Wixom Lake Association| Edenville, MI  48620 | wixomlakeassociation@gmail.com |

News Updates

September 21, 2019  -  Drawdown November 1st  -  October 31st last date to get your boats and hoists out of water on Wixom Lake.  See link below for more information

August 14,2019 WLA Meeting Minutes from July 2019

August 14, 2019  Four Lakes Task Force Flyer was passed out at the Wixom Lake Association Meeting  in August- Page 1

   FERC Denied Motion by Boyce Hydro

April 8, 2019   Boyce Trusts, Four Lakes Task Force Reach Agreement
All Four Dams to Be Repaired; Wixom Lake Water Level Expected to Be Restored in May

http://www.four-lakes-taskforce-mi.com/updates.html

June 20, 2019   FLTF Files for Preliminary Permit to Obtain a Hydroelectric Power License for Edenville Dam on Thursday, June 20, 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied a motion by Boyce Hydro to reconsider the revocation of the Edenville dam hydroelectric power license. The FERC summary states:

“FERC denies reconsideration and dismisses license transfer application H-2, Boyce Hydro Power, LLC, Project No. 10808-066. The order denies Boyce Hydro Power’s motion requesting that the Commission reconsider the revocation of the license for the Edenville Project, located in Gladwin and Midland counties, Michigan.” The order also dismisses as moot Boyce Hydro’s application to transfer the project license to Wolverine Hydro, LLC.

This action was expected and made it possible for Four Lakes Task Force (FLTF) to submit a preliminary permit to pursue the license. As a next step, with support and cooperation from Boyce, FLTF filed for a Preliminary Permit to obtain a hydroelectric power license for the Edenville Dam.

This activity is aligned with the planned path forward to manage lake levels under state regulations. The power assets and license are being funded independently of the Special Assessment District (SAD) (i.e. money from the SAD will not cover these costs). Acquiring the license does not change the tentative estimated assessment for lake properties. There is considerable work and time required to study the feasibility of returning hydroelectric power to the Edenville dam.

Continue to watch our website for additional information as it becomes available.

The Four Lake Level Study

April 30, 2019  The Four Lakes Lake Level Study was recently completed and has been provided to the Circuit Court to establish normal legal lake levels for Sanford Lake, Wixom Lake, Smallwood Lake and Secord Lake, and establish the Four Lakes Special Assessment District, in accordance with Part 307 of Public Act 451 of 1994. View the full report here: bit.ly/FLTF-lake-study

Four Lakes Task Fore Reached an Agreement

APRIL 24, 2019
Boyce Trusts, Four Lakes Task Force Reach Agreement
All Four Dams to Be Repaired; Wixom Lake Water Level Expected to Be Restored in May

http://www.four-lakes-taskforce-mi.com/updates.html

Purpose of Hearing May 3, 2019 at Midland County Court House

APRIL 9, 2019  Property owners are receiving notice that the Circuit Court hearing for Midland and Gladwin counties to enact Michigan legal lake levels for Wixom, Sanford, Secord and Smallwood lakes is scheduled for May 3, 2019 at 1:30 p.m.
 
The purpose of this hearing is consider sworn testimony related to two matters:

  • Presenting data to the court that particular properties do, or do not, belong in the proposed special assessment district

  • Presenting data that the proposed legal lake levels would adversely affect property owners around the lakes

 
Residents in favor of the path proposed by the Four Lakes Task Force are encouraged to send a letter of support via the Contact Us form or to the address below before April 19. Letters will be part of the written record submitted to the Circuit Court.

Four Lakes Task Force
233 E Larkin St., Ste. 2
Midland, MI 48640

 

April 9, 2019  Four Lakes Task Force Information

 

For decades, the communities around the four lakes have accepted the notion that it was best to allow a private company to own and operate the dams. This is no longer the case. The revenue created by generating electricity is simply not enough to pay for the investments needed to meet regulatory requirements and keep the lakes at a level to allow our communities to enjoy boating, fishing and swimming. 

​It is time to change the ownership structure of the dams so there is a public entity to act on lake issues with resources and overall accountability on behalf of all stakeholders.

The Four Lakes Task Force was formed to establish legal lake levels for the four lake systems for the benefit of all the lake communities. By working together, we can ensure all four lakes continue to be some of our region’s best natural, recreational and economic assets.
 
Upcoming Event:
Property owners are receiving notice that the Circuit Court hearing for Midland and Gladwin counties to enact Michigan Legal Lake Levels for Wixom, Sanford, Secord and Smallwood lakes is scheduled for May 3, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. at the Midland County Courthouse.
 
The purpose of this hearing is consider sworn testimony related to two matters:

  • Presenting data to the court that particular properties do, or do not, belong in the proposed special assessment district

  • Presenting data that the proposed legal lake levels would adversely affect property owners around the lakes

 
Residents in favor of the path proposed by the Four Lakes Task Force are encouraged to send a letter of support via the Contact Us form or to the address below before April 19. Letters will be part of the written record submitted to the Circuit Court.
Four Lakes Task Force
233 E Larkin St., Ste. 2
Midland, MI 48640

Four Lakes Task Force Reponded by Letter to FERC

April 3, 2019  The Four Lakes Task Force responded, by letter to FERC, to Boyce's March 15 Motion asking FERC to reconsider revoking the Edenville Licenseand proposing the subsequent transfer of the license to Wolverine Hydro, LLC.You can find it in our Document Library.The letter was authored by the Sanford Lake Preservation Association, which was renamed, "Four Lakes Task Force" last year. The Four Lakes Force consists of members fromallfour of the lake communities.Since the original filing to FERC was by SLPAand WLA in this matter, we used the former name, SLPA, to author the response letter.To be very clear: this is not Sanford speaking for Wixom. It is the Four Lakes Task Force speaking on behalf of all four lakes, as delegated by Midland and Gladwin County.In summary, the position of the FLTF regarding the Boyce motion is that it should bedenied, for three key reasons.1.FERC ended their jurisdiction and passed it to Michigan DEQ.FERC cannot use authority they no longer have to reinstate the license on the Edenville dam.2.The path proposed by Boyce was done without any public engagement or transparency.3.Boyce's plan is wholly unacceptable as it assumes Boyce would negotiatean agreement with Consumers, expect the community to help with repairs, and then domajor construction on the Dam requiring it to be down below normal lake levels for at least two years. Additionally, the license would be transferred to Wolverine, however Boyce would still own and operate the dams, and have a power purchase agreement.Our message is very clear: the path sketched out by Boyce, wrappedin a blanket of “public interest”, has skipped any dialogue with the public, and is all about Boyce’s interest not the public’s.We also have made it clear to Boyce, Consumers Energy and now FERC that the request to reinstate the license is a diversion that should not have occurred and will not stand.The Court Hearing to enact Michigan Legal Lake Levels for all four lakes is still scheduled for May 3rd, and we are still negotiating with Boyce on the acquisition of the dams (lake level assets).

Four Lakes Task Force Boyce Hydro / Wolverine Hydro Information

March 15.2019   As you may have heard, on March 15, 2019, Boyce filed a motion with FERC for “reconsideration” of the Commission’s Order Revoking Edenville’s hydroelectric power license, with the hope

that FERC would reinstate the license and then Boyce would then transfer the license to a small power company named Wolverine Hydro LLC. Boyce, however, would continue to own and operate the dams and hold the Consumers Power agreement.

At this time, there is simply not enough information for us to determine if this alternate path would benefit the community. The FLTF, with our legal counsel, is reviewing the motion and assessing the extent to which this may impact our path forward. We will provide further updates as soon as we arrive at any conclusions based on our legal review, and before we get to the Circuit Court Hearing. In the meantime, we will continue to pursue enactment of Michigan Part 307 Legal Lake Level Orders for Sanford, Wixom, Smallwood, & Secord Lakes.

It is important to know that Boyce and FLTF are still actively engaged in negotiations regarding the purchase of the dam assets that are needed to maintain proper lake levels across the four lakes.

Board Members for the Four Lakes Task Force

Jan 23, 2019   Board for the Four Lakes Task Force has been formally formed. The members of the Four Lakes Task Force Board are representatives from the lake associations or communities:
David Kepler & Adam Beebe - Sanford Lake
Don Zakett & Dave Rothman - Wixom Lake
Mark Mudge - Smallwood Lake
Carl Kerr - Secord Lake

The best way to contact Board members is through the website: http://www.four-lakes-taskforce-mi.com/contact.html.  Thank you to Dave, Adam, Don, Dave, Mark and Carl for your time and commitment to the Lakes, and those that enjoy them!

Update from Four Lakes Task Force

Jan 12, 2019  We continue to make progress on our plans to restructure the ownership and operation of all four dams. We have been busy over the last few weeks!

As required for the Part 307 lake level submission, we have created a plan that accounts for the needed repairs based on Fisher Construction estimates, engaged Spicer Group to help with the lake level study and boundaries of the special assessment district, continue to have constructive negotiations with Boyce Hydro on the future ownership and operation of the dams, engaged with Boyce and Consumers Energy on a new power purchase agreement, and reviewed the details of the special assessment district with county and township officials.

In addition, on December 28, Four Lakes Task Force sent a letter to FERC updating them on the progress we’ve been making to secure the long-term future of the dams. The letter was focused on providing FERC an update on our progress to date to make sure they understand we are addressing the long term viability of all four dams. They still have not made a final decision on a rehearing on their decision to revoke the license on the Edenville Dam Right now, we are getting ready to file for the lake level determination in Circuit Court, and are in discussions with MDEQ to understand their position on the dam safety requirements we need to follow.

As always, we’ll keep you updated on what we’re doing here and on our website: http://www.four-lakes-taskforce-mi.com.  Thanks for your questions, and your support!

A Note From Dave Kepler, Chairman of the Four Lakes Task Force

Dec 5, 2018:

 

FERC Issues Order Granting Rehearing of License Revocation Order

Nov. 5, 2018:  FERC issued an order granting the request to rehear the revocation order.  This means FERC will listen to any new evidence showing that Boyce's hydroelectric power license at Edenville should be reinstated. 

Link to order

FERC Denies Requests to Stay License Revocation Order

 

Oct. 19, 2018: In mid-September, Boyce Hydro Power LLC and the Four Lakes Task Force each requested a stay on FERC’s order revoking the Edenville Dam license to generate and sell power. The stays, if granted, would have put the revocation order on hold, at least temporarily, and Boyce could have returned to generating power under the terms of their license. On Oct. 18, FERC issued an order denying the requested stays. In a separate action, Boyce and Four Lakes Task Force filed letters in October requesting a rehearing of the revocation order, a separate administrative process from requests to stay the revocation order. We are waiting to see if FERC will approve or deny the rehearing and, if approved, when that rehearing would take place.

 

The denial of stay prevents an immediate return to power generation at Edenville.  The FERC license requirement that specifies the water level in Wixom Lake is still not in effect. The rehearing process could reinstate the FERC license. We need to wait and see.

 

In the meantime, the Four Lakes Task Force is working to achieve Lake Levels Orders for Sanford, Wixom, Smallwood and Secord Lakes. These lake level orders would control the level of water in the lakes in the absence of an active FERC license.  

Gladwin and Midland County Boards of Commissioners Approve 

Proceeding with Part 307 Lake Level Orders

 

Oct. 19, 2018: The Four Lakes Task Force has been working with the Gladwin and Midland County Boards of Commissioners since Spring, 2018 to get their approval for petitioning a Circuit Court(s) to issue Part 307 Lake Level Orders (LLO) for Sanford, Wixom, Smallwood and Secord lakes. Gladwin County Commissioners passed a resolution of approval on Oct. 9, 2018 and Midland County Board of Commissioners passed a similar resolution on Oct. 16, 2018. This allows our LLO process to move on to the next step, petitioning a Circuit Court(s) to issue LLOs.

 

Four Lakes Task Force is compiling the information package required for issuing a Part 307 LLO. We expect to have the package ready before the end of 2018. Gladwin and Midland County Attorneys will collaborate to petition the appropriate Court(s) for issuance of LLOs for all four above-named lakes. That process will include public hearings on the LLOs.

 

An LLO is a court order specifying the lake water level, the allowable variation around that level and allowed seasonal variations. We expect the LLO for each of the four lakes will be essentially identical to the lake level requirements that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has enforced on these lakes for the past 20-30 years. For those lakes that still have an active FERC license, the FERC license lake level requirements will take precedence over a Court-ordered LLO. In those cases, the LLO serves as a backup in case the FERC license is ever lost. For a lake that no longer has an active FERC license (the present situation on Wixom Lake), the LLO will govern the water level in the lake.

 

Passafe of these resolutions by the County Boards of Commissioners is a substantial step toward the Four Lake Task Force goals of achieving LLOs for all four lakes and, eventually, a change in ownership of the lakes.

 

We appreciate the support of the Wixom Lake community. Our membership numbers are growing and we are receiving donations of money in support of our efforts. Anyone wishing to join Wixom Lake Association may apply and pay membership dues directly through our website. Paper membership forms are also available. We also accept donations through our website. Payments may be made by credit card via Paypal. Donors do not need a Paypal account to use their credit cards.

WHAT’S UP WITH THE WATER LEVEL ON WIXOM LAKE?

 

Oct. 12, 2018:  As you know, Sanford, Wixom, Smallwood and Secord Lakes (the “Lakes”) were drawn down for FERC-mandated spillway inspections. FERC is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which licenses and regulates hydroelectric dams in the USA. The drawdowns ranged from roughly one foot at Secord Lake to nearly five feet at Wixom Lake. During the drawdown process, FERC finalized the revocation of the Edenville hydropower license, and inspected the spillway structures on Sanford, Smallwood and Secord dams. Now that the inspections are complete, we are expecting at least some of the lakes will refill to normal summer levels. The rainy October we are experiencing will help that refilling process.

 

As we watch the lakes refill, do not be surprised if Wixom Lake does not refill like the other three lakes. The water levels of Sanford, Smallwood and Secord Lakes are specified by the FERC licenses in effect on those lakes. The water level in Wixom Lake was specified in its FERC license, but that license was revoked September 25, 2018. There are appeals and rehearing requests in progress in an effort to reverse the revocation. However, there is no current Federal or State regulation specifying the water level in Wixom Lake. This means that, for now, the Wixom Lake water level will be controlled where the Edenville Dam owner chooses and the DEQ and DNR permit. The Wixom Lake water level may return to historic “normal” levels, but it is more likely to remain at the current lower level or be taken down even further until a State lake level order is issued. Unfortunately, a few Wixom Lake property owners didn’t get their boats and lifts out of the water before the drawdowns began. We hope they are able to get help from lake service companies or someone else to remove their equipment before winter.

 

Wixom Lake Association has representatives on the Four Lakes Task Force, which is working to enact Michigan Part 307 Lake Level Orders (LLO) for all the Lakes. That work began in February, 2018 when the Edenville Dam license was first threatened with revocation. If we are successful in getting an LLO for Wixom Lake, the order will specify a lake level very similar to the level specified in the FERC license and Wixom Lake will return to the levels we all want to see.

Hundreds of Michigan lakes are controlled by LLO’s and have been for decades. A Michigan Part 307 Lake Level Order is issued by a Michigan County Circuit Court following a lot of hard work to meet documentation requirements for issuing such an order. The work is underway by the Four Lakes Task Force, and requires engineers and attorneys, who both charge fees. They expect to bring the case to a Circuit Court late in 2018. If we are successful, there will be LLO’s for Sanford, Wixom, Smallwood and Secord Lakes before the spring runoff of 2019. In the meantime, we urge the Wixom Lake community to do two things:

 

  1.   Be patient and know people are working hard to preserve Wixom Lake.

  2. Join Wixom Lake Association and encourage everyone who cares about Wixom Lake to do the same.  Membership dues and donations help us fund the work that is ahead of us. If you wish, you may donate additional money to our effort. Wixom Lake Association is a 501(c) (3) corporation, so donations and membership dues may be deductible on your Federal income taxes. You may apply for membership here:

 

FERC Denies Requests to Stay License Revocation Order

Oct. 19, 2018: In mid-September, Boyce Hydro Power LLC and the Four Lakes Task Force each requested a stay on FERC’s order revoking the Edenville Dam license to generate and sell power. The stays, if granted, would have put the rvocation order on hold, at least temporarily, and Boyce could have returned to generating power under the terms of their license. On Oct. 18, FERC issued an order denying the requested stays. In a separate action, Boyce and Four Lakes Task Force filed letters in October requesting a rehearing of the revocation order, a separate administrative process from requests to stay the revocation order. We are waiting to see if FERC will approve or deny the rehearing and, if approved, when that rehearing would take place.

 

The denial of stay prevents an immediate return to power generation at Edenville.  The FERC license requirement that specifies the water level in Wixom Lake is still not in effect. The rehearing process could reinstate the FERC license. We need to wait and see.

 

In the meantime, the Four Lakes Task Force is working to achieve Lake Levels Orders for Sanford, Wixom, Smallwood and Secord Lakes. These lake level orders would control the level of water in the lakes in the absence of an active FERC license.