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Ecology
 

Welcome to the Ecology Page of the KHA Website
 
Susan Donovan 2016 KHA Chairperson 
  
THANK YOU!!!!....to all the 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 and extra protection around the beach area.

In order to manage the care of Voorheis Lake as an ecosystem, KHA has joined with other neighborhood associations and some private homeowners to form a Voorheis Lake Committee.  The Lake Committee will cooperate in efforts to make good choices for weed control, promote best practices for lake community homeowners and share information about lake ecology.  See our mission statement and read the latest about the health of the lake on The Lake Committee Page on this website.  Ecology news relevant only to KHA will still be posted on this website.
 
1)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
 
 
2)  As you renew your landscape and get out your summer toys, please remember that all the neighborhoods in Keatington have storm sewers that dump directly into the lake.  Please read the following info to help protect our most valuable resource-Voorheis Lake.

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 Lake Voorheis 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 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.  Pick up pet waste promptly.  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.

-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.
(See procedure above)
   
-Water wisely.  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.
 
 
Keatington Homeowners Association owns the islands on Lake Voorheis and would like to keep the islands as natural as possible for everyone to enjoy.  If you notice anyone altering the islands in any way, please inform one of the board members.   If any homeowner in good standing chooses to alter any of our islands, they must request permission from the board in writing before proceeding with any project.  Here is a link to a form to start the process:
 
 
4)  Canada Geese Control-?????

Geese are problematic in a lake community because they can make 2 lbs of fecal matter per bird per day, creating concerns for e coli contamination in the water, not to mention the mess in the sand and grass.  In May Goosebusters picked up 28 eggs and destroyed 5 nests.  Since geese and their new goslings can nest up to 1 mile away from a water source and walk to the water (unbelievable!), we still have about 20 geese hanging out by the beach. The Goose Round Up has been cancelled by the USDA because of avian flue.  It is important to harass the geese when you see them to make them feel unwelcome.
If you see a dog on the beach with a lime green bandana, he is working to harass the geese and IS THE ONLY DOG ALLOWED ON THE BEACH!  If you spot any sick or dead geese or other fowl, call Sue Donovan 248-393-1297 ASAP.
 
5)  Lake Weed Treatment:
 
Aquaweed will treat Voorheis Lake in 5 zones this year, KHA being the largest area.  We are treating for invasive weeds, seen below, as well as a small patch of starry stonewort.   For more information, see The Lake Committee Page on this website.  Please note again the importance of cleaning your boat before launching.
 
 
COMMON AQUATIC PLANTS :
 
(Eurasian Water Milfoil)
 
asian watermilfoil is a perennial plant native to Europe, Asia, and Africa and was probably brought to the U.S. as an aquarium plant. Today it is considered one of the most aggressive and problematic plants in the U.S. because of the dense colonies which it forms. The stems are multi-branched, somewhat reddish in color, with gray-greenish feather-like leaves. The leaves are in whorls of 3 to 5 around the stem with each leaf divided into 12 or more pairs of thin thread-like leaflets. Reddish flowers are borne on leafless spikes that rise above the surface a few inches. Eurasian watermilfoil can spread from seeds or by fragmentation.
 
 
(Eelgrass)
 
 
Eelgrass, tapegrass, or wild celery are all common names for Vallisneria. Eelgrass is a rooted submerged plant often found in flowing water. It has long, thin, ribbon-like leaves (1/2 - 3/4 inches wide) that are commonly 3 to 4 feet long. The vein pattern in the leaves of eelgrass is very distinctive and resembles celery. Eelgrass has a vast rhizome system that allows it to form dense colonies and usually excludes other submerged plants.  Eelgrass is a great fish habitat, so we only treat for it when it becomes problematic for navigation.
 
 
6)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 the township of the phrag colonies.  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 and from the extensive root system..  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.
CALL SUE TO GET A FREE, NO OBLIGATION QUOTE FROM ORION TWP. TO TREAT PHRAGS THIS FALL!
 
7) Planting on 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 donovansusan@att.net.