Duck Lake, Calhoun County, Michigan is a beautiful lake with clear water and ample opportunities for boating, fishing and sailing.

The Duck Lake Association is a Michigan Non-Profit Lake Association

Current Issues Page

Duck Lake Outlet Dam - By Bill Taylor from Springport Signal 11/16/17

Most Duck Lake property owners have received a letter informing them that the Calhoun County Water Resources Commissioner is preparing an assessment district to pay for work on the Duck Lake dam.
 The concrete and sheet piling dam at issue was constructed in 1956, and State law requires that the Water Commissioner maintain it at an elevation of 929 feet above sea level. This elevation was established by court order in 1944 following extensive research and testimony on an appropriate level. The decision process was a complicated one that considered the opposing interests of cottagers on different parts of the Lake, the interests of several nearby farmers, and the environmental importance of protecting certain weedy shallows along the Lake's shoreline.
The dam requires repairs because chunks of ice and debris have gradually bent portions of its steel piling downward a few inches below their proper level. However, the Water Resources Commissioner is simply trying to identify the property owners that should help pay for this work at the present time. The Commissioner's recent letter states that a publicly-announced hearing will be held sometime in the near future to help do this properly.
Please note that this future assessment does not have anything to do with the current ones to pay for controlling invasive weeds in Duck Lake. It also looks like the Water Resources Commissioner plans to focus the new one on lakefront property owners only.

Surface Water Runoff Discussions and Actions

For a long period, various Duck Lake community members have identified and been concerned about large “plumes” of muddy water seen in Duck Lake after storms. These plumes of runoff are much larger and muddier than they were in the past. The concern is whether these plumes include a variety of unwanted contaminants besides the obvious silt. For example these contaminants might include large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus that increase the growth of hybrid Eurasian milfoil and other aquatic weeds. Duck Lake Association President Mike Snyder asked for volunteers and Nan Hibler, Bill Taylor, Chris Parker, Mike Snyder and Ken Cool volunteered to study the issue. The committee met with Dr. Jennifer Jermalowicz-Jones of Restorative Lake Sciences (RLS) on August 8, 2017. From the August 8 meeting, Dr. Jones suggested an “immediate localized watershed plan”. This would determine the critical source areas (CSAs) where runoff enters the lake. R.L.S. would research the locations where large amounts of surface water are running into the lake, and identify the most critical of these runoff sources (CSAs). Their work will include performing water testing to determine the contaminants that are being introduced into the lake. The cost for research will be in the $5,000-$10,000 range, and will be an extension of the current RLS contract. The funding would probably come from Duck Lake Association funds rather than the Special Assessment money. The cost of implementing possible solutions to specific runoff problems will need to be thoroughly discussed at the appropriate time in the future. Please note that this effort outlined above will not provide a complete Duck Lake Area watershed plan. Instead, it would provide an expeditious way to identify and address our worst runoff situations. The DLA could cooperate in obtaining a more complete Duck Lake Watershed Plan with R.L.S. or other partners in the future. On September 7, 2017, the full Duck Lake Association Board of Directors met to discuss the suggestions resulting from the August 8 meeting with Dr. Jones. A full and engaging discussion covered many aspects of the topic. After through discussion, Jody Bilicke moved, supported by Steve Wagner, to hire RLS to conduct an immediate localized watershed study to identify Critical Source Areas and identify possible remedies. The motion includes a cap of not to exceed $10,000 of Duck Lake Association funds for the project and was unanimously approved by the Board. Article by Mike Snyder, Bill Taylor and Ken Cool.

2017 Special Assessment Information

President Mike Snyder submitted a Special Assessment request of $75 per lakefront lot to the Clarence Township Board for action at their August 14, 2017 meeting. We are pleased to announce that the Clarence Township Board approved the request unanimously. This represents a reduction of $33 per lot from the prior level of $108 per lot. Recommending the Special Assessment amount is a balancing act; on the one hand, there is a concern that the annual tax bill assessment be as low as possible. On the other hand, the Special Assessment must generate sufficient funds to pay for needed lake treatments. At the August meeting, the Duck Lake Association Board discussed the issue and directed President Snyder to recommend to Clarence Township $75 per lake front lot.

The Special Assessment amount of $75 per lakefront lot will be placed on the winter tax bills that were issued December 1, 2017.

On October 12, 2015, the Clarence Township Board held the second public hearing

to finalize the process of establishing a special assessment district for invasive aquatic weed control on Duck Lake. At the meeting, the Township Board approved the assessment for the December 1, 2015 winter tax roll. This special assessment district ONLY includes lake front property owners.

Major DLA Meeting By Bill Taylor (In the Springport Signal)

The Clarence Township Board conducted a public hearing to receive objections to the establishment of a special assessment district around Duck Lake on Monday evening September 14 (2015). The assessments at issue would cost lakefront property owners about $100 per parcel per year, and would be used to control hybrid Eurasian milfoil and other invasive aquatic weeds in the lake. These special assessments could potentially continue for up to seven years.

Several lake residents expressed objections to the proposed assessments at the hearing. These included some individuals who had been objecting to the cost from the outset, and others who appeared to be genuinely struggling with the pros and cons of chemical treatment or the reasonableness of the estimated costs.

One resident provided an informal cost estimate from a potential contractor that was substantially lower than the figure in the special assessment proposal. He did this out of concern that the Duck Lake Association (DLA) and other proponents were not following a competitive bidding or price quote process that could reduce treatment costs. This led to an extended discussion about how the treatment contractor would be selected that seemed to satisfy most audience members.

Several individuals explained how the DLA had hired Jennifer Jermalowicz-Jones of Restorative Lake Sciences early in the deliberations because we did not have enough local knowledge about treatment alternatives and the qualifications of the several potential treatment firms. Mrs. Jermalowicz-Jones will use her expertise to help develop a specific treatment plan, prepare and distribute a bid solicitation document, and evaluate the bids that are received. A detailed set of specifications will be prepared for controlling the milfoil without harming the lake, and the treatment contract will be awarded to the lowest-price, highly qualified firm that submits a responsive bid. Mrs. Jermalowicz-Jones’ firm will continue to participate in an advisory and oversight capacity only, and will not compete for the treatment contract.

While most of the objections to a special assessment district were made in a good natured way, most of them also came from individuals who had not participated in the DLA’s many meetings and work sessions on the project. The DLA spent a great deal of time searching for a responsible solution to a serious problem, and received a round of well-deserved applause for its work near the end of the hearing. Clarence Township has also cooperated fully in this important project.

The Clarence Township Board voted to proceed with the special assessment district in the regular business meeting that followed the hearing.

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