What to Expect from the Lake Mitchell Improvement Board
The assessment has been lowered
You might first become aware of the Lake Mitchell Improvement Board (LMIB) when you look at your tax bill and see that you have been assessed either $50 for lakefront property, $25 for deeded access, or $100 for commercial property. This will appear on your summer tax bill. Those numbers indicate a reduction from last year's rate of $125, $63, and $250. In 2013 the assessment was $300, $150, and $600 and that year 420 acres of EWM were treated. Last year 78 acres of EWM were treated along with 22 ½ acres treated for nuisance vegetation in the coves and canal. The LMIB spent $53,679 for chemical treatment which was significantly less than the $180,000 that was needed for treatment in 2013. This amount of treatment could change each year given environmental and climate changes. Intense and regular lake surveys help to locate the invasives and nuisance weeds targeted for prompt treatments.
Less chemical needed in recent years, meant fewer funds were needed. The treasurer's report given at the LMIB's December meeting showed a balance on hand of $406,820 as of November 11, 2017. It was at that time that the Board decided to reduce the assessment.
When the ice goes away the weeds come ashore
Typically the ice goes off the lake around the second week of April, but this may occur anytime from the first week of March to the end of April. This year lake Mitchell was ice free on March 27. Once the lake is open you can expect that following the first big windstorm of the spring large amounts of weeds will drift ashore. Over the winter much of the lake's vegetation dies and when the water gets agitated, these plants break off and float to the surface.
RLS goes to work
Restorative Lake Sciences LLC (RLS) was hired in 2011 by the Lake Mitchell Improvement Board to develop and oversee a program of aquatic vegetation control for Lake Mitchell. In 2017 Lake Cadillac hired RLS.
By mid-May weeds begins to grow once again. Soon after, RLS will begin to survey the lake. Moving slowly across the lake, the crew in the RLS boat establish more then 1500 GPS points. At each point weed samples are collected to determine what species of vegetation is present. Maps are created showing the specific location of EWM. These maps determine what areas of the lake receive treatment. Treatment of the main lake usually occurs about the second week of June. Because the shallow waters of the coves warm up more quickly, they receive the first treatment, usually occurring around the first week of June.
In the main lake, 2,4-D, brand names of Navigate or Sculpin, is used to kill milfoil. This is a systemic chemical meaning that the entire plant, roots and all, is killed. Because of the presence of shallow wells this chemical can be used no closer then 250 from the shore. To eliminate weeds closer to shore, Triclopyr, a systemic chemical with a brand name of Renovate, is applied. Triclopyr treated water has not been tested for residuals and sprinkling is at your own risk although I have never heard of a problem. New lawns or garden plants should not be watered until the water has been tested. Testing occurs within a week after the chemical application.
The coves and Torenta Canal, being shallow waters, grow thick vegetation. While some of it is EWM, much of the problem comes from nuisance weeds. The most effective treatment has been with the use of Diquat and Clipper. These are contact herbicides meaning that the visible plant is eliminated but the root structure remains in tact. As result the plants may return a few weeks after the initial treatment. If this happens, a second treatment may be needed in problem areas.
There is a 24 hour swimming ban on any waters treated. On the day of treatment yellow or green notices will be posted along the shoreline of areas scheduled for treatment. Those on the Lake Mitchell email list (email@example.com) will be notified a couple days before treatments occur.
Most years the chemical treatment is done by Professional Lake Management, a company hired by the LMIB. On treatment days look for air boats spraying liquid chemical and white boats dropping pellets from fertilizer spreaders. Our RLS consultant, Jennifer Jermalowicz Jones and her staff, administer the aquatic vegetation program making decisions about which chemicals and the dosage to use. Before it is applied to the lake, chemicals are evaluated to make sure none will have a negative impact on the lake's ecology. The specifics and dosages of chemicals used appear in the complete end-of-year report that RLS submits to the Board. The report appears, in its entirety, on our website www.lakemitchell.org and a summary of it appears in the annual edition of the Lakesider newsletter.
Work done in the Torenta Canal
In the late 1960s a canal was dredged near Camp Torenta. Over the years the canal has gradually filled with decaying leaf and weed debris. While there are some weeds there, much of the canal is filled with a balled algae known as Cladophora. It reached the point where engines of watercraft trying to move through the canal became clogged. When chemical treatment failed, a harvester with small mesh was brought in 2016 to collect the Cladophora. While that initially proved effective, the Cladophora has accumulated again making it likely the harvester will need to return this year.
Mechanical harvesters can be used to cut weeds. These were used for several years in the coves to remove nuisance vegetation. The problem was that the weeds quickly grew back. Treatment with chemicals has proved more effective. Harvesting remains an option for weed control and could be used again. Because EWM spreads by fragmentation,harvesters are never used where that plant is present.
Roadside pickup takes care of weeds
The Lake Mitchell Improvement Board will again provide roadside pickup of weeds. To accommodate off-season collection of weeds, four weeks have been added to the schedule.
Roadside pickup will begin one week earlier this year starting on May 15. That first week, the weed hauler will check around the entire lake one day and collect weeds. Starting on May 21 until September 7th , weeds will be collected following the schedule that has been used in past years:
Monday – From the canal north to the roller rink.
Tuesday – From the roller rink along West Lake Mitchell Drive checking all lakefront roads ending with the Camp Torenta loop.
Wednesday – From the canal south and west including all roads with lake front property to the end of Sunrise Point Road.
Thursday and Friday– Days for collecting weeds not picked up during the week.
After September 13 and continuing through September 30, the weed hauler will collect weeds one day a week.
Aquatic weeds need to be removed from the lakeshore by the property owners and put on the edge of the road. Do not leave sticks, brush,yard waste or sand by the roadside. Only aquatic vegetation will be picked up.
Weed compost, black peat and mulch available
The weeds picked up along the shore of Lake Mitchell are deposited and spread out to dry at Ron Klimp's farm on the south side of Lake Mitchell. (7288 S. 33 ½ Mile Road). Contact Ron at 616-295-8686. You can pick up the weeds at no cost or for a small fee Ron will load them for you. The weeds that were once a nuisance in the lake can now be helping enrich your garden.
The black peat from the Franke Cove dredging project is also available. In addition Klimp has horse manure/saw dust compost.