David Fillion, a Jordon Lake resident, spoke at the Barry County Commissioner’s meeting Tuesday, challenging the Jordan Lake Improvement Board’s oversight. Lake residents deserve better representation than the board gives; issues like sediment and nutrient loading and spraying herbicides during fish spawning are not discussed with residents, Fillion said.
There is one mandated meeting a year that is held during the daytime when most can’t attend, he said, and the board has created a hostile environment for residents, seeming to value power and control instead of recognizing the honor and privilege of serving its constituents.
Fillion said spraying of chemicals to control weeds in the lake has been done for years; he noticed about three years ago that bluegills were not spawning. He contacted the DEQ Fisheries Division and learned the spray being used by PLM Lake and Land Management Corp., chelated copper and copper sulfate, was toxic to fish, he said.
“I asked for a moratorium on the spraying, but they (the board) declined to do it,” Fillion said.
This year, spraying of chelated copper and copper sulfate on 18 acres of the lake took place on June 1. On June 2, fish started dying, with a total of approximately 200 Bluegill, 50 Black Crappie and 50 Yellow Perch, all adults with no obvious signs of disease, Fillion said.
A field investigation report from the Department of Environmental Quality Fillion requested said the treatment locations were compared to the map of potential bluegill/bass spawning locations and showed “a lot” of overlap between the treatment areas and the active spawning beds.
DEQ permits mandate no spraying within 20 foot of active spawning beds. PLM denied violating the 20-foot setback, according to the report. “No DNR or DEQ staff were onsite to verify or refute this statement,” it said. Fillion maintains PLM did spray within the setback, causing the fish kill.
The report noted water temperatures on the St. Joseph River at Niles increased 12 degree from May 24 to June 1 and rapidly increasing water temperatures and spawning activities stressed the fish.
That stress alone may have killed fish, but it is possible the shock from the herbicide treatments increased mortality rates for stressed adult fish, the report concluded.
Ben Geiger, chairman of the improvement board, said the board meets a few times a year to make adjustments to the treatment plan and listen to concerns of residents. “We hired a capable and professional to monitor and assess conditions on Jordan Lake. We rely on their expertise and will continue to do so. Anyone with concerns about the lake will have the opportunity to talk to PLM at the next meeting,” he said. The next meeting date has not been set, but will be announced in the Lakewood News.
About Jordan Lake: According to the DNR website, Jordan Lake is on the southern edge of the village of Lake Odessa. Straddling Barry County and Ionia County lines, it is a manmade lake where Tupper Creek flows into it from Tupper Lake.
Out of Jordan Lake, the Little Thornapple River flows thru Barry County. The lake is 430 acres with recorded depths of 58 feet. Bullhead, Carp, Catfish, Crappie, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, Sunfish, Bluegill and Walleye inhabit the lake. The lake is animal friendly, with a beach and swimming area, playground and rustic restrooms.