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E-M:/ Shoreland Wetlands

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>


May 1, 2003
Contact:  Joyce Daniels, Michigan Sea Grant, (734) 647-0766, joydan@umich.edu
Judy Delestowicz, Michigan State University Extension, (989) 895-4025, 
Great Lakes shoreline and wetlands: Task force issues report

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---- A special task force studying state and federal 
regulations on wetlands has made recommendations to the regulatory agencies 
to allow shoreline property owners access to their waterfront while 
maintaining the ecological value of the areas.
The Shoreline Task Force identified areas of inconsistency in existing Army 
Corps of Engineers and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) 
permitting processes and recommended that the agencies work together to 
alleviate these inconsistencies. It identified and enumerated the 
activities that shoreline property owners can undertake without requiring a 
permit from either the state or federal regulatory agency. (See list below.)
"We will be presenting the Shoreline Task Force recommendations and 
additional information about how to apply for permits and streamline the 
permitting process at several educational meetings around the state," said 
Howard Wetters, Michigan State University Bay County Extension 
director.  "This information will provide shoreline residents with tools 
they can use this summer to legally begin addressing their concerns about 
this issue."

The task force issued a consensus document that includes a set of 
recommendations for regulatory agencies, including the federal Corps of 
Engineers and state DEQ, as well as other agencies and organizations with a 
Great Lakes research mandate and interest in Great Lakes and coastal 
wetland issues.
"The consensus document and recommendations are a major step forward in 
addressing this important issue and balancing the rights of property owners 
and the public trust," said Dr. Jennifer Read, assistant director of 
Michigan Sea Grant. "The task force recommendations will provide direction 
and clarification about what activities are permitted on Great Lakes 
The consensus document clarifies the acceptability of some routine 
activities for shoreline homeowners, such as raking away debris, and 
building bonfires and sand castles. Activities that may require permits, 
such as mowing and path building, are also specified.
The Shoreline Task Force began meeting in November 2002 at the invitation 
of state Rep. Joseph Rivet (96th District) and the U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers.  Michigan State University Extension and Michigan Sea Grant 
representatives were asked to coordinate and facilitate the process and 
were designated as the group's spokespersons. The task force's primary goal 
was to develop a consensus document that identifies opportunities to allow 
shoreline property owners to access and enjoy their waterfront while 
maintaining the ecological value of the new wetland areas around the state.
The multi-party task force consisted of representatives of Michigan 
Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ); Save our Shoreline; Lone Tree 
Council; Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council; Michigan United Conservation 
Clubs; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Michigan Department of Natural 
Resources and an interested individual. Observers included representatives 
from U.S. Congressman Dale Kildee's office (MI-5th District), U.S. Sen. 
Debbie Stabenow's office, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin's office and state 
representative Dale Sheltrown's office (103rd District). The Corps provided 
technical assistance.
The task force enumerated those activities that are allowable under General 
Permit (DEQ), proposed Permit by Rule (DEQ) or Nationwide Permit (Corps). 
These permit types impose considerably less red tape on a landowner than 
individual permits because they do not require a public notice period and 
generally have lower fees.  The DEQ Permit by Rule process allows property 
owners to undertake specific activities after notification to DEQ (via a 
letter) stating their intention and that their property and proposed 
activity meet all of the specified criteria set out by the department under 
administrative rules. (See list below.)

The Shoreline Task Force Consensus Document is available from Wetters 
or  Read; and available at: http://www.lre.usace.army.mil under "Hot 
Topics," click on Saginaw Bay.  The consensus document will be presented to 
members of the Michigan legislature, which is currently considering 
legislation addressing this issue.
Michigan Sea Grant, a cooperative program of U-M and MSU, is part of a 
national network of 30 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and 
sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. Funding is provided 
through the National Sea Grant College Program by the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.
MSU Extension is an educational organization funded jointly by the County 
Board of Commissioners, the State of Michigan through Michigan State 
University and federally through the US Department of Agriculture.
For more information, contact Read at (734) 936-3622 or Wetters at (989) 
Activities that do not require a permit by DEQ or the Corps
-- Removing debris by hand
-- Hand shoveling/manually raking dead fish and zebra mussel shells
-- Hand shoveling/manually raking trash and dead vegetation
-- Manually burying debris such as dead fish, dead vegetation, and small 
trash items
-- Building a sand castle
-- Wheel barrow and mechanized vehicles can be used to transport above 
materials to uplands
-- Hand shoveling and raking wind blown sand from home sites
-- Hand shoveling/manually pulling plants (does not authorize the taking of 
threatened and endangered species), includes hand tools
-- Bonfire building
-- Temporary tent building and camping by permission of the property owner
-- Beaching boats and seasonal storage of ice shanties

Activities that require a DEQ General Permit or Permit by Rule and/or Corps 
Nationwide Permit:

Path Building:
(General specifications of the permit(s) - DEQ General Permit and Corps 
Nationwide Permit)
-- 6-foot wide path
-- Maximum length of 200 linear feet total, but can be built in sections
-- Can use up to 25 cubic yards of non-vegetated dredge material from below 
the ordinary high water mark to build the path
-- Also possible are seasonal, wooden walkways, 200 linear feet long, 6 
feet wide
-- Present photos with application
-- Either agency may respect site-visit of other agency
-- If you desire to fill areas falling outside of the pathway, contact your 
local Corps and DEQ office.

Mowing Vegetation
(General specifications of the permit(s) - DEQ General Permit, proposed 
Permit by Rule)
-- Corps: mowing, by mechanical or hand tools, of exposed lake bed or 
wetland areas is not regulated provided the soil is not disturbed other 
than by normal use of tires or footprints. The equipment may not relocate, 
grade, or redeposit soil.
-- DEQ: mowing is a regulated activity; the proposed Permit by Rule is to 
mow up to a 100 foot width from the ordinary high water mark to the water's 
edge with no soil disturbance (e.g. no plowing or disking). No mowing is 
allowed in a designated Environmental Area. Common tools include: 
lawnmowers, brush hogs, sickle-barred mowers, riding mowers.

(General specifications of the permit(s) - DEQ General Permit, proposed 
Permit by Rule)
-- Corps: no permit required for non-mechanical grooming from ordinary high 
water mark to the water's edge;
-- DEQ proposed Permit by Rule for mechanical grooming is 30 feet landward 
from water's edge on non-vegetated areas


Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
Evidence Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com

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