Posts Tagged ‘Ford Lake’

News to Us

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The Red Swamp Crayfish is invading Michigan water bodies. Credit: flickr.com/usfwspacific

This edition of News to Us highlights both good and bad news on local algal blooms as well as two stories on non-native species making headlines – one of concern, the other of little concern. News at the federal level is also mixed. Read about the implications of the proposed Clean Water Rule repeal and some hopeful news on the federal allocation of funding supporting Great Lakes restoration.

Improving Water Quality In Ypsilanti Township’s Ford Lake
After decades of trouble with algal blooms in Ford Lake, an impoundment on the Huron River in Ypsilanti Township, researchers and township staff found a solution. Changing operations of the Ford Lake Dam has kept algal blooms at bay in most years and the water quality of the lake is improving.

Potentially toxic algae found in two Oakland County lakes
Two lakes, including Pontiac Lake in the Huron River watershed, are experiencing significant algal blooms this month. It is suspected that the blooms may contain toxic algae. Oakland County health officials recommend avoiding contact with the water at this time and keeping pets out as well. The article has a list of recommended precautions.

Tiny jellyfish reported in Lake Erie
Jellyfish in Michigan? Headlines have been circulating on the invasion of this non-native species recently because of new sightings in Lake Erie and St. Clair. And while it is true that this is a non-native species, it has been in Great Lakes waterways for some time now and has not reached nuisance levels. Also worthy of note is that the tentacles of this jellyfish are too small to sting humans, so swim away. For more on freshwater jellyfish see Huron River Report, Spring 2008.

Tiny lobsters of doom: Why this invasive crayfish is bad news
In other non-native species news, the red swamp crayfish has been confirmed in Michigan. This species has a lot of potential to become invasive and cause disruption to the native ecosystem. Their deep burrowing capacity is known to cause erosion, they out-compete native crayfish for food, and prey on small fish and fish eggs. The DNR is asking people to report potential sightings of this invader.

Trump plans to roll back environmental rule everyone agrees on
This opinion piece is written by former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Ken Kopocis, formerly of EPA’s Office of Water. The article describes what is at stake with the Trump Administrations proposed roll back of the Clean Water Rule. There has bipartisan demand for clarity on the 1972 Clean Water Act which the rule provides. Much work has been done to establish the rule which provides clear criteria for what waters are protected under the Clean Water Act. To provide your remarks on the proposed repeal, see our earlier blog On the chopping block: clean water.  Comment period closes September 27th.

House appropriators approve $300 Million for Great Lakes; reject amendment on Clean Water Rule
Some good news coming out of the federal government on the environment front. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, originally scheduled to be zeroed out in the 2018 budget, has been approved at $300 million by U.S. House appropriators. The funding still has to make it through the Senate and White House before final approval.

Paddle Ypsi on the Huron River National Water Trail

Open for business this summer is the renovated canoe and kayak launch at Frog Island. Ypsilanti’s Frog Island Park on the Huron River, located just north of Depot Town between Forest and Cross, is getting a makeover. This access is located at river mile 40.7 on the Huron River Water Trail.

Since last November, invasive shrubs were removed and sight lines to the river opened up, hand rails on the stairs were installed, concrete cleaned, and an access path and launch graded and gravel added. The access is safer and easier to use. A new river-themed mural is in the works, too.

Stairs, path, and railing have been restored at the Frog Island Access

Stairs, path, and railing have been restored at the Frog Island Access

Try out the river in Ypsilanti and visit Frog Island. This section features mature tree canopy, newly restored fish habitat, and an unimpeded paddle trip into Ford Lake. Put in below Dixboro Dam, paddle the meandering river past the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital campus, portage the Superior Dam and Pen Park Dam, and see Ypsilanti from the water before taking out at Frog Island. Or start your trip at Frog Island and paddle past Riverside Park and Waterworks Park before entering Ford Lake. Paddle the upper end of the lake before taking out at Loon Feather Park. For a longer trip, paddle Ford Lake and take out at the new dam portage into North Hydro Park.

Ypsilanti Fall River Day on Sunday, October 9th offers a great opportunity to see the city by water in your own kayak or rent one that day.

Before your paddle, check out our podcast series that profiles three waterfront locations in Ypsilanti each with an important role in the city’s position as an automotive powerhouse:

  • The Faircliffe Home on Ford Lake
  • Motor Wheel
  • Water Street

Learn more about the Automotive Heritage Trail District.

HRWC leads this RiverUp! project, in cooperation with the City of Ypsilanti. Thanks to Bill Kinley for championing this project, with support from the Walter J. Weber Jr. Family, and many individual donors. Much gratitude to Washtenaw County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Margolis Landscaping for the many hours of labor and materials generously given to this renovation. Thanks to all of the community volunteers who kicked off the work in November 2015.

Paddle Ypsi!

Water Trail Team Surveys Portages

Grey, viagra rainy weather provided the backdrop to site visits that HRWC staff made this week to the canoe portages at the dams on Ford and Belleville Lakes. The visits are part of the needs assessment being done for planning on the Huron River Water Trail. Joining staff on the visits were representatives from HCMA, see Ypsilanti Charter Township, and Van Buren Charter Township, and paddling guide Ron Sell.

The landing at Ford Lake dam: Would you want to land a canoe here?

Some basic amenities are in place for the portages, but both sites need attention in the form of signage so paddlers know where to land, launch and portage their canoes and kayaks, as well as better landings, launches, trails, bathrooms and so on. The dams on these lakes (impoundments, really) are federally-regulated, which complicates matters. The Infrastructure Work Group for the Huron River Water Trail is working with the townships and other partners to complete the needs assessment, prioritize which improvements to fund, and seek sources of funding.

Once the portages are improved, paddling the lakes through this middle reach of the Huron River will be much more enjoyable!

Rickety stairs await the intrepid and brave paddler who portages French Landing dam

Conference for pollution reduction diets

Baltimore's Inner Harbor

Greetings from Baltimore! This is HRWC Watershed Planner, Elizabeth Riggs. I’m fortunate to be talking about HRWC’s work in the Huron River watershed at a conference this week about Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), or pollution reduction diets for rivers, lakes, and bays. More than 100 people from the U.S. and abroad are attending ASABE’s TMDL 2010: Watershed Management to Improve Water Quality. Yesterday, we were greeted by Rich Batiuk with the US EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program and Dr. Bob Summers with the Maryland Department of the Environment.

HRWC has a good deal of experience using this tool of the Clean Water Act to reduce pollution, starting with the TMDL for phosphorus in Ford and Belleville Lakes that spurred creation of the Middle Huron Initiative. Tomorrow morning, I’ll share with the conference attendees the story of that TMDL and HRWC’s efforts to measure impacts on phosphorus levels in relation to the City of Ann Arbor’s manufactured fertilizer ordinance.

While I’m in Baltimore, HRWC’s other watershed planner, Ric Lawson, also is sharing this story with conference attendees in Milwaukee. Check back here for a forthcoming blog from Ric about his experiences.


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