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Changes Made to Shoreline Grooming Bill

June 1st, 2012

A bill that would allow Great Lakes property owners to mow and groom weeds and invasive plants along the water’s edge without a permit from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality passed the Senate recently and is starting to see some action in the House.

MUCC had originally raised concerns about the affect the language of the original Senate Bill 1052 would have had on the public’s ability to walk the shoreline of the Great Lakes under the public trust doctrine. To the credit of those making the decisions on this bill, those concerns did not go unaddressed.

The new version of the bill, as it passed the Senate, is a much simpler and cleaner bill that does not mess with the definitions of “ordinary high water mark” and “water’s edge” as it had previously.

Whether or not you agree with the ability of a land owner to mow and groom coastal areas, it is very important that the public still have the ability to walk the coast line. Thanks to the help of DEQ Director Dan Wyant for advocating this position, and Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba), the bill sponsor, for agreeing to the changes, it appears the new language goes a long way to ensure that there is no confusion about the public’s ability to walk the shores of the Great Lakes the way we have for hundreds of years.

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