Controlling Soil Erosion and Sedimentation on Private Lands
The Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
Basin Program Funds:
Watershed management plans for the Black, Mullett and Burt Lake watershed
identified 259 erosion sites along their shorelines and tributaries. These
large lakes comprise the majority of the lakeshore area along the Cheboygan
River Watershed. Serious erosion has also been documented on all of the other
Lakes within the Cheboygan River Watershed. The Cheboygan River Watershed
supports a thriving resort industry and a wide variety of human uses including
hunting, fishing, boating, sailing and swimming. As the attractiveness of
this area becomes more popular, the development pressure will increase. Accordingly,
the threats to the water quality of this priority watershed from soil erosion
and sedimentation will increase.
Controlling Soil Erosion and Sedimentation on Private Lands is a cooperative
effort between federal, state and local agencies. The overall goal is to reduce
soil erosion and sedimentation into the Cheboygan River Watershed in a manner
that is transferrable to other locales in the Great Lakes Basin. This goal will
be met by augmenting existing soil erosion control efforts, developing informational
materials that will be transferred to other locations and providing consultation
services to private property owners to control sedimentation. The Council will
work with 100 property owners throughout the watershed, thereby preventing 123
tons of soil loss. The Great Lakes Basin Program is spending $52,710 over a
2-year period to address the technical/education component of the project.
The Cheboygan River Watershed, which drains to Lake Huron at
Cheboygan, is comprised of 40 miles of contiguous waterway that includes Crooked
Lake, Pickerel Lake, Crooked River, Burt Lake, Indian River, Mullett Lake,
Cheboygan River and hundreds of miles of high-quality trout streams. In addition
to residential development, these waters support a thriving resort industry
and a wide variety of human uses including hunting, fishing, boating, sailing
In an effort to augment existing soil erosion control efforts, council staff
have researched and prepared a bibliography on existing Best Management Practices
(BMPs) for shoreline erosion control on inland lakes and streams, and available
materials for landowners on BMPs. Thirty copies of the resource bibliography
have been distributed to resource professionals and others.
Council staff have completed internal guidelines for providing
consultation services to private property owners interested in controlling
sedimentation. Project staff have conducted 108 site visits including the
entire shoreline of a 485 acre lake with 144 homes. All consultations have
been followed up with written recommendations and copies of pertinent background
information along with an offer to have council staff provide detailed design
for soil erosion control projects, or act as a general contractor for their
Informational/Educational efforts are underway to raise the
awareness of the types and benefits of BMPs. A brochure designed specifically
for landowners has been completed and distributed (5000 copies printed, 1500
distributed). A guidebook designed to assist private landowners in identifying
and correcting soil erosion problems on their property has also been completed.
Two thousand five hundred copies were printed and all have been distributed.
Articles about the project have been included in the Watershed Council's quarterly
newsletter, annual report, and local news media.
A biotechnical erosion control project was installed on two
adjoining properties extending along 200 feet of Crooked Lake in Emmet County.
The site typifies the erosion most common on inland lakes in northern Michigan
- slow but steady recession in sand soils caused by loss of vegetation, wave
action, and boat wakes. Permits for the project were obtained from Michigan
Department of Natural Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers. Monitoring
will be conducted and site visits promoted to various individuals, agencies,
organizations, etc. over the next several years. "Master Gardener" volunteers
have assumed responsibility for maintenance and monitoring of the vegetative
aspects of the project. It is estimated that approximately 49 tons of soil
loss has been prevented, over a ten year period, as a result of the demonstration
project (assuming moist soil bulk density of 175 grams/cubic centimeter and
a recession rate of 0.5 feet per year).
Partially as a result of this grant, a community project is
underway to protect a rapidly eroding 80 foot bluff along one mile of shoreline
on Burt Lake. Based on the same assumptions as above, this project has the
potential to prevent the loss of 115,260 tons of soil over a ten year period.
The Great Lakes Basin Program has leveraged $22,600 from non-federal
sources over the 2-year life of the project.