By Scott Brown, Executive Director
First of all, congratulations to Wamplers Lake Property Owners Association for your hard work in successfully restoring your Public Act 188 Special Assessment District which will allow you to continue to make progress in protecting your gem of an inland lake from the harm caused by uncontrolled Eurasian Water Milfoil and Starry Stonewort. We are in absolute agreement that property owners associations in Michigan should not have to shoulder the entire burden for financing the management of aquatic invasive species that have been introduced primarily by recreational boaters coming through the public boat launch facilities. In our view, the recreational boating community is enjoying great fishing and boating conditions in large part preserved in inland lakes due to the efforts of property owners associations like yours and should be asked to pay their fair share in funding the on-going battle against invasive species. Our best hope for righting this unfair situation is for you to contact your state legislators. Did you know that just a few letters, emails, or phone calls to a legislator can help influence their decision on any particular issue? Please help ML&SA fix this now decades old injustice by contacting your state legislator today! Feel free to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like information that will help you effectively communicate about this important issue with our state lawmakers.
If you do not weigh-in on this important issue, don’t expect things to change! You’ll just continue to pay your share of the Special Assessment District year-after-year and the thousands of folks using the DNR Walter J. Hayes State Park boat launch facility over the course of each summer will not even have the common courtesy of thanking you for your outstanding efforts to keep Wamplers Lake healthy and continuing to offer great opportunities for everyone to swim, fish and water ski!
Seeking to provide assistance to lake associations throughout Michigan who continue to pay Special Assessment Districts related to aquatic invasive species control, Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) has introduced a bill in the current legislative session that would allow local governments to pass an ordinance that would permit the collection of user fees at locally owned public launch facilities (excluding DNR-owned launch facilities). While Michigan’s Senate Bill 104 is still very early in the legislative process, a member of Senator Casperson’s staff indicated very recently that the bill would probably be considered later this year. Again, a call to your particular state legislator indicating your support could help move the bill forward! While we do not view the legislation as the “silver bullet” fix to aquatic invasive species management funding, we do consider Senator Casperson’s bill to be an important part of solving the overall AIS funding issue. For readers who would like to read Michigan Senator Bill 104 in its entirety, visit: www.mymlsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/2015-SIB-0104.pdf.
We would like to also encourage you to keep an eye out for yet another group of uninvited and highly invasive aquatic plants that appear to be spreading throughout Michigan. These include Flowering Rush, Parrot Feather Water Milfoil, Water Chestnut and Brazilian Water Weed, among several others. Several of these “wonderful” new plants have already been observed in southeast Michigan and within a one hour drive to the Irish Hills area – It would be unwise to assume that one or more of these highly invasive aquatic hitchhikers will not end up in Wamplers Lake.
Finally, save the dates for the 2016 Michigan Inland Lakes Convention that will occur at Boyne Mountain Resort on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, April 28-30. This will be another outstanding opportunity to learn more about inland lake stewardship and conservation! We hope to see you there. Look for more info regarding the Convention later this year!
Have an enjoyable and safe summer on one of Michigan’s premier freshwater resources – Wamplers Lake! And, on behalf of Michigan Lake and Stream Associations, thank you again for all of your efforts to preserve the beauty and value of your lake!