Brooks Lake Association
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lake improvement plan


Recommended Implementation Actions

Based upon a review of previous studies, assessment of the lake and watershed completed as part of this study, the Management Practices outlined above, and our understanding of the goals of the Brooks Lake Improvement Board, Spicer Group recommends implementation of the following activities (prioritized in the order as listed):

  • Begin a Watershed Management and Public Education Program (estimated cost of $2,000 to $4,000 for items “a” and “b”. Item “c” may be contracted on an as-needed basis or completed by volunteers. Item “d” can be facilitated by a consultant for a minimal fee and the work completed by members of the Brooks Lake Improvement Board or Brooks Lake Association.)
    • (A) Conduct a survey of lakefront property owners and watershed residents to understand their goals and objectives for the lakes and drainage infrastructure for roads and homes. A thorough understanding of the desires of the watershed residents will provide a basis for decision-making with regard to the lake.
    • (B) Develop and implement a Public Education program for the Watershed and Brooks Lake.
    • (C) Work with the Newaygo County Drain Commissioner or designee to integrate proposed activities with the Watershed Management Plan -OR- apply for grant funding to develop a Watershed Management Plan. A watershed management plan will help create opportunities for obtaining grant funding to implement watershed and lake improvements.
    • (D) If a watershed management plan is not feasible at this time, develop a Brooks Lake action plan. In this plan develop a list of goals and objectives for a 3 year plan of actions to improve water quality and protect water resources.
  • Aquatic Vegetation Management & Lake Management Plan
    • An aquatic vegetation survey of Brooks Lake has been completed and a moderate amount of water quality monitoring has occurred. The Brooks Lake Improvement Board should develop a list of goals and objectives to begin development of a three year lake management plan.
      • Assess habitat quality of shoreline land use and shallow-water habitat around the lakes.
      • Obtain and review fisheries information within the lake and desired fisheries for the water body. Existing fisheries will be identified and opportunities for enhancement prioritized with cost estimates.
      • Develop a map of high-quality natural habitat within the lakes.
      • Develop a map of boating/recreational traffic for the lakes.
      • Develop a map of aquatic vegetation and proposed control measures for the lakes.
    • Continue vegetation management plan and the use of an experienced aquatic vegetation consultant to assure continued success of the vegetation management.
    • Investigate weed harvesting methods for implementation rather than chemical treatment.
      NOTE: Some aquatic vegetation (including Eurasian Milfoil) spread by fragmentation and harvesting these plants could spread their territory in the lake.
  • Continue Water Quality Monitoring Efforts
    • At seven (7) stations in Brooks Lake: Water quality sample collection for total phosphorus and E. coli, and water clarity using a Secchi Disc at each location, in spring, late summer, mid fall.
    • At one (1) station in Brooks Lake: Vertical profile in-lake at 2-foot intervals, once per season Spring to Fall as above (for a total of three profiles):
      • Temperature
      • pH
      • Dissolved Oxygen
      • Specific Conductivity
      • Total Dissolved Solids
      • Turbidity
      • Nitrogen (as Nitrate / Nitrite and Total Nitrogen)
      • Phosphorus (as Total Phosphorus)
      • Chlorophyll-a (only done once per year)
    • At two stations (Wheeler Drain and Alger Creek) within the Hess & Brooks Lake Watershed: two samplings of:
      • Wet-weather flows for: Total phosphorus, Total nitrogen, Nitrate/nitrite, Total Kjeldahl nitrogen, Dissolved Oxygen, Temperature, Conductivity
      • Dry-weather flows for: Total phosphorus, Total nitrogen, Nitrate/nitrite, Total Kjeldahl nitrogen, Dissolved Oxygen, Temperature, Conductivity
      • Record depth of flow at crossings and lake level during collection of each sample.
  • Establish and Implement Drain and Inlet Inspection & Maintenance Plan, develop a sediment reduction strategy. (cost varies with length of drain inspected, length of drain maintained, and practices installed)
    • Drain Inventory
      • Complete a maintenance inventory on all county drains within the watershed. The recommended priority of these inspections is based on sampling data and L-THIA predicted loading for suspended solids and nutrients within the watershed. The first three drains discharge into Hess Lake, our concern is that these three inlets appear to contribute a significant amount of nutrients to Hess Lake and ultimately to Brooks Lake. The areas where action is recommended are prioritized as follows:
        • Wheeler Drain (Sampling Location #1 on Hess Lake)
        • Alger Creek (Sampling Location #5 on Hess Lake)
        • Inlet to Hess Lake (Sampling Location #3 on Hess Lake)
        • Inlet to Brooks Lake
          • Examine lake level control structure
          • Examine road crossing
      • Complete preliminary drain inventory for residential drains located in immediate areas for Brooks Lake
        • Field-locate drainage structures using a sub-meter accuracy GPS unit.
        • Note structure condition, pipe sizes and inverts, and sediment present in sump.
        • Develop a maintenance program in coordination with the Newaygo County Drain Commissioner, Brooks and Grant Townships, and the Newaygo County Road Commission for regular maintenance of the systems.
      • Develop prioritized implementation plan for maintenance activities identified during inspection.
      • Keep current on grant availability for sediment control projects for example, www.glc.org , the Great Lakes Commission funds sediment and erosion control projects annually. Additionally, with the current stimulus funding, approach the National Resources Conservation Service and local Conservation District for funding to address the sedimentation and erosion on the Wheeler Drain. By finding the necessary funding to eliminate or dramatically decrease the source of sediment from the Wheeler Drain the drainage district may eliminate two problems.
        • By decreasing or eliminating the sediment load into Hess Lake the phosphorus from this source will be addressed.
        • Eliminate the need to annually clean out the sediment trap on the Wheeler Drain.
  • Shoreline Survey (estimated cost of $2,000 to $7,500, depending on level of detail and volunteer effort)
    • Conduct a survey of shoreline land use (i.e. undeveloped, residential, etc.) shoreline material (i.e. seawall, rock wall, beach, etc.), type of lakescaping present, and off-shore sediment characteristics (muck, sand, etc). The survey should include estimates of the cost and water quality benefit of implementing various lakeshore management practices.
    • Data will be obtained using a handheld GPS unit, and photographs obtained to characterize the land use for the entire shoreline of the lakes.
    • In conjunction with the Brooks Lake Association develop a “Demonstration Site” for shoreline buffer planting, lakescaping examples, and seawall retrofit techniques. Consider offering buffer design services and educational programs to encourage the implementation of lakescaping designs.
  • Design and Pursue Implementation Funding for Water Quality Retrofits for Immediate Areas (estimated cost of $8,000 for preliminary design and cost estimate)
    • Develop a conceptual plan for low-impact development retrofits within the immediate areas of the watershed (specifically targeting shoreline properties and properties within residential areas).
    • Develop conceptual lakescaping concepts for the portions of the lake that have minimum grade toward the lake (flat areas) and those sections where the homes on the lake “ridge” with steep slopes to the lake. This will provide landowners with examples for landscaping to protect the lake from nutrients.
    • Develop a detailed cost estimate and preliminary drawings for the proposed retrofits. Quantify the benefit to the lake based on the proposed practices.
  • Development of a Phosphorus Elimination or Inactivation area at the inlet to Brooks Lake estimated cost of study $5,000; Cost of entire project from $0.5 million to $1.5 million)
    • Complete a preliminary study for feasibility of using the inlet area of Brooks Lake to decrease phosphorus loading in the lake. This study can look at the following aspects:
      • Inline Phosphorus elimination.
      • Use of existing wetland to create a phosphorus sink.
      • Research other alternatives to use this area for natural phosphorus elimination.
      • Research methods to obtain the property for utilization.
    • Develop a report on sustainability of the systems and present to the Brooks Lake Improvement Board.
  • Dredging Assessment and Dredge Plan Development (estimated cost of $15,000 to $25,000)
    • Landowner Coordination
      • Develop a map showing the estimated sediment accumulation for the entire Brooks Lake based on historic Michigan Department of Natural Resources and 2008 Spicer Group contours and pole soundings.
      • Prepare for and attend one (1) stakeholder meeting and one (1) BLIB board meeting to discuss the benefits of dredging and outline a proposed timeline and work plan to complete the work on the lakes.
      • Assess the desires of lakefront residents to complete a dredging project. Multiple objectives for dredging that should be considered include water quality benefit, navigation benefit, potential habitat enhancement, removal of accumulated sediment.
      • Develop prioritization matrix and corresponding map for dredge location analysis.
    • Dredge Plan Development
      • Process bathymetric survey data and pole soundings for statistical sediment characterization.
      • Acquire the requisite number of representative sediment samples from Brooks Lake. Complete laboratory analysis of sediments. Samples will be processed based on MDEQ required sampling for dredging projects (Part 115, Solid Waste Management, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451), including: arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, selenium, silver, zinc, poly-nuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), poly-chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), sieve analysis and hydrometer analysis, loss by ignition analysis.
      • Complete a Synthetic Precipitation Leaching Procedure (SPLP) analysis of samples whose bulk sediment analysis indicated additional testing will be required by the MDEQ (at an additional cost of approximately $100 per sample per parameter)
      • Develop a map of sediment distribution, statistical classification, and sediment analysis.
      • Based on the results of sediment testing, identify at least three (3) possible spoil deposition locations within the watershed. Provide a prioritization matrix for disposal sites, and a summary of disposal site requirements.
      • Identify at least two (2) methods for sediment removal and spoil deposition.
      • Prepare a letter report summarizing the proposed dredge plan, includes estimates of cost and prioritized dredge and deposition locations.
    • Dredge Plan Coordination
      • Schedule, prepare for, and attend one (1) meeting with landowners and the Brooks Lake Improvement Board to discuss results of Preliminary Dredge Plan.
      • Schedule, prepare for, and attend one (1) on-site meeting with MDEQ representatives to discuss proposed plans and review their comments and concerns. (NOTE: there is an additional fee payable to the MDEQ for this meeting).
  • Review and Revise Township and/or County-wide Ordinances (estimated cost of $0 to $15,000, dependant upon legal fees, effort donated by governmental entities, etc.)
    • Develop a sub-committee within Brooks Lake Improvement Board or the Brooks Lake Association to develop and implement ordinance and codes with the following intents:
      • Implement an ordinance or resolution to limit or ban the residential use of fertilizers containing phosphorus within the watershed, two townships, or on a county-wide basis (Note: there is an effort at the state level to do a phosphorus ban).
      • Require or encourage low-impact development strategies for all future development within the watershed.
      • Continue implementation of the ordinance for inspection of on-site septic systems and dye testing with a report to the county health department as a requirement for home sales in the immediate area of Brooks Lake and the watershed.
      • Adoption and implementation of the Lake Overlay (LO) District ordinance will go a long way in protection of Brooks Lake.
    • Coordinate efforts with Hess Lake Association.
  • Pursue implementation of the proposed Sanitary Sewer project (estimated costs for various alternatives are located in the 2005 Study by Spicer Group in Appendix A)
    • Develop committee begin study of reports provided for implementation of a sanitary sewer project with the following intents:
      • Determine which option to pursue for implementation.
      • Research funding options for the program. There are a lot of federal dollars in stimulus money and in the water quality area that may be a source of funding for this project in the form of low interest loans and some grant funds to decrease some aspects of the project.
      • Begin education of the property owners so they understand the need for this project on a long term basis to reduce nutrient impacts on Brooks and Hess Lakes. Advise landowners that the project will slow down the eutrophication project and ultimately protect water resources of the river and the entire watershed of the Muskegon and ultimately Lake Michigan.
      • Develop a list of qualifications for contractors in case a project comes to pass.
    • Coordinate efforts with Hess Lake Association.

Conclusions
Brooks Lake is a shallow lake that does not appear to stratify during late summer months. It has a nutrient abundance that is triggering algae and aquatic plant growth and creating a turbid water clarity problem. The lake fits the criteria for a borderline eutrophic lake and will probably respond well to a management plan. Because of the present condition of the lake, its ability to change its water (flush) about nine times per year and its size; education of lake residents and of the watershed population along with proper best management practices may go a long way in slowing the nutrient problems with the lake. We recommend continuing the aquatic vegetation and algae management as it is being carried out, especially to keep on top of the milfoil problem. Until the nutrient loading reaching Brooks Lake from the watershed is reduced, many of the on lake activities may not be cost effective or be overwhelmed and their impact may not be displayed. Our opinion is the non-point source nutrient loading must be addressed in the watershed otherwise the on lake improvements will not be sustainable.

References
  • Tchobanoglous, G. and F. Burton. Wastewater Engineering: Treatment, Disposal, and Reuse. McGraw- Hill Companies, Inc. 1991.
  • Chapra, Steven C. Surface Water-Quality Modeling. McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 1997.
  • adapted from: Holdren, C., W. Jones, and J. Taggardt Managing Lakes and Reservoirs. North American Lake Management Society and Terrene Institute, in cooperation with Office of Water Assessment Watershed Protection Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2001.