Otsego Lake Restoration Update 2020:
One of the primary Membership Values we can offer is being positive, proactive, stewards of our lake. We previously spoke to you about Weed Surveys in the Spring 2019 Newsletter. This item, along with others, are now consolidated into the Lake Restoration Committees functions. We want to view the overall health of the lake under this committee, specifically for action items as they arise.
Your investment in OLA is one thing that allows the Board to proactively monitor the health of Otsego Lake. We did that again in 2019 with another professionally hired Weed Survey company. We learned a lot in that process again. What we did find out is we had a positive find for Eurasian Milfoil. Let me reinforce an earlier point we discussed in 2019 – no other entity would have found this because no other person or organization has taken on the stewardship of Otsego Lake other than OLA Members. Because of your financial support, OLA can afford to have these types of tests done. We are now researching a more in-depth study going forward in comparison to the prior tests. Catching invasives are something you want to catch early and without you and the board, it could get out of hand quickly. We have spoken with lakes just south of us, which didn’t catch it early enough and invasive have overtaken parts of their lakes. One lake told us they are $7 Million+ into trying to eradicate their invasive species. WOW! So how does this get into the lake? It can arrive a variety of ways but the biggest threat is not cleaning your watercraft off when you travel from different bodies of water. This is exactly why the State of MI made it law to CLEAN DRAIN DRY your watercraft. (see the repeating notice in the newsletter – because its that important)
The Restoration Committee hired a DASH diver for a day to scuba dive all GPS points referenced in the weed survey on August 12, 2019. He was able to manually remove a small colony of Eurasian Milfoil from Otsego Lake. The Board also partnered with the Otsego County Road Commission (OCRC) and B&B Construction to improve and install numerous signs promoting Clean Boats Clean Water (CBCW) at watercraft launch areas/road ends to raise awareness when traversing various lakes and risk of any invasive species.
The committee met with State Legislators in 2019 regarding a renewed effort to continue building our partnership that will lead OLA to begin a test dredge project. Members of EGLE were also present. Many people in my experience tend to bash State Government groups and I couldn’t disagree more, particularly with OLA efforts. We have had a solid relationship with DNR, DEQ, State Legislatures over the years in addition to some Federal Legislators. Addressing the long-term health of Otsego Lake is all about scope and feasibility. This is why we are seeking to perform a test dredge site on Otsego Lake and not boil the ocean. The State is willing to investigate the opportunity to utilize some state land for small settlement ponds. Again, there are a thousand moving parts and we are diligently trying to coordinate efforts. Our goal is to get something started in 2020, in addition to educating waterfront owners on dredging your own private frontage independently by possibly using bags. More to come on this process through Facebook as it comes together.
OLA has been in routine contact with our local government officials. We are appreciative of the partnership between the two organizations as we keep the health and long-term sustainability of Otsego Lake in our sights. As you all know from our last communication, the overflow drain was to be rebuilt in 2019. It didn’t happen but is a top priority for the County. Last I have been told, it has been moved to 2020 and will be overseen by Otsego County/OCRC. OLA has met with the County Administrator and some Commissioners and they obviously understand our interest in this project. Based on most recent conversations, there is not a specific date identified but consultants at Wade Trim have provided the County with an estimated life of the drain just beyond 2020.