Lake & River Restoration - November Update

Lake & River Restoration - November Update

This past August, voters in the Village of Lake Isabella overwhelmingly approved a dedicated millage to fund lake and river bottom restoration effort. The first funds from that millage will not be collected unit the Village’s 2024 summer tax bill, but community leaders are actively working on the first phases of the project.

Under the direction of the community’s Joint Lake Restoration Committee, the first permit application was applied for in early October. The application submitted to the State of Michigan seeks approval to dredge several thousand cubic yards of material from Birch Bay. Birch Bay is located on Queens Way across from the Lake Isabella Property Owner’s Association office and is adjacent to Isabella County’s Gilmore Park.

Members of the Joint Lake Restoration Committee, a combination of Village, community, and Property Owner Association members, are looking to host an informal meet and greet event in early December with firms interested in working on the upcoming project. Letters are being sent to over a dozen local companies that could eventually perform work on the project inviting them to this informational meeting.

A critical factor in the plans being pursued by Lake Isabella officials is to dredge the lake bottom during the winter drawdown. The community’s current drawdown permit from the State of Michigan allows for up to six feet of winter drawdown. Lake Isabella’s dam, initially designed in the 1960s, has two gates, which can lower the lake level by as much as ten feet.

Doing the bulk of the work during the winter drawdown is hoped to lower project costs by making the project accessible to conventional earth-moving firms, not just firms specializing in dredging. Interested firms are asked to visit the “Lake & River Restoration” page, which can be found under the “Your Community” dropdown menu on the Village’s website. There is an online form interested vendors can complete to be added to the project’s list of potential bidders.

The first opportunity to bid will be once the community receives an approved permit for Birch Bay. That work could potentially begin in early 2024. The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled for 4 pm on Wednesday, November 29th.