MI DEQ & DNR To Hold Public Meeting Jan. 20 With Kazoo Lake Harbor Authority
“Sturgeon is an endangered species in Michigan,” Douglas Council Member Gerald Schmidt reminded folks at Monday’s meeting during his Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority report.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will hold a public meeting at Douglas City Hall on Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. with the harbor authority to talk about appropriate “dredging windows” relative to the endangered species, said Schmidt, who is a Douglas City representative on the authority.
Schmidt also reported the authority is considering the installation of night lights along the Blue Star Highway bridge for the safety of boaters navigating underneath.
With regards to lake sturgeon, regulatory agencies are particularly concerned about paying careful attention to spawning periods, said Schmidt.
The harbor authority currently holds a DEQ permit to dredge May 1 through July 15, according to outgoing Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority Chair Bob Sapita.
“We may come to know there are different dates that the DNR has established (to allow dredging),” Sapita told The Local Observer on Tuesday.
“If that is the case, then we have to work with the DEQ to get our permit updated to be in compliance with the new requirements,”
Marine experts say the primary causes of the decline of lake sturgeon are insufficient recruitment due to habitat loss and degradation often caused by dams and poor spawning habitat quality and excess mortality on adults through fishing.”
The strategy aims to conserve current populations and rehabilitate depressed populations to the point they are self-sustaining at a higher level of abundance.
Regarding night lights on the bridge, Sapita said the issue has been placed in the action item list for possible implementation for later this year or next.
Nothing has been prioritized, but, he noted, “We know we need lights at that bridge.”
There are lights on the bridge on I-196, but none at the Blue Star bridge, he added.
Regarding boating lanes in the river, Sapita said there are three options:
Three channels for boaters approaching the Blue Star to choose from.
However, if outside visitors don’t have that “local knowledge” of taking the middle channel—the deepest, and thus, the safest—they could encounter a problem or safety hazard.