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Voorheis Lake Committee Mission Statement
 
The Voorheis Lake Committee is a consortium of members of the Keatington subdivision associations working together to care for the environmental health of Voorheis Lake.   The Voorheis Lake Committee is dedicated to maintaining a balanced, clean and healthy ecosystem that will provide for the recreational needs of the homeowners and sustain the fish, wildlife and native plant populations for years to come.
Presently, the Lake Committee will  research and set up a common contract for the control of invasive non-native aquatic weeds, cooperate on the control of the geese population and share information available from the Oakland County Water Resource Commission, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Lakes and Streams, etc. with all homeowners with lake access.  Other activities and concerns may be addressed in the future as the need arises.
The Committee membership shall be open to the president of every Keatington neighborhood association with access to the lake, and at least one homeowner from each association.
 
 

 
 
Summer 2015 BULLETIN
 

The second lake weed treatment will be on Tuesday, July 21.  Only KHA beach will be closed that day only.  Boaters, please avoid the use of the canals and Little Lake Voorheis on July 21 only.  Please spread the word!
 


THANK YOU!!!!....to all the KHA homeowners who so generously donated extra funds to “Lake Weeds” with their dues.  We will use this money to treat Eurasian Water Milfoil colonies not covered by our usual treatment paths.  
 
Goose egg collection was on May 10.  The USDA has cancelled Goose Round Up this year because of the presence of avian flu in the Canada geese population in Oakland and Macomb counties.  It is more important than ever to harass the geese you see to make them feel unwelcome.  If you spot any sick looking or dead waterfowl, please call Sue Donovan 248-393-1297 ASAP!!!!
 
 

LAKE WEED TREATMENT STRATEGY, 2015
2015 marks the fourth year of the Lake Committee's coordinated efforts at controlling invasive weeds in our lake. After our fall vegetation survey, we have identified 6 areas containing colonies of Eurasian watermilfoil and starry stonewort. (Please see the ecology page on this KHA website for pictures.) We also will treat for algae and for any colonies that impede swimming at KHA beach or navigation in the marina. Treatment is provided by Aquaweed, our licensed contractor. Payment for treatment is provided by Keatington HOA,  Scripps on the Lake Assoc, Keatington Cedars II and groups of private homeowners. The first treatment was in early June, followed by a mid summer treatment on July 7 or 8. A third treatment in late summer may be necessary. Signs will be posted on the trees by the affected areas with instructions on watering bans and water usage, usually 2 days for swimming, more for watering. Keep in mind that every effort is made to avoid heavy beach usage days, but that treatment depends on weather conditions and the growth of the weed in the area.  PARTY PLANNERS SHOULD CONSULT  KHA BEACH OR CHECK THIS WEBSITE.  For more information, including a list of the products used in the water at time of treatment, contact your neighborhood association president or rep. Read more about homeowners' responsibilities further down this page.
 
  
 
LAKE WEEDS AND BOAT WASHING
If you launch your boat in any other body of water, it is imperative to thoroughly clean your machine from hitch to propellers! Proper cleaning will limit the contamination of weed pieces and spores hitchhiking from other lakes. Michigan Clean Boats, Clean Water recommends these three steps:
1)CLEAN-Remove all vegetation from anchor and lines, trailer, under the fenders and fishing equipment
2)DRAIN-Drain all wells and bait buckets. Never dump old bait in the lake.
3)DRY-Rinse the hull with hot water, dry in the sun or by hand before launching.
Many lakes with public access sites have boat washing stations that use a multi purpose chemical wash.
If you use your boat in the Great Lakes, it should be disinfected for a number of fish illnesses as well. Use one cup of household bleach to a gallon of water to wipe down the hull and wells and trailer, rinse well, then dry as above. Read more at www.youtube.com/user/Michigancbcw or www.miseagrant.umich.edu/cbcw
 

PHRAGMITE ALERT!
Phragmites are an invasive reed, green in the summer, that forms big pluming seed heads. They grow to 15’ tall and never die back. Phrags form thick colonies that choke out all other growth. The deep, tuberous, horizontal root system is hydroscopic, drawing water into the plant. Before I got up close and personal with them in the stream between Lake Sixteen and Voorheis, I actually thought they were kind of pretty! But, unlike cattails which filter hydrocarbons from the water, phrags do nothing beneficial except crowd out the cattails and all other growth, suck up the water, obliterate the view, and become a fire hazard, ruining property values especially around lakes.
Orion Township has joined many other communities in Oakland County and across Michigan in an effort to rid our public lands of the phrag colonies. More on this to come. In the meantime, please keep a watchful eye on the wetlands and waterfronts of Voorheis Lake. Phragmites grow from seeds blown from the exposed seed heads and from the root. Since there is about a ½ acre colony on private property bordering the stream from Lake Sixteen, and another small colony on Cedar Key, and since they do best in shallow water and where the land has been disturbed, it is likely that they will make an appearance in Voorheis proper. They are very difficult to get rid of once they have taken hold-disturbing the root only makes them grow faster-but there are good techniques for new stands. Read more at www.phragmites.org, www.invasiveplants.net or www.Michigan.gov/DEQ. North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy has an excellent pamphlet -www.nohlc.org.
Contact Sue Donovan, Orion Township Environmental Resource Committee Chairperson, to take advantage of Orion's Community Phrag Strategy.  Get a FREE, NO OBLIGATION quote for treatment in the fall.  248-393-1297.
 

PLANTING YOUR SHORELINE
If your home is on the water, consider landscaping your yard for shoreline restoration. This is a technique that restores a measure of the wetland that surrounds and protects an undeveloped lake. Using some low maintenance native plants, shrubs or trees between the water and your lawn interrupts the flow of particulates and chemicals coming off the streets, driveways and roofs and keeps the lake fresh and clean. Ride around the lake and notice the easy and attractive ways many homeowners have used to break up the “turf highway” into the lake, and somewhat restore a wetland filter surrounding the lake. If you are interested in a session on lake planting for shoreline restoration before the fall/spring planting season, contact Sue at Contact Us.
 

MORE About Lake Weeds....The non-native weeds we seek to control are rapid invaders that warm up the water, suck out too much oxygen, do not provide good cover or food for fish and crowd out all the plants that are beneficial.  To keep clear, clean and productive, a lake needs the right kind and amount of plant life, as well as adequate silty muck.  Everything is connected!  The mayflies and other insects breed in the silt, to feed the fish.  The plants provide oxygen, cover and food for lake creatures from snails to tadpoles to Northern Pike.  And a balanced ecosystem results in clean, clear water that we can all enjoy.
 
Please be aware that all the Keatington neighborhoods have storm sewers that run directly into the lake!   Check for the closest storm sewer on your property and guard what goes into it.

Chemical treatment of invasive lake weeds is only half the story.  Undeveloped lakes have a natural buffer of wetlands surrounding the shores that filter and absorb ground water runoff.  Voorheis Lake has almost no wetlands left, many impervious surfaces like driveways, patios, streets and parking lots, and storm drains that empty into the lake connected deep into the surrounding neighborhoods.  SO NEIGHBORS OFF THE LAKE NEED TO PRACTICE GOOD MANAGEMENT HABITS AS WELL.

-Check your property for a storm drain.  Everything you and your neighbors put on your lawn and garden, driveway or street, goes into the lake making a nice rich habitat for the overgrowth of lake weeds.  Consider planting some native grasses, wildflowers or shrubs or install a rain garden around the drain.  If using chemicals, wash your car and boat on the grass instead of the street or driveway.
-Riparians, consider replacing some of that wetland by planting native wildflowers, grasses and shrubs between the drainfield and the shoreline.  Natives have deep roots that filter water and cut down erosion.  Keep the beach area to no more than 1/3 of your shoreline. 
-NEVER use fertilizers with phosphorus.

You can find more best practices for lake community homeowners on our website, or at WRC’s www.oakgov.com/riparian, or MSU extension www.shoreline.msu.edu.   Find native plants at www.epa.gov/greenacres/wildones or www.mnppa.org.  Contact Sue Donovan for easy directions on installing landscape buffers and rain gardens.
 
 

PROTECTING OUR MOST VALUABLE RESOURCE

Property values-everybody is concerned about the lifetime investment made in a home.  Keatington homeowners have a huge advantage-access to beautiful Voorheis Lake and the activity offered by the beach associations.  We all have a stake in the lake!  But remember that, as a lake with no public access, no public entity regulates how we handle our water.  So here is a reminder of best practices that should be followed by ALL homeowners in the Keatington community, on and off the water, to keep the lake healthy and clean for all water activities.
 
   - Minimize storm water runoff from your property.  Too much runoff causes excessive aquatic plant growth, decreased water clarity and shoreline erosion.  Maintain a rain garden or plant a buffer of taller vegetation around the perimeter of your yard to filter water.  Minimize hard surfaces-use porous landscaping materials.
   -Prevent soil erosion and sedimentation.  Eroded soils are the greatest pollutant of water, creating highways for sediment filled with nutrients and pesticides to flow into the water.  Turf grass mowed to the water’s edge leads to pollution and erosion.  Stabilize shorelines with wildflowers, grasses and shrubs.  Supplement existing seawalls with plants.  Minimize clearing, grading and land disturbance that will remove the ground cover.
   -Maintain a HEALTHY lawn and garden.  Nutrients from fertilizers cause excessive aquatic plant growth and algal blooms and decrease oxygen levels.  Fertilizer should have slow release nitrogen with 50% or more water insoluble nitrogen (WIN).  To protect water quality, fertilizer must have zero phosphorus content, such as 29-0-4 labeling on the bag.  Sweep excess fertilizer off hard surfaces like driveways and patios.  Never fertilize before a predicted heavy rain, but lightly water in after application.  Never fertilize in early spring before the ground is thawed.  Don’t fertilize within 25 feet of water. 
    -Properly manage yard and animal waste.  Collect dog and goose droppings and throw in the trash promptly.   Collect or mulch leave in the fall.  They add excess nutrients and use up oxygen when they fall directly into the water.  Don’t burn yard waste by the water-ash contains phosphorous.
    -NEVER FEED GEESE AND WATERFOWL!!!  Droppings add excess nutrients and harmful bacteria to the water.  Ducks should eat the duckweed.  Ducks on a diet of bread and cheetos are much more harmful to water quality.  Pick up your picnic droppings instead of “leaving it for the birds.”  Participate in the neighborhood association efforts to get rid of Canada geese, a nuisance species.  (See below-testing your water)
   -Properly maintain your boats and water vehicles.  Wash boats on the grass or at a car wash facility to prevent runoff of chemicals into the lake.  Use non-toxic cleaners.  DUMP NO WASTE DOWN A STORM DRAIN.  Check for leaks.  Make sure your boat and trailer is free of water and plant material from other bodies of water before launching.
   -"Grow it high and let it lie!"  Growing grass can only use water to the end of their root system, about .5 to 1.5 inches.  The rest becomes runoff which flows over streets and driveways, picking up pollutants which flow into the lake.  In hot arid weather, roots shrink to around .5 and actually need less water.  Grass thrives with light and consistent moisture.  Monitor timing devices on sprinklers.  Be conservative especially when watering from the lake (including irrigation wells that draw from the water table).  Overwatering can impact the lake level due to absorption by plant material and evaporation of the spray.

This material was taken from the Water Resources Commission of Oakland County.  Contact the Environmental Team for a comprehensive publication or questions at 248-858-0958.  Information also available on water testing kits from the Oakland County Board of Health on their Website:www.oakgov.com. (get to Health Division, Environmental Health, Beach Monitoring, Beach sampling guidelines.) Or 248-858-1512.
 
 
Questions, comments or more info: Sue Donovan, KHA Ecology Chair and the Voorheis Lake Committee Contact Us.