05-21-2020 Outdoors; Watervliet Township sets Paw Paw Lake project public hearing

Watervliet Township sets Paw Paw Lake project public hearing

By Annette Christie The Watervliet Township Board held their May 18, 2020 meeting via teleconference. Clerk Patt Bambrick led the meeting. Trustee Joe Stepich provided an update on the Paw Paw Lake Special Assessment project with the presentation of the 2020 work plan. The lake improvements include measures designed to reduce the percentage of invasive and nuisance species, reduce total phosphorus in the water column, reduce algal blooms, decrease nutrient inputs into the lake, increase percent cover and diversity of native vegetation, and document and assess existing resources and fish and wildlife habitat, along with recreational and aesthetic values associated with the lake to identify areas of potential improvement, enhancement or restoration.

The estimated work plan expenses are $185,940 to include: Spicer Group Inc./GEI Consultants of Michigan, Inc. lake and drain monitoring, analyses, reporting, drain project planning and public hearing $114,700, PLM weed management $51,240, legal counsel and public hearing $15,000, and other expenses associated with the public hearing, web domain, and miscellaneous in the amount of $5,000. The second phase of the lake project, which was approved in 2016, requires that a public hearing be held every four years in presidential election years, during the month of June. Although this is not required by Public Act 188, this process was approved voluntarily by both Watervliet and Coloma township boards. With the approval of resolution #2020-05, the Watervliet Township Board approved the setting of the public hearing.

The Joint Lake Improvement Special Assessment District Public Hearing (with Coloma Charter Township Board) will be on June 27, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. and will be held electronically. While discussions had been held about holding it at Coloma High School’s auditorium, the executive order could affect that and to avoid re-posting and re-publishing, the decision was made to hold it electronically. Both boards, members of the public, those included in the special assessment district, and the media may participate in the public hearing through Zoom/Telephone. All landowners within the Special Assessment District will receive the notice of public hearing via first class mail. Participants will be able to submit questions in advance or will have an opportunity to ask questions during the hearing. The public hearing will include an overview of the prior four years of the project and a report on work being recommended in the next four years and beyond. Following the public hearing, both of the township boards will make the decision to either continue the lake improvements, continue the lake improvements with specified changes, discontinue the lake improvements, or discontinue the entire project all together.

Other business In other business the township board approved bills in the amount of $234,120.32, of which $32,770.51 was payroll related. It was announced that the landfill passes that the township usually distributes every spring will once again be delayed given the Governor’s extended stay home order through May 28, 2020. Bambrick said that when the township hall opens once again to the public, they will make them available. The township board did discuss the scheduling of next month’s meeting, set for June 15, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. The board decided to wait until the next meeting on June 15 to decide when they will open the hall back up to the public. Governor Whitmer has issued an executive order to allow for local municipal remote meetings to occur through June 30, 2020.

Bambrick announced that they will have ballot proposals to consider for the upcoming election cycle. The library millage proposal will be put on the November ballot. The Pride Care ambulance service report showed 11 priority 1 calls for the month of April, with an average response time of 5 minutes 50 seconds. There were 22 priority 2 calls with an average response time of 5 minutes 55 seconds. The Watervliet Fire Department responded to 42 calls in the month of March, 10 in the city, 31 in the township, and 1 mutual aid call. There were three structure fires, two grass fires, two alarms, two accidents, and 31 medical calls.

Fishing The spring like weather with the on again off again showers and sunshine has not put much of a damper on the fishing communities’ activities. Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported good fishing on Lake Michigan. King salmon were biting on spoons, moonshine baits and stingers in 60 to 120 feet of water and were in the top 50 feet. Lake trout were found in the same depth but were on the bottom and were being taken by Laker Takers. South Haven pier was quiet and the rivers are all running high. Inland lakes were producing crappie and bluegills. They were biting good in about 10 feet of water, and could be caught from shore.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle shop on Big Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reports a steady stream of anglers going out. A lot of them are families. The crappie and bluegill have been biting good and walleye are doing the same. All the local inland lakes seem to be producing nice catches and minnows seem to be the bait of choice for most catches.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced it plans to reopen Grand Haven State Park’s channel parking lot (known locally as Fisherman’s Parking Lot) to public parking starting at 8:00 a.m. Friday, May 22. Those using the parking lots or visiting the park are reminded to follow COVID-19 guidelines at all times, for their own safety and the safety of others. Keep the following guidelines in mind when heading outdoors: Go out only if you’re feeling healthy. Unless it is essential, long-distance travel is discouraged. Keep at least six feet between yourself and people from other households. Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand