Thursday, July 31, 2008

Weed Remediation Update

The LAHA Legislative Committee has been looking into the lake situation.

  • Currently talking with a consulting and engineering company that specializes in these kind of projects
  • Second opinion will also be gathered in the next 4-6 weeks

Consultant recommended that the Walled Lake and Shawood Lake initiatives be put on separate but equal paths:

  • Walled Lake and Shawood Lake are different bio-scapes: Different stages in their lives, different aquatic plants, different treatments, one city
  • No current volunteers from Shawood Lake for the Legislative Committee or to drive the weed remediation initiative
  • Member residents of Shawood encouraged to volunteer for the committee
  • Volunteers solicited during meeting (no representatives have yet stepped forward)
  • Board reached out to attendees with connections to Shawood Lake residents to encourage more participation
  • LAHA Board desires to get Shawood Lake momentum going as soon as possible, in parallel with the Walled Lake push

Weed Remediation Options for Walled Lake:

  • Environmentally-approved chemical treatment option being reviewed
  • Consists of 3 components: Conditions study, initial treatment, and subsequent annual treatments
  • Cost: approximately $14,000 for the study, $68,000 for Year 1, $23,000 for subsequent years
  • Weed harvesting explored: Annual cost is similar to annual treatment above, the invasive weed in Walled Lake (milfoil) is reported to reseed aggressively when harvested (committee volunteers to confirm this report)
  • Seeding the lake with weed-eating insects suggested as another possible option (committee volunteers to research and report back)
  • Novi weed pick-up: Novi elected to privatize all city services (that’s why there is no garbage pickup); to do weed pick up over the long-term would require another city contract (not budgeted) - As a short-term solution, the City of Novi will revisit the investment required to provide such a service

Framing the issue for Walled Lake:

  • No longer a key stormwater basin for Novi: Primary growth in the last two decades for the City of Novi has occurred south of Walled Lake; considerable drainage improvements have been gained from those new developments easing the reliance on some previous stormwater basins (including Walled Lake); the core density for Novi is now south of the Walled Lake area; Meadowbrook and Village Oaks lake deterioration were creating flooding issues in streets and other neighborhoods – infrastructure damage and potential liability that had to be addressed (dredging of those lakes represented the city’s first investment in those lakes in 20 years)
  • Cities do not own the lakes (the State of Michigan is technically responsible but economically unable to address all of the state’s lake maintenance)
  • Events on the lake: Currently funded, primarily, by a private businessman in the city of Walled Lake; represents a considerable marketing expense that elevates the profile of the city and enhances the value of its properties and businesses (Novi's only event is a parks and rec event - the triathalon)
  • There is no legal obligation for cities to maintain the lake
  • There is no budget available (especially now as city revenues are under even more pressure)
  • Even if LAHA was able to privately finance the treatment, we have no legal grounds to treat the lake

Lake Board again under consideration – the differences:

  • Narrowly scoped mission - sole focus is on invasive, aquatic plants (not mooring, or access, or geese, etc.)
  • Based on “benefit”, measured in units: lakefront owner, lakefront separated by street, backlot, businesses, municipalities would all be assessed a percentage of a unit based on benefit
  • Two ways to set up: 2/3rds approval of all lakefront and backlot owners or City Council resolution (we will be pursuing the latter)

Legally, the long-term oversight of a Lake Board can not be explicitly limited, HOWEVER:

  • Expansion in this case is highly unlikely given the Board composition of a City of Walled Lake representative, a City of Novi representative, Oakland County representation, and a lake property owner representative – all would have to agree
  • In the consultant’s experience, only two Lake Boards in Michigan expanded their scope - out of more than 100 that have been formed (neither case dealt with the additional complexity of dual-city representation)
  • The Board would need to clear public hearings to proceed with an expansion of powers

Informal conversations in mid-July with city officials

  • Willingness to help in any way they can: information and guidance
  • Willingness to take on their fair share of the burden in a Special Assessment District (TBD by the Lake Board) - Study determines/recommends assessments with city data
  • Willingness to provide their support in setting up the Lake Board upon 51% of lakefront and backlot owners signing a petition resolving to the cities to set up the Lake Board

Estimated cost:

  • Assuming 500 homes (conservative)
  • $200 for the first year and study (approximately $17/month during the first year)
  • $100 for subsequent years (approximately $8/month)
  • Actual recommendations on assessments will be determined during the upfront study


  • Petitions submitted for approval
  • Petition drive
  • City Councils pass resolutions to form the Lake Board
  • Lake Board begins to meet; selects an Engineering Firm to conduct the study
  • Testing begins (by September)
  • Study completed (this fall and winter)
  • Assessments determined
  • First treatments begin (Spring ’09 - best case scenario)

LAHA Review of Petition Resolution for the City Councils of Walled Lake and Novi

  • Draft petition resolution shared with attending LAHA members at meeting on July 22nd
  • 95% of attending members voted in support of the Petition resolution
  • Petition resolution to be presented to each City Council during early August City Council meetings

Questions and Further Discussion

  • LAHA is eager to provide as much transparency throughout this process as possible
  • Please forward any questions or concerns to the LAHA officers at the email addresses provided at
  • Use the website to initiate additional conversation among members

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