MUCH better e-coli tests 6/23/16

We had MUCH better tests this time – clearly the scary-high readings last week were just the “Big Flush” after a heavy rain. And probably a good lesson in staying out of ANY smaller body of inland water after a heavy rain? I have no doubt this happens in every watershed after a heavy downpour, especially in an area with agriculture.

Remember, we’re hoping for numbers less than 300 CFUs

4th North – 100 CFUs
M-179 – 700 (I still suspect we’re getting runoff from a feedlot)
Timber Creek / Cuddy – 800 (continuation from M-179)
Timber Creek / Boot – 200
1st St (the point I test is combined Boot, Cuddy, and Tawsley drains) – 1000
Patterson Bridge – 400
Rich’s house on the Channel – 300 (yay!)

I suspect these numbers will continue to drop as the reconstruction begins upstream? But at this point, the Channel is safe again!  The good news:  there’s not a significant increase in the e-coli count in the Cuddy from M-179 to Timber Creek.  The Biosolids program is NOT impacting our watershed.


Rain Runoff Shows an E-coli Problem 6/16/16

Yesterday, we took around-the-lake water samples, and I knew there might be more e-coli than normal due to the heavy rains (my rain gauge showed 1.24″ in the previous 24 hours). The good news? The lake looks great – the public and private beaches are squeaky-clean.

The bad news:

IMG_6235“A” on the right, is the Allegan County Park – e-coli shows up as blue dots and they have zero.  “J” on the left was taken on the Cuddy near the Condo’s boat ramp.  Too many blue dots to count accurately, and by the final reading on Saturday, will probably be a blue blur.  This is NOT good – there’s clearly a runoff problem somewhere upstream.

Let’s give the Cuddy a few days to settle down; then I will take multiple upstream samples.  Let’s see if we can find where this is coming from, or if it was simply a giant flush of all the wild  animal waste that had accumulated along the riverbanks.  At any rate – do NOT swim or wade in the Cuddy this weekend.

Adding a note on Saturday 6/18/16:  As I check these films, I look for blue dots indicating e-coli, but I’m only supposed to count the ones that are alive and growing, as indicated by little gas bubbles next to the colony (I call them “Cootie Farts”).  You can see some of those in this picture.  I noticed for the final reading today,  that many of the blue dots don’t have bubbles.  I’m just guessing, but maybe that means that a lot of e-coli had flushed into the Cuddy after the heavy rain, but was already dying off due to sun exposure??  That would be a very good sign.

Day of Review, June 13th

This morning, I went to the Drain Commissioner’s office at the Hastings Courthouse to see what the Cuddy project assessment for our property on Valley Dr. will be. The Barry County assessments are broken into groups based on how much benefit they receive from this project (back to that goal of “Fair and Equitable”); and since our property has Cuddy Channel frontage, we pay the full assessment of approximately $7600.00 (broken down into 15-years payments of approximately $506.67, depending on the final financing costs). Within 10 days, we will all receive an invoice for the final amount due; and at that time, if one wishes to simply write a check for the whole enchilada, they may do so.

Tammy Berdecia, Deputy Drain Commissioner, has a sheet that breaks down the costs, to show how they arrived at the final numbers.  She also showed me the breakdown for the 3 “Benefit Zones”.  As I said prior, those with Cuddy Channel frontage will pay the full assessment.  The folks on the Island Dr Channel will pay 1/2 the assessment, or about $3800.00 (don’t forget that they will also be assessed for dredging their own channel on a separate assessment); and those on back lots, whose property simply drains into the Cuddy Watershed, will pay 1/4 the assessment (or about $1900.00)   I was in and out in about 5 minutes – Tammy, and Russ Yarger, Drain Commissioner,  have all the info compiled into an easy-to-read format.

Yes, it’s a solid whack to the wallet; but if I wanted to sell my property a few years from now, would it be worth $7600.00 more?  (I’m positive of that).  Soon featuring a beautiful navigable channel that’s safe for kids to play in and paddle around in?  (That makes it even better!)  No more stigma of being Gun Lake’s “cesspool”?  (Cha-ching!)  Having a neighborhood of folks who have rallied together and forged friendships?  (That’s priceless!)