Lt. Gov. Brian Calley traveled from Lansing Friday to visit the Lake St. Clair waterfront and hear first-hand from State Rep. Anthony Forlini and local marina owners about their concerns about issues affecting the waterway.
Low water levels, environmental issues and taxes were among the issues that were discussed as Calley and the local representatives toured Belle Maer Harbor.
"There is no substitute for seeing first hand the issues the representative has been talking about back in Lansing," said Calley, as he stood among the shrink wrapped boats in the marina. "He has been such a fierce advocate for finding solutions and demanding accountability, and action, in these areas."
Since his election to the state house, Forlini has brought the issues regarding Lake St. Clair to the attention of leaders in Lansing.
He has brought House Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas on an hour-long boat tour of the lake and the Clinton River, worked with the Department of Environmental Quality to investigate lake muck along the shoreline and conduct extensive tests on water along the beaches that determined the bacteria in the water had high levels of human DNA.
"There are no easy answers to these sort of things," Calley added. "Everything from man-made impacts, to mother nature, has played a role in the type of results we are seeing today. We really need all hands on deck to provide innovative solutions."
According to the Army Corps of Engineers, Lake St. Clair water levels are 19 inches lower than their levels last year. In the next monthly, water levels are expected to drop an additional two inches.
"Right now the water levels are ungodly low. We've got people who can't get out (of canals)," said Eric Foster, general partner at Belle Maer, who also lives on a canal in Harrison Township.
He is concerned not only about the business implications, but how will the local and state officials handle the possible large number of dredging applications that will be filed if the water levels to be low.
Foster, along with Pete Beauregard of Colony Marine, Steve Remias of MacRay Harbor, also shared their concern about the competitive imbalance Michigan boat retailers face from neighboring states and the collaborative efforts between Macomb County and marinas to promote Lake St. Clair.
"It is a very unique lake," said Foster, about the fishing, boating and recreation opportunities the lake offers. "We are real lucky."