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Author Topic: Underwater Logging in Michigan water, inland lakes and streams  (Read 10757 times)

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Offline Greg_MacMaster

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As a State Representative, I am looking to introduce legislation to promote underwater logging in Michigan. I have draft legislation ready to go to committee and would like to chat with anyone who has an interest in this type of business. Looking for testimony in written form, potential revenue and so on. Please e-mail me at gregmacmaster@yahoo.com  The Bill can be viewed here http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(vbbq1n55ftbr4b30o0wwjhbp))/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=2011-HB-4554&query=on.

Thanks,
Greg MacMaster

Offline Tom

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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan water, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2011, 06:50:22 PM »
Welcome to the Forestry Forum, Greg.
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Offline fishpharmer

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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan water, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2011, 06:56:56 PM »
Great to have you on FF!

Welcome Greg!
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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan water, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2011, 07:42:12 PM »
Welcome aboard Greg.

Offline timerover51

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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan water, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2011, 05:24:00 AM »
Welcome to the Forum, Greg, and I will be in contact with you.

Offline Ron Scott

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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan water, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2011, 12:16:07 PM »
Any underwater log salvagers are encouraged to contact Representative Greg MacMaster. He has a hearing on his proposed Bill to simplify Michigan's permitting system for log recovery at 10:00 am May 10th in Lansing, MI.
~Ron

Offline Greg_MacMaster

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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan waters, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2011, 01:51:51 PM »
The draft legislation is being referred to Timber and Mining sub-committee. Many presented their thoughts and consideration. I think we'll find common ground without making it too difficult to do business. If anyone was familiar with the past legislation or has reasons why they felt underwater logging wasn't successful in Michigan, please let me know.

Thanks
G

Offline Greg_MacMaster

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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan waters, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2011, 01:54:44 PM »
Also,

Are there businesses that can process underwater logs from start to finish without contracting services out of state? That was one of the questions asked in committee.

Thanks,
G

Offline Tom

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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan water, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2011, 03:02:45 PM »
Greg,
I'm not a Michigan resident, but your last question lights a fire under one of my strong beliefs.   Government has, whether with good intentions or not, throttled business, especially small business, and is killing the entrepreneurial spirit of the Citizens of the USA.  I'm not just talking of Federal Government, but all of our governments and our liberal use of bureaucratic governing/ruling.

Your question seeks for the answer, "Backoff!", in my opinion.  Give people the chance to breath.  Don't micro-manage their every movement from the conference tables of the State House.  Encourage people to start businesses.  Allow them to start businesses without the intimidation of a bureaucratic, heavy-handed government, whose sole purpose is to allow a business only for its tax revenues or to provide jobs for government bureaucratic offices.

The American citizen has been throttled so badly that most have forgotten how to live. 

Worrying about a business that can do the job without bringing in folks from out of State wouldn't be a concern if Government were to look at each of its citizens as a potential business.  You just have to let them do it.  Why would it have to be a single business that could process the logs?
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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan waters, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2011, 03:24:16 PM »
Also,

Are there businesses that can process underwater logs from start to finish without contracting services out of state? That was one of the questions asked in committee.

Thanks,
G

I agree with Tom's statement completely, but to answer your question with an answer you were probably looking for, yes, certainly there are. Any business that can cut a tree out of the woods and then take it to final form can take a log stored under water and do the same thing. Think of the the underwater logs in processing terms no differently other than they may be of greater quality, and that they have been in long term storage, just that storage has been under water.
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Offline LOGDOG

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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan water, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2011, 04:27:35 PM »
Also,

Are there businesses that can process underwater logs from start to finish without contracting services out of state? That was one of the questions asked in committee.

Thanks,
G

I don't think Greg was necessarily referring to a single business being able to process the logs from start to finish. It could be a "group" of business, all of which are in MI. Easily done in either case.

Greg, one thing that I would recommend is having a single point of contact, with a single agency for the permitting process and perhaps even the auditing process if you choose to implement one. If you want people to do something or use something, it's more likely they will if you make it user friendly. Having to contact this agency, and this agency, and then this agency .... well before long the individual pursuing it starts to feel like they're getting the run around. Whatever agency is put in charge, all staff needs to be made aware in staff meetings that if someone calls regarding Underwater Logging they need to refer them to this person in this dept etc. For that matter you could make it a searchable item on Google. The individuals handling it need to know that this is something MI wants to happen for the sake of the revenue and business it stands to generate.

I have heard the ads from MI promoting their pro-business mindset. Hopefully they can demonstrate that with Underwater Logging.

Are you considering a "grid" type permitting process whereby an individual would apply for a permit in a specific block vs. a blanket permit that would serve as a free for all and make it difficult to supervise the logging activity? I'd recommend the "grid" approach using coordinates.

Offline LOGDOG

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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan water, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2011, 04:55:26 PM »
Greg,

   I'd also recommend that if you use the "grid" system for permitting that you require the permit to be renewed every year or 2 years. Make the fee for the permit substantial but not ridiculous. This will create revenue for the State of MI via the permit itself. It also prompts the person obtaining the permit to get the wood out which is what you want to trigger any stumpage you may charge on the wood, plus put people to work, move the product down the line, trigger sales tax, etc, etc. It also eliminates someone from coming in and getting these blanket permits and then just sitting on them as though they have all the time in the world, leaving the wood on the bottom of the lake. Meanwhile other operators would love to be producing the same wood. I think if you looked into the scenario in Lake Superior on the WI side you may find a scenario just like that.

If a person is willing to pay a substantial fee for the permit then that shows a semi-serious intent to produce the logs. Trust me, the permitting fee will be the least of their expenses. It can be a very expensive process when done on any substantial scale.

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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan water, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2011, 05:28:29 PM »
There are opportunities that come up where none of the provisions in the bill would make much difference. I can think of a specific case from the fall of 2007.

A pretty big blow on northern lake Huron in November of 2007 brought what looked to me like what amounted to at least a truck load of logs into a shallow bay I frequent along 134 east of Cedarville.

Burlkraft and I walked around looking at some of them when I discovered them out there. That bay has a hard bottom, rock like and these logs could have easily all been recovered with something like a logrite arch with zero impact to the local environment, but there was no legal way to go in and salvage those logs without a lot of red tape and a lengthy and expensive process. Those logs were there a little over two weeks, then another storm took them all back out of the bay to who knows where.  This is the kind of case where the bill absolutely would fail to consider or provide for, yet a perfect opportunity to reclaim a resource that was dumped basically like manna from heaven without harm or foul. A friend and diver local to the area told me that the logs came into the bay from the storm from just around the corner of the bay. He says there, that the bottom of the lake is absolutely covered.



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Offline LOGDOG

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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan water, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2011, 06:45:44 PM »
I think once Greg gets this ironed out it's time I take you fishing Jeff.  :)

Offline Greg_MacMaster

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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan water, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2011, 01:52:51 PM »
Also,

Are there businesses that can process underwater logs from start to finish without contracting services out of state? That was one of the questions asked in committee.

Thanks,
G

I don't think Greg was necessarily referring to a single business being able to process the logs from start to finish. It could be a "group" of business, all of which are in MI. Easily done in either case.

Greg, one thing that I would recommend is having a single point of contact, with a single agency for the permitting process and perhaps even the auditing process if you choose to implement one. If you want people to do something or use something, it's more likely they will if you make it user friendly. Having to contact this agency, and this agency, and then this agency .... well before long the individual pursuing it starts to feel like they're getting the run around. Whatever agency is put in charge, all staff needs to be made aware in staff meetings that if someone calls regarding Underwater Logging they need to refer them to this person in this dept etc. For that matter you could make it a searchable item on Google. The individuals handling it need to know that this is something MI wants to happen for the sake of the revenue and business it stands to generate.

I have heard the ads from MI promoting their pro-business mindset. Hopefully they can demonstrate that with Underwater Logging.

Are you considering a "grid" type permitting process whereby an individual would apply for a permit in a specific block vs. a blanket permit that would serve as a free for all and make it difficult to supervise the logging activity? I'd recommend the "grid" approach using coordinates.

The bill is looking to open the opportunity of underwater logging state-wide. Anyone who wishes to work in a specified area will have to file for a permit and that's where I hope to simplify the process. Less regulation, lessen the timeframe to perform the operation and a host of other encumberances that have slowed this type of activity.

Offline Greg_MacMaster

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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan water, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2011, 01:56:37 PM »
Greg,
I'm not a Michigan resident, but your last question lights a fire under one of my strong beliefs.   Government has, whether with good intentions or not, throttled business, especially small business, and is killing the entrepreneurial spirit of the Citizens of the USA.  I'm not just talking of Federal Government, but all of our governments and our liberal use of bureaucratic governing/ruling.

Your question seeks for the answer, "Backoff!", in my opinion.  Give people the chance to breath.  Don't micro-manage their every movement from the conference tables of the State House.  Encourage people to start businesses.  Allow them to start businesses without the intimidation of a bureaucratic, heavy-handed government, whose sole purpose is to allow a business only for its tax revenues or to provide jobs for government bureaucratic offices.

The American citizen has been throttled so badly that most have forgotten how to live. 

Hi Tom,

I know of businesses out of state that perform the operation from start to finish (watching it on TV), but when the question was posed to me in committee, I put my lumber hat on and said that we have the equipment to process logs cut from land and process them for finished products - therefore we have all the necessary equipment to do the same for underwater logs. I apologize if my question was taken differently. I was looking for details, specifics so I can contact them for additional information.

G
Worrying about a business that can do the job without bringing in folks from out of State wouldn't be a concern if Government were to look at each of its citizens as a potential business.  You just have to let them do it.  Why would it have to be a single business that could process the logs?

Offline Greg_MacMaster

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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan water, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2011, 03:04:51 PM »
Also,

Are there businesses that can process underwater logs from start to finish without contracting services out of state? That was one of the questions asked in committee.

Thanks,
G

I don't think Greg was necessarily referring to a single business being able to process the logs from start to finish. It could be a "group" of business, all of which are in MI. Easily done in either case.

Greg, one thing that I would recommend is having a single point of contact, with a single agency for the permitting process and perhaps even the auditing process if you choose to implement one. If you want people to do something or use something, it's more likely they will if you make it user friendly. Having to contact this agency, and this agency, and then this agency .... well before long the individual pursuing it starts to feel like they're getting the run around. Whatever agency is put in charge, all staff needs to be made aware in staff meetings that if someone calls regarding Underwater Logging they need to refer them to this person in this dept etc. For that matter you could make it a searchable item on Google. The individuals handling it need to know that this is something MI wants to happen for the sake of the revenue and business it stands to generate.

I have heard the ads from MI promoting their pro-business mindset. Hopefully they can demonstrate that with Underwater Logging.

Are you considering a "grid" type permitting process whereby an individual would apply for a permit in a specific block vs. a blanket permit that would serve as a free for all and make it difficult to supervise the logging activity? I'd recommend the "grid" approach using coordinates.

The grid system looks to be the favorable option as of now.
G

Offline Tom

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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan water, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2011, 03:12:00 PM »
Quote
I apologize if my question was taken differently. I was looking for details, specifics so I can contact them for additional information.

Greg,
I know that I didn't address your question with a short, to-the-point answer, and elaborated more than most people would want me to do, but it was for a reason.  There is seldom the opportunity to express those opinions that I expressed, to plant a seed in the mind of someone who can make a difference.   I take every opportunity.  Perhaps that is why so many run for the hills when they see me coming and feel they need to excuse my outburst.  :)
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Offline Warren

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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan water, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2011, 06:44:48 PM »
I live in KY.  But I have to give props to Mr. MacMaster for at least making an effort to seek input from the people affected by his legislation.

Warren
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Offline SPIKER

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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan water, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2011, 08:59:40 PM »
Not having done any underwater logging I might add that there are areas that can be looked at that I've been watching & learning about how things are done in other areas.

Just personal observations that could help out I not create so much red tape & difficult if not near impossible to enforce.

types of logs, some states it is legal to harvest sunken logs (call it recovery) of previously cut logs that sunk say a hundred years ago when they were logging & sending the logs down river & they sunk & were lost.   The logs have to have been ax cut or square cut with aged ends to prove the log was cut  long time ago by man.   To attempt to police the underwater logger it takes a lot of manpower which is not good for the state or the loggers.   It also leaves a lot of valuable wind blown & flood washed out logs to rot & become navigation hazards.

I would also consider the shoreline & shallow rivers as more of an open permit (less expensive non-commercial) areas where a landowner might be able to pull in logs from/in shallow water (say 5 feet or less) without expensive boats barges & scuba gear   These areas are also more danger to boat navigation & people when swimming/fishing water sports ect.  Removing the valuable lumber & making the waterways safer would be additional benefits. 

 Processing a certain number of sunken logs takes some time and work so a homeowner or small scale one man operation cant handle as many logs so a lower cost permit/cost to buy a permit get 25 tags that the logs need to be TAGGED to be legal.   
   Record keeping should/could fall to the permit holder without requiring inspectors for most part.  Picture of a log with measurements uploaded on-line tracking a log with initial dimensional size could be reported on-line log #1 32' x 40" x32" simple BF calculators like the forestry forum calculator will tell you about how many board feet can be had then & the state can check up on to see how each permit holder is doing if they have not used their permits for the year they loose them (maybe 2 years prior to expire?)   With the state knowing about how much "reclaimed" lumber a permit holder might have they can do spot inspections to see how much lumber has been recovered if the logger has a bunch more BF than they should then they are taking & not tagging how they should.   Charging a small BF fee (say 30cent/BF) per log to be mailed in to the state in a quarterly basis just like regular business taxes.   A additional way might be a state board that a logger/sawmill can sell through for salvaged underwater logs?.

Now for commercial type reclamation in large scale costs for permits would go up and a BF per log cost adder as well to the state to pull in additional funds.   With the larger scale the more lumber comes out there are more watching that needs to be done so a local check in point with forester supervision on a call in basis would work. 

also a blurb about fines for illegal salvaging could be added to fishing & hunting license and added to those already printed pamphlets so costs would be negligible for that. 

Costs for BF would need to be based on some test harvest to know quality of lumber, costs to the logger to remove lumber and saw & dry the lumber then get a average price per BF that the lumber brings on the open market.   Knowing the amount of work & time this process takes there needs to be at least 75% profit after all the fees to cover the work the logger would need to jump through so it is worth the effort.

I fully agree with others that there is no need to force so many regulations & steps/hassles that no one will go through the effort...

the point is to get $ for the state removing good lumber & creating a market place for state certified reclaimed lumber it would take some IT help to get a board up & running but I know a good programer right here that could probably help "waving at Jeff"   :D

Mark
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Offline Greg_MacMaster

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UPDATE! Underwater Logging in Michigan waters, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2011, 02:36:09 PM »

The bill passed the Michigan House of Representatives with 109 yes votes and 1 no vote. Now it's on to the Senate.

http://session.mihouse.mi.gov/Session.Net/BillInfo.aspx?LegID=21581



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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan water, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2011, 02:40:06 PM »
Wow, that's great news. Congratulations on your efforts. When will the Senate vote on it?

That link doesn't work for me.....

Offline Greg_MacMaster

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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan water, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2011, 03:05:24 PM »
Not sure when, I have to call the Senate Committee Chair to see when they'll take it up.
I'll let you know here...

btw, when this is active and law, how soon will logging commence in Michigan?

Offline Greg_MacMaster

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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan waters, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2011, 03:21:52 PM »
SUBMERGED LOG RECOVERY BILL ANALYSIS

House Bill: 4554 (Substitute H-3)

Sponsor:  Rep. Greg MacMaster

Committee:  Natural Resources, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation

First Analysis: 6-22-11

BRIEF SUMMARY: House Bill 4554 (H-3) would amend Part 326 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA) to allow for new permits to be issued by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for the harvesting of submerged logs from the Great Lakes bottomlands.  It would establish new guidelines for permits, establish new application fees, and put in place a new mechanism for the state to collect revenue from recovered submerged logs.

FISCAL IMPACT: House Bill 4554 would have an indeterminate fiscal impact on the Department of Environmental Quality.  While the bill may increase revenues to the Department by extending the authorization to issue permits, the provisions of the bill make several changes that may affect the revenues that the Department would receive from the program.  (For additional information, see Fiscal Information, later in the analysis.)

THE APPARENT PROBLEM:

According to the DEQ, the Great Lakes Submerged Logs Recovery Program "provides for the legal and controlled recovery of abandoned old growth logs that were not captured and processed during Michigan's logging era."  Part 326 of NREPA regulates the harvesting of submerged lakes from the bottomlands of the Great Lakes.  These logs are considered the property of the state, and Part 326 ensures the state receives proper compensation for the logs.  Under current law, the DEQ cannot issue a submerged log removal permit after December 31, 2003, and all submerged log permits expire on January 1, 2013.  Few permits have been issued under this program, even fewer are currently active, and no submerged logs have been recovered to date.  This bill would allow the current program to continue by allowing for new permits to be issued.  It would also make changes to the reimbursement structure by requiring submerged loggers to pay a percentage of the sale price of the log for each submerged log that is recovered. 

THE CONTENT OF THE BILL:

This bill would make several changes to NREPA by:

o                   Amending Section 1301 to add a new permit for "submerged log removal from Great Lakes bottomland," as detailed in Section. 32603.  It also adds a new processing period for these permits by establishing a 90-day period after the close of the review or comment period under Section 32604, or if a public hearing is held, 90 days after the date of the public hearing for a permit issued under Section 32603.

o                   Amending Section 30102 to specify that a person cannot remove submerged logs from rivers or streams for the purpose of submerged log recovery without having first received a permit.  However, it does not prohibit the department from issuing a permit for other purposes, including removing logjams or removing logs that interfere with navigation.

o                   Amending Section 30104 to establish a $500 application fee for a submerged log removal permit. 

o                   Amending Section 32603 to read " a person shall not remove submerged logs from bottomlands except as authorized by a permit issued by the department pursuant to Part 13."  Currently, the department has the authority to place conditions on permits to prevent damage to abandoned watercraft or other features of archaeological, historical, recreational, or environmental significance.  This bill would change that to allow the department to place 'reasonable' conditions on permits.

o                   Amending Section 32604 to require submerged log removal permit applications to be submitted to the department before February 1 of each calendar year.  It also deletes a provision restricting the department from issuing any new permits after December 31, 2002. 

o                   Amending Section 32606 to require the department to condition a submerged log removal permit on compliance with the permittee having provided the department with a $3,000 log recovery fee and a bond as required under Section 32607.  It also requires the department to notify the applicant in writing within 10 days of the date the department approves or denies a submerged log removal permit.  Additionally, the department would be required to forward all log recovery fees to the State Treasurer for deposit into the Great Lakes Fund, contained in Section 32611.

o                   Amending Section 32607 to change the expiration date to 5 years after the date the permit is issued.  (Currently, all permits are set to expire on January 1, 2013).  However, if a permit was issued prior to the effective date of this bill, the permit would expire 5 years after this bill goes into effect.  Also included in this section, applicants currently have to provide a performance bond worth $100,000.  This bill would change that provision to require a bond of at least $10,000 but not more than $100,000, and base the amount on the permit conditions, including costs of restoration.  It also states the term of the bond must extend for 1 year following the permit's expiration.

"Bond" is defined as a performance bond from a surety company authorized to transact business in Michigan or an irrevocable letter of credit, in favor of the department.

o                   Amending Section 32609 to change the structure through which the state receives compensation for recovered submerged logs.  Currently, permit holders are required to pay the state 2 times the sawlog stumpage value[1] for each log that is recovered.  This bill would change the reimbursement model to require each permit holder to pay the state 15% of the sawlog stumpage value of each submerged log that is recovered.  It also changes the definition of sawlog stumpage value to mean the price at which the submerged logs are sold for. 

o                   Deleting a provision requiring the department to conduct a study to determine the fair market value of submerged logs as a potential basis for determining the payment to the state.  This study was to have been conducted no later than December 31, 2001.

MCL 324.1301, et al.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Many other states and Canada allow for the recovery of submerged logs within their waters.  However, there is no uniform standard for how governments collect revenue from these operations.  For example, Maine has a $100 application fee and requires the applicant to provide compensation for the logs in an amount not less than 20% of the market value of the logs after they are salvaged and ready for sale.[2]  Wisconsin, seen as an industry leader, requires a $500 application fee, a bond of at least $10,000, and reserves for itself 30% of the stumpage value.[3] The Georgia House of Representatives recently defeated SB 218, which would have allowed for the sale of sunken "deadhead" logs to interested parties who would then be responsible for the recovery and removal and removal of the logs.[4] The Canadian government considers the removal/alteration of bottomlands harmful to fish habitat and all submerged log removal activities must comply with subsection 35(1) of the Fisheries Act.

The market for old growth wood. The market for the wood from submerged old growth logs has grown increasingly large.  Recovered wood is used by custom furniture makers, artists, contractors, architects, and the makers of high end musical instruments.  It has been reported that Johnny Cash used a custom made guitar crafted from recovered wood.  Committee testimony has placed the value of submerged logs as high as $30,000-$40,000, depending on the size of the log and the species of the wood.

Permits under Part 301.  The removal of submerged logs from inland lakes and streams is currently allowed with a dredging permit issued under Part 301.  A Part 301 permit must be obtained before, among other things, "dredging or filling bottomland."  Since submerged logs are often embedded within the bottomlands, a permit under this section would allow for their removal.  Currently, there is no mechanism for the DEQ to track which permits were issued to exclusively remove submerged logs, or to track the number of logs that have been removed.  A dredging permit under this part, depending on the size of the project, would cost $50 for a minor project[5] or $500 for a dredging project of 10,000 cubic yards or more. The application process for a dredging permit, including information on public hearings, is included in MCL 324.30105.

FISCAL INFORMATION:

House Bill 4554 would have an indeterminate fiscal impact on the Department of Environmental Quality.  While the bill may increase revenues to the Department by extending the authorization to issue permits, the provisions of the bill make several changes that may affect the revenues that the Department would receive from the program. 

One important change is that the submerged log removal application fee is reduced to $500 from the current cost of $3,500.  The bill also provides that once a permit has been issued, it is conditioned upon the payment of a new $3,000 Log Recovery Fee which must be deposited into the Great Lakes Fund.  In addition, a new application fee of $500 is created for log removal from bottomlands of an inland lake.

Under current law, for each submerged log recovered, the State receives 2.0 times the sawlog stumpage value.  Under the bill's provisions, the State would receive 15% of the sawlog stumpage value - which is redefined as the market price received from selling the logs.  All payments received from the stumpage value are required to be deposited into the Submerged Log Recovery Fund.  As of May of 2011, although state permits have been issued, no logs have been recovered under these permits yet and, thus, no revenue has been deposited into the Fund.  When the Fund does receive revenue, the balance of the Fund each year is statutorily required to be transferred as follows:  50% to the Great Lakes Fund and 50% to the Forest Development Fund. 

ARGUMENTS:

For:

Supporters believe this legislation will help create jobs.  Currently, other states are reaping the financial benefits of submerged log recovery.  Estimates have placed the number of logs in the Great Lakes in the millions.  By reducing the application fee and making it easier for operations to start, it seems inevitable there will be a positive impact on Michigan's economy.

Submerged log recovery is already allowed under state law and this is simply an extension of an existing program.  For a variety of reasons, very few permits have been issued and utilized under the current law.[6]  This will eliminate deadlines to allow new permits to be issued, as well as, extend the expiration date beyond the current date of 2013.

Reclaiming submerged logs that have already been cut from forests will help reduce the number of trees that need to be harvested now.  Each previously cut old growth log salvaged from the Great Lakes is one less log that needs to be cut from a present forest.

Against:

There were concerns raised during committee testimony about what constituted "reasonable" conditions.  It is possible there could be conflicts involving the interpretation of the conditions the department places on permits.  Some fear this gives the department wide latitude and could result in burdensome guidelines being attached to submerged log recovery permits.

Concerns were also raised about the potential environmental impact submerged log recovery could have.  Since many submerged logs are resting on or under the Great Lakes bottomland it is possible silt and debris could be stirred up during a log recovery operation.  This presents an issue in areas that may contain contamination.  There are also concerns that removing submerged logs could disrupt fish ecosystems that have sprung up around the logs, especially in shallow areas.

POSITIONS:

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality supports the bill. (6-14-11)

The Burt Lake Preservation Association is neutral on the bill. (6-22-11)

The Torch Lake Protection Alliance is neutral on the bill. (6-22-11)

The Michigan Environmental Council opposes the bill. (5-10-11)

Michigan Trout Unlimited opposes the bill. (5-10-11)

                                                                                           Legislative Analyst:   Jeff Stoutenburg         

                                                                                                  Fiscal Analyst:   Viola Bay Wild


Offline beenthere

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Re: Underwater Logging in Michigan water, inland lakes and streams
« Reply #24 on: June 23, 2011, 04:07:18 PM »
Now there is a headache in the making.

A few editing errors as well, that a lawyer could have fun with.

Reference made to "submerged lakes from the bottomlands of the Great Lakes" is interesting.

Speaks of "submerged loggers to pay......    Maybe they only have to "pay" when they are submerged?

And the value of submerged logs.
Not much value if they are submerged, seems to me. When talking "recovered logs" having some value, that is different....seems to me.

But this was just a cursory glance at the bill. It seems full of misleading language and terminology. But maybe that is normal.  Should be simple, straight-forward language that doesn't leave the reader wondering what the real intent of the bill is about.
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others


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