By: Tony Groves, Progressive AE
Commonly Asked Questions
Who sits on the lake improvement board?
The plant control program on the Tri-Lakes is administered by the Tri-Lakes Improvement Board. The improvement board was established in accordance with Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. Under provisions of the act, the Tri-Lakes Improvement Board includes a lake front property owner, two representatives from Morton Township, a Mecosta County Commissioner, and the Mecosta County Drain Commissioner. This year is the first year of a five-year improvement program (2018 – 2022) on the Tri-Lakes.
What’s the difference between the Tri-Lakes Association and the Tri-Lakes Improvement Board?
While the lake improvement board works closely with the Tri-Lakes Association, the association is a separate entity from the Tri-Lakes Improvement Board. The association is a voluntary organization that is funded through annual dues paid by association members. By contrast, the lake improvement board collects mandatory special assessments to finance the plant control program on the Tri-Lakes.
Who oversees the plant control program?
Plant control activities are coordinated under the direction of the lake improvement board’s environmental consultant, Progressive AE. Beginning in May and continuing through August, biologists from Progressive AE conduct GPS-guided surveys of each of the lakes to identify problem areas, and detailed plant control maps are provided to the plant control contractors. Progressive then conducts follow-up surveys to evaluate contractor performance, and provides status reports to the lake improvement board.
Who conducts the herbicide treatment and mechanical harvesting work?
The Tri-Lakes plant control program includes a combination of herbicide treatments and limited mechanical harvesting. Herbicide treatments are conducted by PLM Lake and Land Management Corp. and harvesting work is conducted by West Michigan Aquatic Weed Removal. Both the herbicide treatment and mechanical harvesting contracts are performance-based. The contractors are only compensated for work that is performed satisfactorily.
Who determines when and where treatments and harvesting will occur?
When and where treatments and harvesting are conducted is determined by the weather and where nuisance plants are found when biologists from Progressive AE conduct their surveys.
Why are there still plants in the lakes following treatments?
Not all plants are treated. The goal of the program is to strike a balance by controlling invasive plant species and maintaining beneficial species. We do not want to remove all the plants in the lakes. This would be bad for the fishery and cause a host of other problems, such as massive algae blooms.
What plants are targeted for control?
The Tri-Lakes plant control program focuses primarily on invasive, exotic species. An exotic species is one that is found outside of its natural range. Outside their natural range, exotic plants have no natural competitors or predators to help keep them in check. They can quickly out compete native plants and gain dominance. Eurasian milfoil and starry stonewort are the primary exotic species targeted for control in the Tri-Lakes.
Is there a permanent fix to the problem?
If conditions are favorable, aquatic plants will grow. However, there are steps property owners can take to help minimize plant growth in the lakes such as limiting the use of lawn fertilizers and maintaining natural vegetation along the shoreline to filter out nutrients before they can wash into the lakes.
How about a pre-emptive strike?
To be effective, aquatic herbicides must be applied directly to the plant beds when the plants are actively growing. There are no approved pre-emergence aquatic herbicides like there are for agriculture.
Are herbicide treatments safe?
The aquatic herbicides that are permitted by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are registered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. They also undergo toxicological review by the DEQ. In Michigan, aquatic herbicide use requires a DEQ permit. The permit lists herbicides approved for use in the lakes, respective dose rates, and shows specific areas in the lakes where treatments are allowed. If herbicides are applied according to label instructions and permit requirements, they should pose no danger to public health and the environment.
How do the treatments impact fish?
If applied properly, herbicides have no direct impacts on fish. In general, lakes with a variety of plants often support more productive fisheries. The Tri-Lakes plant control program is designed to remove invasive plants while preserving plants that provide habitat and cover for fish.
Why didn’t my property get treated?
Treatments occur where the targeted invasive plants are found during the lake surveys. Not every property gets treated every time; your property may have plants, but if it doesn’t contain the targeted invasive plants, it’s not treated.
How will I know about use restrictions?
All lake residents will receive a written notice regarding pending treatments. The written notice will list all herbicides that may be used and use restrictions. At the time of treatment, state regulations require that areas within 100 feet of treatment areas be posted with a sign that lists specific herbicides applied and the associated use restrictions. If there is no sign posted along your property, it means your area was not treated and there are no use restrictions.
When is it safe to swim after a treatment?
All herbicides have a 24-hour swimming restriction that will be posted on signs along areas of the shore that have been treated. However, if you do not have a sign posted or the sign indicates that only algaecides were applied, there are no swimming restrictions.
When can I water my lawn following a treatment?
If you draw water from the lake for irrigation, be sure to read the sign posted along your shoreline at the time of treatment. Most irrigation restrictions do not apply to established lawns. However, it you water flowers or a garden, adhere to the irrigation restrictions posted on the sign.Type your paragraph here.
Are you a Tri-Lakes property owner?
If so, we would love to have you as a member of the Tri-Lakes Association!
The Tri-Lakes Association participates in the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program hosted by the Michigan Clean Water Corps. To view the 2017 Tri-Lakes Individual Lake Reports, please follow the link below and scroll down to find Mecosta County, where the lakes are listed individually.
The Tri-Lakes were chemically treated in July 2018 as outlined in the charts below. Another survey to identify potential areas for treatment will take place later this season. If you see an excess of invasive aquatic plant species including Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), please visit our Contact page and locate the "Give Us An Update" form.
ALL buoys must be applied for and permitted using the application below.
Hello new and returning members! You can fill out this form and send to the listed P.O. Box or e-mail the completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org. Association dues can be paid by check made out to The Tri-Lakes Association and mailed to the P.O. Box listed OR with any major credit card through PayPal.
News And Information
NOTE: Jet Skis / Wave Runners/personal watercraft are motor boats and subject to all rules that apply to motorboats!
• High-speed boating is permitted between11:00 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. ONLY
• Boats are to operate in a counter-clockwise direction (keep shoreline to the right)
• All boats must be equipped with an approved life preserver for each occupant
• Speed boats and skiers must keep 100 feet away from shore, docks, rafts,
swimmers & other boats
• NO WAKE speeds apply to all channels and during non-speed boating hours.
• NO WAKE speed means a very slow speed whereby the wake or wash created
by the vessel is minimal