QUESTION: ARE THERE STATE OR LOCAL REGULATIONS THAT GOVERN THE OPERATION OF BUBBLER SYSTEMS FOR PERMANENT DOCKS? WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE IMPACTS OF USING BUBBLERS?
For bubblers that are attached to permanent docks and not placed on bottomland, a permit would not be required by the State of Michigan. However, some local municipalities have regulations that ban bubblers. Riparians should be aware that they are taking on considerable personal liability should death or injury result from their use of a bubbler to de-ice an area. Additionally, bubblers should not be used in such a way as to impede navigation by people who are entitled to use the lake. (For example, using a bubbler to block ice fishermen from accessing the lake). Navigation and fishing are public trust rights and enforcement may occur if these rights are infringed upon.
Other devices, such as decorative fountains, bottom diffusers, lake aeration, and any device that moves sediment, such as aqua thrusters/aqua blasters, are regulated activities and would require a permit. Aqua thrusters/aqua blasters and similar devices cause a dredge and uncontrolled fill of lake bottomlands which can have negative impacts on the public trust, riparian rights, and the environment. One of the problems with these devices is that due to wind and currents, the operator is unable to control where the muck and debris will be redeposited. There have been instances of the muck that was blasted off of one property drifting and redepositing onto neighboring properties, which makes these devices difficult to permit. Permit applicants should explore alternatives when considering aqua thruster/aqua blaster devices that allow for them and their neighbors to exercise their riparian rights responsibly while having a minimal impact on the lake environment.
ERIC CALABRO |
INLAND LAKE ANALYST, EGLE WATER RESOURCES DIVISION