • Under the proposed MI DEQ Minor Permit category covering installation of seasonal public docks, only local units of government will be able to apply for and receive MI DEQ permits for the installation of public docks at public road ends or on publicly owned lands. Permits will not be issued to private individuals or groups for the installation of public docks on public lands.
  •  Local units of government may not yet be aware that an MI DEQ permit will be required for the installation of “of one seasonal public dock at public road ends”. ML&SA strongly suggests that our members seek to educate their respective local officials regarding this requirement.
  • Public Act 56 does not apply to privately owned road ends or easements owned by individuals or lake associations or to those who possess legal “recorded deed, recorded easement, or other recorded  dedication.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



MLSA and MI Riparian Central Office Re-location

May 17, 2012 18:54

The Michigan Lake and Stream Associations, Inc.,  Michigan Lakes and Streams Foundation, Inc. and The Michigan Riparian Magazine Central Office will be moved to a new location within the Village of Stanton, Michigan effective the week of May 21, 2012.  All United States Postal Service deliverable mail should now be addressed as follows:

Michigan Lake and Stream Associations, Inc.
300  N.  State  St.   Suite A
Stanton, Michigan  48888

Michigan Lakes and Streams Foundation, Inc.
300  N.  State  St.   Suite A
Stanton, Michigan  48888

The Michigan Riparian Magazine
300 N. State St.   Suite A
Stanton, Michigan  48888



Public Road Ends Legislation Becomes Law in Michigan

March 23, 2012 15:41

Senate Bill 778 Becomes Public Act 56

The Michigan Senate and House have passed legislation that clearly defines and restricts the type of activities that may legally occur at the thousands of public road ends that terminate on Michigan’s inland lakes and streams.  The bill revises the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Public Act 451 of 1994 by adding a section that specifically addresses public road ends.  The legislation was signed by Lt. Governor Calley on March 22,2012 and takes affect immediately as Public Act 56.

The language of Senate Bill 778 provides statewide legal codification of nearly twenty year old court rulings that limited public road ends to one public dock, forbids overnight mooring and the installation of boat hoists. The Michigan Waterfront Alliance, Michigan Lake and Stream Associations and the Higgins Lake Property Owners Association have been pro-actively pursuing the introduction and passage of public road ends legislation for many years. Unregulated activity at public road ends has contributed to public road right of way hazards, promoted uncivil behavior, shoreline degradation and has created additional pathways for the introduction of aquatic invasive species into Michigan lakes and streams.

Here is the bill in its entirety:

 

Sec. 30111b.

(1)  A public road end shall not be used for any of the following unless a recorded deed,  recorded easement, or other recorded dedication expressly provides otherwise:

(a) Construction, installation, maintenance, or use of boat hoists or boat anchorage devices.

(b)  Mooring or docking of a vessel between 12 midnight and sunrise.

(c)  Any activity that obstructs ingress to or egress from the inland lake or stream.

(2)  A public road end shall not be used for the construction, installation, maintenance, or use of a dock or wharf other than a single seasonal public dock or wharf that is authorized by the local unit of government, subject to any permit required under this part. This subsection does not prohibit any use that is expressly authorized by a recorded deed, recorded easement, or other recorded dedication. This subsection does not permit any use that exceeds the uses authorized by a recorded deed, recorded easement, other recorded dedication, or a court order.

(3)  The local unit of government may prohibit a use of a public road end that violates this section.

(4)  A person who violates subsection (1) or (2) is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $500.00. Each 24-hour period in which a violation exists constitutes a separate violation of this section.

(5)  This section does not prohibit a person or agency from commencing a civil action for conduct that violates this section.

(6)  As used in this section:

(a) “Local unit of government” means the county, township, city, or village with jurisdiction over a public road.

(b) “Public road” means a county road or a township, city, or village street that is open for use by the public.

(c) “Public road end” means the terminus of a public road at an inland lake or stream.



Legislature Creates Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Council

January 16, 2012 13:29

Michigan Creates Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Council

The Michigan state legislature has passed, and Governor Snyder has signed into law, an important suite of late session bills designed to re-vitalize the state’s overall strategy in effectively responding to the onslaught of harmful aquatic invasive plants and animals that continues to occur in the waters of the State of Michigan and throughout the Great Lakes region. more »



Position Paper of MLSA Regarding Proposed Public Road Ends at Lakes Legislation

December 2, 2011 19:43

POSITION PAPER OF THE   ML&SA REGARDING PROPOSED PUBLIC ROAD ENDS AT LAKES LEGISLATION

(November, 2011)

1.     What are these road ends?

Many inland lakes in Michigan have public roads (whether developed or undeveloped) which end perpendicular at the lake.  These are public roads and, hence, public property.  Theoretically, both the county road commission and local township government where a given road end is located have certain jurisdiction over such public roads.  The width of the rights-of-way or easements for these public roads vary—they can be anywhere from only 10 feet wide to 66 feet wide in some cases. more »



The Top Ten Excuses—Are You Kidding?!

November 29, 2011 00:33

Editors Note:  This is the second in a series of articles that will appear in Michigan Lake and Stream Associations media in regards to the upcoming 2012 general election.  Michigan has 1,242 townships spread across eighty three counties, and thousands more municipal governments in cities and towns throughout the state.  These local units of government have been empowered by the state legislature and by several Michigan courts to pass lake friendly ordinances. The sad fact is, local government entities have passed very few ordinances designed to protect these magnificent natural resources.  The following article, written several years ago by our chief counsel, Cliff Bloom,  reflects the prevailing attitude of the majority of these local units of government even today.  We would suggest that local government officials providing only excuses to concerned citizens seeking  to protect our fresh water resources should be considered for retirement on the first Tuesday of next November.

The Top Ten Excuses – Are You Kidding ?!

By Clifford H. Bloom,  Attorney-at-Law

Are you one of the unlucky riparians who own property on a lake where local officials refuse to do anything to help the lakes? In particular, has your municipality refused to enact anti- funneling/key-holing regulations, road end ordinances or lake preservation zoning techniques because municipal officials have one or more lame excuses for not doing so? Does it frustrateyou that the excuses appear to be a smoke screen for municipal officials who want to adopt such regulations and do not have the courage to simply say so? If so, this column is dedicated to you and contains the top 10 baseless excuses which some municipal officials use to justify not doing their jobs. more »



State Senate To Consider Legislation Restricting Activity at Public Road Ends

November 11, 2011 03:25

S.B. 778 Seeks to Restore Safety and Order to Our  Inland Lakes and Streams

Following decades of well publicized legal wrangling and high profile court cases whose decisions are known to Michigan’s legion of well informed riparians, the Michigan State Senate will soon consider legislation that, if passed and signed into law, would clearly define and restrict activity at the thousands of public road ends that  terminate at inland lakes and streams. Senate Bill 778 cleared the Judiciary Committee and was reported to the full Senate on October 26th. A House of Representatives version of the legislation is expected to be introduced soon.

As approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the language of the bill  states that “a public road end shall not be used for any of the following unless a recorded deed, recorded easement, or other recorded dedication expressly provides otherwise:

  • construction, installation, maintenance, or use of boat hoist or
    boat anchorage devices;
  • mooring or docking of a vessel between 12 midnight and sunrise;
  • any activity that obstructs ingress to or egress from the inland lake or stream.”

In addition, the bill states that “a public road end shall not be used for the construction, installation,   maintenance, or use of a dock or wharf other than a single seasonal public dock or wharf that is authorized by the local unit of government.” Violators would be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.

Michigan Lake and Stream Associations enthusiastically supports the expedient passage and enactment of this long overdue legislation that seeks to provide a simple, pragmatic and equitable solution to the myriad of social, legal and  natural resources management related issues that frequently arise at heretofore unregulated public road ends.

We strongly suggest that the riparian readers of this newsletter immediately contact their respective state senators and representatives to encourage their support for this important legislation – passage of Senate Bill 778 is by no means guaranteed, please add your voice to those of the Michigan Waterfront Alliance and Michigan Lake and Stream Associations now to help ensure that a modicum of responsibility, civility as well as law and  order are  re-established next summer on our priceless  inland lakes and streams.  We may not have a second opportunity to accomplish this important legislative goal – act now, pick-up the telephone or e-mail your senators and representatives today !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Will You Elect Local Government Officials Who Are “Pro-Lake” ?

October 30, 2011 13:43

Local Governance is Critical to Responsible Lake Management

by Paul J. Sniadecki, President, Eagle Lake Improvement Association, Inc.

The next general election is only 12 months away, and most local municipalities in Michigan will elect to retain or to bring new faces and ideas to their governing bodies in early November of 2012. We should never underestimate how effective a local municipality (a township, city, or village) can be in protecting local lakes, if progressive, conservation oriented people are elected to the governing body. The overall impact on lakes (whether positive or negative) can be dramatic. Local governments can pursue pro-lake policies through progressive zoning ordinances and/or their master plans – they possess well established legal authority to pass ordinances and policies that regulate storm water runoff, lake access and public road ends, dock placement and public boat launch facilities, lakefront residential and commercial development, natural shoreline preservation and restoration, create local environmental committees as well as develop and implement local natural resources conservation guidelines.

Unfortunately, in some townships with lakes, it is difficult to elect pro-lake officials since the majority of riparian property owners are not residents (and hence, are not locally registered voters). There are also many instances of non-riparians sitting on the township board who are not particularly sympathetic to lake issues. In other townships, riparians have no such excuse, as there are sufficient riparian voters to be able to elect township boards comprised entirely of pro-lake people, but this rarely occurs, primarily due to apathy among riparians.

Now is the time to assess your local situation and make plans to bring about the needed changes to your local governing body. All riparians should determine which current local officials merit “retention”, and which ones need to be voted out. Riparians with basic leadership ability should be identified and encouraged to run for office. Do not accept lack of governmental ”knowledge/experience” as a barrier or as an excuse – the Michigan Townships Association, the Michigan Municipal League, the Michigan Association of Planners as well as Michigan State University regularly conduct training classes and seminars for those involved in and/or those interested in serving in an official municipal government capacity. These training events occur throughout the year and in many convenient locations throughout the state of Michigan.

Please visit the following websites of the aforementioned organizations and educational institutions that offer outstanding and affordable training opportunities for those considering a run for local elected office.

Michigan Township Associations: http://www.michigantownships.org/training.asp

Michigan Municipal League: http://www.mml.org/events/index.html

Michigan Association of Planners: http://www.planningmi.org/events_2.asp

Michigan State University Citizen Planner Program: http://citizenplanner.msu.edu/

MSU Institute of Water Research: http://35.9.116.206/IWR/VU/modules/drain/drain.asp

In addition, folks interested in running for local government office can find helpful information regarding election filing deadlines and Candidate Petition Requirements for 2012 by visiting:

http://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,4670,7-127-1633_8721_11839—,00.html

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a year long series of articles that will appear in this section of our web site regarding the upcoming general election. As Mr. Sniadecki has so effectively illustrated in his article, local elections in particular present Michigan voters with an outstanding opportunity to foster constructive, community-based pre-election discussion and debate focused on the important role of local government in the wise management of Michigan’s wealth of lake and stream resources. The significance of this discussion is highlighted by the fact that very few local governments in Michigan have effectively exercised their state legislature granted authority to contribute to the preservation and protection of our inland lakes and streams. You and your neighbors are uniquely empowered to affect the outcome of local elections and the future of your favorite lake or stream!



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