Controlling Soil Erosion and Sedimentation on Private Lands
Emmet County, MI

Grantee: The Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
Basin Program Funds: $52,710
Non-federal Funds: 0
Project Duration: 10/1993 - 09/1995
Status: complete

Problem Statement
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 and swimming.

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 implementation.

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.


Great Lakes Commission des Grands Lacs.  2805 S. Industrial Highway, Suite 100.  Ann Arbor, MI  48104-6791.  phone: 734/971.9135.  fax: 734/971-9150. Join the Friends of the Great Lakes GLIN Partner