Four Lakes Task Force (FLTF) is grateful for the recently introduced dam safety legislation that would provide significant funding toward dam restoration.
We have advocated for similar bipartisan support since May 2020. We ask our elected officials to work collaboratively to ensure the proposed funding is passed by the legislators and signed into law by the governor. These bills would alleviate the significant financial burden currently being placed on the community and restore the ecosystem, recreation, and livelihoods of thousands of people, many of whom are retirees on fixed incomes and have limited resources, that were impacted by dam failures they did not cause.
Understanding the Legislation
House and Senate bills have been filed and are awaiting action in the legislature.
FLTF is grateful for the funding bills, and we fully support their passage. We urge our elected officials to allocate $225 million to the repair of the Secord, Smallwood, Edenville, and Sanford dams for the restorations of the Four Lakes in Midland and Gladwin counties. This will significantly lessen the burden on property owners and ensure a long-term, sustainable future for the dams, lakes, their communities, and ecosystem.
We urge those within our lake communities to advocate for the passage of the funding bills. These bills will help make affordable for all property owners any future special assessment in connection with the dam operations and ensure an uninterrupted path to restoring our lakes and dams.
In addition to the legislation that would provide significant funding for the restoration of the dams, there is legislation that would modernize Michigan’s dam safety programs. These bills amend Part 307 and Part 315 of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act of 1994 to improve dam safety. They place more requirements on the owners of dams. They also give increased oversight and authority to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) as it relates to dam safety.
This is a historic opportunity to improve dam safety in Michigan and FLTF welcomes the opportunity to participate in the development of an improved Michigan dam safety program, as these bills progress through the House and Senate over the coming months. Much of our implementation is based on FLTF moving forward using standards that we expect will be aligned with expected new laws.
Is Four Lakes Task Force doing anything about vegetation on the lakebottoms?
Yes, we're working on a plan to manage the trees and vegetation growing on the lakebottoms. We're collaborating with EGLE, the Townships and weed assessment districts to work out a plan. It is too early to share details but property owners can look for a more specific plan later this summer. Rest assured the option will be safe for people, pets and desirable plant life. Safety is a priority!