By Paul J Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director
This article continues our focus on EGLE permits that riparians might find of interest. We will occasionally provide info about permits issued, or denied. We are also providing updates about contested permits challenged by various groups in the contested permit process through the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules (MOAHR).
The permits/cases of interest in this article are:
APPLICATION FOR MARINA PERMIT – MiWATERS #HPC-JEM9-EXPBJ, HUTCHINS LAKE: This application involves the request to install a new marina that includes permanent and seasonal docks/piers with finger docks/piers, and wetland fill within Hutchins Lake, Clyde Township, Allegan County. The marina is intended for use by multiple families/land owners. It is not a commercial marina in the traditional sense. EGLE does not require permits for seasonal docks/piers placed by riparians on their bottomland, and used only by the close immediate family of the riparian. However, once non-family members use a common dock/pier, then a permit is required by the Michigan Natural Resource and Environmental Act (NREPA).
The first public notice for the approximately 150 foot long ordinary high water mark (OHWM) permanent and seasonal dock/pier, and wetland fill, was posted on March 18, 2022. Only written comments were invited no later than April 7, 2022. No public hearing was scheduled, but EGLE reserved the right to conduct such a hearing. A few people in the Hutchins Lake area, including the Hutchins Lake Improvement Association, submitted comments and raised numerous concerns such as: navigation safety; destruction of wildlife/fish habitat; no reasonable alternative analysis; no carrying capacity study for the well developed and small lake; anti-funneling/key-holing impact; etc. The comments also raised concerns that the marina would impact the findings in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment Report – 2009-63 Status of the Fishery Resource. Subsequently, EGLE decided to schedule a public hearing that is set for May 9, 2022 starting at 6pm.
CAFO – MOAHR Docket # 20-009773: This appeal involves the new CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) permit requirements issued by EGLE on April 1, 2020. For analysis and background, please refer to Parts 1- 3 of this series in the NEWS section of our website: https://mymlsa.org/news/
This matter is now in the post-hearing process. The parties are preparing post hearing briefs and reply briefs, with the deadline set for the first week of July 2022. The matter is complex and a proposal for decision (PFD) by the Administrative Law Judge will probably be issued sometime before the end of calendar year 2022.
NEW BOATING ACCESS SITE (BAS) – MOAHR Docket # 16-015208: This case involves an application by the Michigan DNR to fill just under a half acre of Eagle Lake and construct a totally new BAS without any DNR-provided disinfection/decontamination station for the control of aquatic invasive species (AIS). The matter was contested in the MOAHR forum for contested permits. As this newsletter goes to press, the final decision by the EGLE Director has not yet been issued, and has been pending the final agency decision since October 21, 2021.