From Chairman Robert Smith for 2017
Les Cheneaux Watershed Council (LCWC) accomplishments have been regularly supported by individuals within the community and by organizations that include: Les Cheneaux Islands Association, Community Foundation, Islands Wildlife, Lions International and Clark Township. LCWC has also been awarded grants by the Environmental Protection Agency, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative as well as State of Michigan sources.
General Community Projects:
* Supported Clark Township effort to develop Cedarville Harbor.
o Fundraising goals met
o Engineering drawings approved
o Project bids to be invited in early 2018.
* Consulted with Clark Township to further reduce treatment plant effluent nutrients.
o Efficient aeration system installed at Sewer Treatment Plant to reduce operating costs and maintain or further reduce nutrient load in discharge effluent.
* Sponsored 16th Annual FrogFest for community environmental awareness.
o Event organized by LCWC and supported by numerous groups, including: Clark Township, Cedarville High School, Intermediate School District, Lake State Univ, Michigan DNR, US Forest Service, and the Les Cheneaux organization of Lions, Community Foundation, Islands Association and Islands Wildlife.
* Sponsored Tall Ship visits to the Les Cheneaux Islands in 2016 and 2017 from the Inland Seas Educational Association with support from Cedarville High School, Community Foundation, Intermediate School District and the Les Cheneaux Lions Club.
* Annual Spring Newsletter
Environmental / Economic Projects.
* Monitored island-wide water quality for recreational use.
o From 2001 to present.
o Supported by Les Cheneaux Islands Association.
* Completed 6 yr Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum, EWM) management study
o Identified a native fungus as an effective, safe biological control agent for EWM management
o Fungus provides over 80% EWM control with a single application per season.
o Developed manufacturing process for production of fungus at commercial scale.
* Completed 5 yr aquatic weed monitoring project
o Discovered a growth dynamic within Les Cheneaux whereby the species and density of aquatic weeds shifts dramatically in more nutrient rich areas.
* Collaborated with and subcontracted with Michigan Tech Univ to develop rapid detection method for invasive aquatic weeds using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs aka drones)
* Studied impact of Lake Huron water level on LCI ecology.
o 2011 – present.
o Documented phytoplankton shifts in response to unprecedented rate of lake level rise.
* Continued efforts that began in 2003 to work with local groups as well as state and federal agencies in establishing a long-term management program for the Double Crested Cormorant.
* Continue to monitor the recreational quality of Les Cheneaux waters.
* Keep the community aware of positive and negative environmental issues that may impact Les Cheneaux area.
* Recommend community actions to consider in dealing with water-centric environmental issues.
Watershed Council Accomplishments for 2011 - 2016
* Cedarville High School Stem Project
o Contributed to purchase of UAV.
o Consulted with science teacher on aquatic issues. 2014—present.
* Environmental awareness oral presentations outside community
o Restore Our Waters International (ROWI) 2012 - 2015
o Northern Michigan Univ on LCWC Invasive milfoil program 2013
o State of Lake Huron Binational Meeting. 2015
o Huron Pines Annual General Meeting 2016
o Univ Michigan Biological Station 2016
* Communicate with similar organization on water-centric issues of common interest.
o Tip Of The Mitt Watershed Council
o Georgian Bay Association
o Michigan Tech Univ
o Three Shores Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) of Chippewa,
Mackinac and Luce counties
o Univ Mich Biological Station
Technical reports in progress.
* Les Cheneaux Community Foundation (LCCF) Blastomycosis brochure---Edited Dec 2017
* Native fungus for use as mycoherbicide for invasive milfoil management
* Invasive milfoil and other nuisance aquatic plant growth cycles within nutrient rich areas of LCI
* Water Quality data for 2017
* Water temperature data correlation to invasive milfoil growth & management by native fungus
* Sewer Treatment Plant assay detection limit by DeTour water plant.
* Phytoplankton correlation to phosphorus availability in Les Cheneaux Island channels
o Collaboration with Mich Tech
* Great Lakes Water Level Policies
* Enbridge Line-5
* Asian Carp
* Diversion of water from Great Lakes Basin
Watershed Council Accomplishments for 2001 – 2010
* Completed five-year water quality of island chain to determine the general recreational health of Les Cheneaux waters (2006).
* Successfully managed Eurasian watermilfoil in Cedarville Bay using an integrated approach of biological control by weevils and mechanical weed harvester. (2008).
* Developed Les Cheneaux Islands Watershed Management Plan. (2005)
o Three-year study of the entire Les Cheneaux watershed to identify areas in need of attention to maintain high quality land and water natural resources then to follow through with plans to address same.
o Highlights of three-year Michigan-supported watershed study:
? Hosted & participated in three water quality workshops
? Published five informational newsletters
? Collaborated on twelve news articles.
? Incorporated water quality recognition into Clark Twp Master Plan/Zoning Ordinance
? Permanently protected twenty-two acres of critical habitat along Pearson Creek
? Completed land owner/township planning sessions for Meridian Road
? Completed Beavertail Creek crossing of Prentiss Bay road.
* Channel Dredge Project: In support of Clark Township, organized a four-million dollar dredge project of federal channels to make the islands more attractive for cruising vessels which will, in turn, aid local economy. Project completed in 2011.
* Sewer Treatment Plant: Identified the Clark Township sewage treatment plant as the primary cause of nutrient enrichment of Cedarville Bay, the result of which has been premature aging of the bay.
o Advised Clark Twp for process to reduce nutrients in STP discharges.
The primary commitment of our Council is to monitor the Les Cheneaux recreational water quality which has been ongoing since 2001 and has been exclusively underwritten by the Les Cheneaux Island Association. Fortunately, there has been no measurable difference in the recreational quality of our LCI waters during the past 14 years based upon laboratory analysis of our water samples by the University of Michigan chemists.
We presently have a major opportunity for control of Eurasian watermilfoil using a native, safe, biological control agent. This is a highly significant landmark event driven by LCWC board members. LCWC is preparing for a third year of evaluating an experimental aquatic fungus which, if we repeat the degree of efficacy observed during the past two years, will be promoted for commercialization by a third party manufacturer and marketed across the U.S. and Canada. If our biocontrol agent is commercialized then LCWC will be in a position to receive royalties from the manufacturer which will relieve our Council from financial concerns for a long time to come, thereby allowing us to concentrate even more on keeping the Les Cheneaux waters pristine. This project has been conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Dept of Agriculture.
Other larger projects which we have successfully completed in the recent past include:
- Reduction of weed nutrients from the ClarkTownship wastewater treatment plant discharge waters by 100 fold. At this point seasonal waterfowl contribute more nutrient enrichment to CedarvilleBay than is contained in 30 million gallons of treatment plant effluent delivered to the Bay via Pearson Creek twice each year.
- Development of a comprehensive watershed management plan. ($600 K)
- Managing Eurasian watermilfoil using aquatic weevils. ($200K)
- Dredging of the federal channels within the islands under a $2.4 million dollar project with the Corps of Engineers
The last three of the above projects were conducted under support from State or Federal grants written by LCWC members.
- CedarvilleHarbor upgrade to provide adequate docking for local transient boaters.
- Invasive weed management to restore ecological balance among our aquatic plants and minimize recreational boating hazards.
- Maintaining GovernmentIsland trails with US Forest Service.
- Frogfest…community involvement, especially youngsters to help develop the next generation of environmental caretakers.
- Website upgrade to serve as a resource for Les Cheneaux environmental issues and communicate on same.
- Advocate for:
o Less rise and fall in the levels of Lakes Michigan and Huron.
o More accountability by Enbridge Corp for pipelines crossing the Straits.
o Efforts to restrict Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.
Long range plans:
Our long term priority remains as it is today: to address water-centric issues that affect our Les Cheneaux community ecologically and economically.
Development of the biocontrol agent for Eurasian watermilfoil control with a third party manufacturer will take significant effort during the next 3-5 yrs. Our work will be well worthwhile by bringing an effective, safe alternative to the chemical herbicides presently used. Royalties to LCWC will also allow us to undertake longer term aquatic ecology projects.
- Long term projects include:
o Improving the fishery by increasing mayfly populations to the levels they were 40 to 50 years ago.
o Bringing back the native mussel colonies that were dessimated by invasion of the zebra mussel.
o Increase the red leach populations, a favored perch bait, that are presently exceedingly rare in LCI