March 11, 2022 Update
On March 10, the LBLA was notified by several Bennett Lake riparian of work being completed by the property owner on the site of the wetlands violations on the south shore of Bennett Lake. The LBLA immediately followed the instructions given to the Association by the State of Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). The following is the response provided to the LBLA by EGLE. Additionally, pictures of the work being completed which prompted the contact to EGLE are provided.
Lobdell-Bennett Lake Association (LBLA)
I was able to get out to the site yesterday to have a look at the current work occurring at the site. The property owner is currently grading and placing broken concrete in the non-wetland areas on the site to create a foundation for the shed he previously installed. I did not observe any current filling or construction work within the wetland and all active work was in non-wetland areas.
While there is no current active work in the wetlands, the site is still a mess. I made note of a section of silt fencing that had been driven over and flattened, as well as, a few spots along the silt fence line that have holes or just not buried appropriately so runoff flow flows right under the fencing. Additionally, the upland areas on the site have still not been stabilized appropriately and are just exposed sand and mud that will erode into the wetlands and lake. I told the property owner that he needs to fix the silt fencing issues and get the site stabilized as soon as possible. He should be working with the County to get the soil erosion issues into compliance. He claims that the County has told him the site is fine but considering the state of the site I have a hard time thinking the County would find the site acceptable.
We also discussed the remaining unauthorized wetland fill areas that need to be restored. For the most part, he has complied with our restoration orders but there still remains a few areas of fill or where sediment has runoff off into the wetlands. The property owner was told that the remaining fill areas must be restored by spring once the ground has thawed enough for removal. As to his recent work on the boat hoist and failure to remove the hoist as ordered. The property owner was told again that the structures must be removed but he has stated outright that he will not comply with that requirement. EGLE is still exploring what our options may be to bring the boat hoist and dock into compliance given the property owner's statements that he will not voluntarily remove them.
If you see any additional activities on the site that are of concern or would like to discuss the case further please contact me by phone or email.
Environmental Quality Analyst Water Resources Division, Lansing District Office Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy
Overview - in the late winter of 2021, a new homeowner began filling in the wetlands on the south
shore of Bennett Lake. Bennett Lake is a unique area in that significant portions of the lake are
undeveloped and contain large areas of protected wetlands. Most of those wetlands are under private
ownership. As a precautionary measure, the LBLA contacted the State of Michigan Department of
Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to ensure the work was properly permitted and in
compliance with State of MI regulations. It was determined via an EGLE site survey that the work being
done was not under proper permit and non-compliant with State regulations. As a result, EGLE has
issued a remediation citation to the homeowner. The situation turns out to be somewhat similar in
nature to the bridge previously installed on Lobdell Lake which was not properly permitted and non-
compliant with Township and State regulations. As an association, we thought it an important topic of
interest for all Lobdell and Bennett Lake riparian as well as to keep you informed of the important work
done by the Association to protect our lakes and surrounding environments.
February 7, 2022
EGLE performed a site inspection of the property on December 8, 2021. It appears that the majority of the fill in wetlands has been removed per EGLE’s requirements. There still appears to be some soil erosion issues on the site. EGLE will be working with the Livingston County Drain Commissioners Office to ensure that the site is stabilized and any areas where sediment has run off into the wetlands is removed. Unfortunately, those issues will not be able to be fully addressed until the spring once the snow has melted.
The property owner has not removed the unauthorized covered boat hoist that he was previously advised to remove. EGLE is looking at our compliance and enforcement options for resolving this aspect of the violations.
Environmental Quality Analyst
Water Resources Division, Lansing District Office Michigan
Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy
December 6, 2021
EGLE update: There was little to report upon as the District Analyst has not had a chance to visit the site in several months. His latest assessment is that much of the wetlands fill has been removed but that there were still a few areas of remediation that need to be completed. He plans to visit the site as soon as the weather allows and will provide a further update at that time. The Livingston County Drain Commission is also working with the property owner to bring the property into compliance with Part 91 of the soil erosion and sediment control requirements.
September 8 Update
The following email communication was received from EGLE on September 2, 2021. This provides the latest update in the remediation efforts for the Bennett Lake Wetlands Violations:
I performed a site inspection at the site on August 4, 2021. At that time I observed that a majority of the fill in wetland had been removed and wetland vegetation was beginning to recolonize in the restored areas. There were still some locations where fill was not removed. These locations were identified to the home-owner in a follow-up letter. The Livingston County Drain Commissioner’s office has also been working to get the home-owner to get the site stabilized and fix a number of soil erosion control failures on the site. We also identified these areas where there was additional sedimentation to the wetland from these SESC failures for removal by the home-owner. Overall the site still has a number of issues particularly with unstabilized sand and sediment on upland sloping to the wetlands and lake but the home-owner has taken steps to remediate the wetlands. EGLE will continue to work to get the remaining impacted wetlands restored and support LCDC in getting the adjacent uplands stabilized.
Water Resources Division, Lansing District Office
Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy
July 9 Update
The LBLA discussed the current status of the Violation Notices (VN) with the enforcement officer for EGLE and the DNR who is handling the case moving forward. The next steps are relatively simple. If the remediation is successfully completed and verified through a final site visit, then the enforcement officer will close out the case. If the remediation is not completed during the final 30-day extension the enforcement officer will then work with the prosecuting attorney's office for determination of criminal and/or civil enforcement actions to be taken against the property owner. The final VN extension expires at the end of July. The remediation actions remain the same from the original VNs issued.
June 30 Update
EGLE completed their third site visit on 6/11 as a follow-up to the two previously issued Violation Notices (VN) of March and May respectively. The results of that site visit were published on 6/27. Very little of the required remediation activities have been successfully completed and EGLE noted that the work completed was slow and incomplete. The property owner requested an additional 60 days to complete the work but EGLE granted a 30-day extension. Because the work has not been completed to a satisfactory level or within the established deadlines, the situation has been turned over to the EGLE enforcement officer for criminal enforcement proceedings. The LBLA will be in contact with that officer in early July to understand the actions to be taken and associated timelines. Additionally, EGLE will be undertaking the remediation of the dock, boat hoist and jet ski hoist installed over the wetlands without proper permitting although the focus of their efforts remains on the remediation of the damaged wetlands.
May 16 Update
Following the passing of the deadline for the completion of remediation activities outlined in the March 30 EGLE Violation Notice (VN), a subsequent site visit was performed. During that visit EGLE representatives found the remediation requirements had not been completed and that additional violations had occurred since the issuance of the original VN. A second VN was issued on May 12 covering the original violations and remediation requirements as well as detailing the additional violations and remediation requirements. The VN was issued to the owner and a 15-day deadline in place for the second VN.
Additionally, the Tri-County Times covered the issue with a front-page article in their Weekend Times of May 16, 2021. The article does a nice job of covering the situation as well as detailing the current VN. The link to the article is provided:
April 22, 2021 Update
The Violation Notice - Order to Restore was issued to the property owner in violation of the wetlands regulations on March 30. The involved party has 30 days to comply with the Order or contact EGLE. At this point no remediation efforts appear to have been completed and no contact made with EGLE. The 30-day compliance period ends on April 30. At that point, if the remediation has not been completed and/or contact made with EGLE the violation will be referred to the EGLE enforcement unit to pursue escalated enforcement options. Additionally, EGLE is aware of the dock, boat hoist and waverunner hoist recently installed in the area of the impacted wetlands and will make a determination on a future site visit as to whether or not these actions are compliant.
April 12, 2021 Update – despite having the citation letter in place for several weeks now, no
remediation efforts have been completed and further non-compliant work was completed over the
previous weekend (boat hoist, truck parked on the wetlands area, etc.). Several pictures of the area
impacted may be seen below.
Note: the LBLA will continue to pursue this situation with EGLE and the Livingston County Drain
Commission and will provide future updates when appropriate.
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