A Call To Action –
Most of you are hopefully aware that the Lake Level Committee was formed just over a year ago to help address the problems we have been experiencing with lake level flooding in the Upper Chain of Lakes. In that year’s time we have made significant progress in beginning to tackle this complicated problem. (We trust you have stayed informed about our progress either by reading our progress reports or heard us talk about it in person. If not, see below.)
We have now reached a critical junction in this journey and we need your help.
As part of the funding process for the Hydrology Study we are doing covering the entire Elk River Chain of Lakes (ERCOL), we are asking Antrim County to cover a share of the cost of the Hydrology Study. We are asking the county for roughly $77,000, which is about 21% of the total cost of the Hydrology Study. The remainder of the study will be funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), who will be carrying out the study for us. We are unbelievably fortunate to have an organization like the USACE conducting this study for us, and funding 79% of it to boot!
Its important to understand that this work will benefit the entire Elk River Chain of Lakes and the health and vitality of the entire county. Its not just an upper chain issue, which is why the study covers the whole chain, including Torch River, Rapid River, Cedar River, Grass River and all our beautiful lakes. While the Upper Chain flooding is a big part of the study’s focus, don’t underestimate the value the study will provide to all parts of the chain.
So how can you help?
The Antrim County Board of Commissioners will be voting on this appropriation request on Thursday, September 19th at 7pm. They meet in the Antrim County Building on the second floor in the Board of Commissioners meeting room. We want you to attend and support us in this request and to put out the word to your membership and have them show up and support this request as well.
Please come and support us! We want representation in the room from all the ERCOL lake associations and indeed from all parts of the county, presenting a unified voice in support of this work and this appropriation. Support us in our continuing work to maintain our beautiful Elk River Chain of Lakes! To repeat, show up at:
Thursday, September 19, 2019 at 7pm
Antrim County Building
Many thanks –
Co-chairs of the Lake Level Committee
ps – For those of you needing a little more of an update, here is what will be included in the Fall, 2019 Intermediate Lake Association (ILA) Newsletter that will issue in early October, 2019 on the Lake Level Committee status:
The Lake Level committee continues to make progress on its mission to understand what are the root causes for the increased variability of Upper Chain of Lakes water levels and try to do something about it when we do. While it is important to realize that this will be a multi-year effort – there are no quick fixes – we are moving forward on several fronts.
First, as part of our cooperative engagement with Antrim County, we have recommended modifications to the operating protocols for the Bellaire Dam which should improve adherence to the court established summer & winter lake levels for Intermediate Lake. While these will not prevent high level events from occurring (like during concentrated heavy precipitation events or due to snow melt in the spring), we do feel they have the potential to mitigate their severity somewhat. These are currently going through the review and approval process with the county. Stay tuned for more updates on this.
Second, we continue to move forward on conducting a Hydrology Study of the entire Elk River Chain of Lakes (ERCOL). This is also being done in close cooperation with the county. This study will help us understand what is going on in the ERCOL, providing the root causes to the Upper Chain water level variation. Once we know the root causes, we can apply solutions to fix what is causing the trouble (hopefully!). Of course, if any near term quick fixes are identified as the study progresses, we will apply them as we are able.
We are very excited that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will be doing the Hydrology study for us. (We also interviewed 4 other organizations who were interested in doing the Hydrology study for us – all highly qualified – but none have the status and prestige of the USACE.) They will begin work this fall with data acquisition and start building the model in 2020. The entire project will take 2 or 3 years. Much of the cost for the work is being provided by the USACE (wow!!!), while we will be going before the Antrim County Board of Commissioners to fund the remainder.
Third, and as mentioned in our last newsletter, a sub-team headed by Fred Sittel of Friends of Clam Lake is continuing to measure daily lake levels for the following lakes in the ERCOL: Six Mile, St. Clair, Ellsworth, Wilson, Intermediate, Bellaire, Clam Lake and Torch, as well as the Bellaire Dam impoundment basin. This data will be of great value as the Hydrology Study progresses. Fred’s team (made up of volunteers from Six Mile Lake Association, ILA, Three Lakes Association, Friends of Clam Lake and other lake property owners) has been gathering this data since April.
Finally, we continue to work with, speak to and inform various organizations and interest groups what we are doing and why, endeavoring to bring them along side us in our work. It is important all property owners on the ERCOL know what we are doing and support us in our efforts – this work will benefit all of ERCOL and all of Antrim County as well.