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Jordan Lake residents, fishermen call for lake treatment changes

Jordan Lake residents, fishermen call for lake treatment changes

Hunter Dood Staff Writer The Jordan Lake Improvement Board invited concerned residents to discuss chemical treatment of the lake on Friday – and those residents responded.

“I feel like you’re disrupting the peaceful use of my home and its amenities -- and one of those amenities is the lake,” lake resident David Fillion said. “It is lowering my property values and it's affecting people, real people.”

Jordan Lake has an established lake plan, which includes paying PLM Lake and Land Management to treat the lake, Ben Geiger, chairman of the Jordan Lake Improvement Board, said.

That plan, put in place by Bill Walker, former chairman of the lake improvement board, was to apply chemical treatment to kill aquatic plants so that residents could use the lake to water ski. PLM was paid about $62,000 last year to spray copper sulfate and chelated copper to control aquatic plants and algae and conduct other water tests.

“Mr. Walker never cared about the fish,” fisherman James Brace of Sunfield said.

“We’re not asking for that much,” Fillion added. “All we’re asking for is: Don’t use copper sulfate and chelated copper at the same time. Copper sulfate is an irritant to fishes' lungs.

“You’re not giving the fish the opportunity to spawn.”

Fillion and Brace said the fish typically spawn between May 15 to June 15, so chemical spraying should occur after that.

PLM Western Michigan Lakes Manager Jaimee Conroy said the lake was treated May 16 and June 1 of last year. PLM is spraying the lake for invasive plants on May 15 this year and, if needed, an algae spray next week. The second spray is scheduled for the “end of the week of June 3,” he said.

Fillion said he was successful in his request for a targeted monitoring test in 2017 when the state Department of Environmental Quality came to Jordan Lake and conducted a sediment survey. The DEQ found that Jordan Lake had copper levels as high as 30 milligrams per dry sediment.

“The ground sediment of copper is high,” Brace pointed out.

“You’re building up a lot of copper in Jordan Lake,” Fillion said. “When copper builds up in the sediment, it begins to affect the ethnic layer of the sediment where you have micro bio-life. Once you’ve done that, you sterilize the bottom of the lake.”

Geiger said the health of the lake is monitored by PLM.

“I don't think we can depend on PLM Lake and Land Management,” Fillion said. “To be perfectly honest with you, PLM’s credibility is shot with me.”

Fillion said he believes Jordan Lake could attract more people if the fishery was better maintained. PLM also treats Houghton Lake, which attracts many fisherman throughout the year – and derives a lot of income from fishing. Fillion pointed out that Houghton Lake takes care of its fishery.

“We’re not doing that here,” Fillion added. “The only thing that has been done to Jordan Lake to improve the fishery was the 1,500 black crappie that I volunteered to put in the lake last year.”

The board needs to find a balance between the fishermen and those who use the lake for water sports, Geiger said.

“Just push (treatment) back,” Brace said.

Fillion suggested Geiger and other board members attend a training by the DEQ and Michigan State University. The training would educate them on dissolved oxygen contents, water clarity testing and weed identification.

“We don’t trust you, Ben, to do the right thing,” Fillion said.

Geiger said his feelings were hurt by that comment and asked residents to judge him based on his results, which he said he believes are positive.

Unless plans for chemical treatment change, Fillion told Geiger he would be judged on whether or not PLM is back spraying during the spawning season.

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