top of page

Wixom Lake Improvement Board

Joe Sova, Chair

Midland County Drain Commissioner 

Terry Walters, Treasurer

Gladwin County Drain Commissioner

Ray Drumwright, Secretary

Edenville Township 

 

Jeanette Snyder

Midland County Board of Commissioners

Edenville Township Deputy Treasurer

Larry Woodard

Wixom Lake Riparian Representative

Wixom Lake Association

Carol Ayers

Billings Township

Don Zackett

Tobacco Township 

4 Lakes Task Force 

Tami O'Donnell

Gladwin County Board of Commissioners

Robert Kelly

Hope Township

Wixom Lake Bottomlands Management Program Budget

2024-2028

Improvement                                                            Annual Cost

Vegetation Management

Consulting Services, Surveys, and Oversight

Administration and Contingency

$190,000

$34,000

$22,400

Total

$246,400

Meetings

Meetings are held in person at the Billings Township Hall, 1050 Estey Rd, Beaverton, MI 48612. Meetings start at 6 pm.

2024 Meeting Dates:

April 16, 2024

May 22, 2024

June 27, 2024

Herbicide application helicopter

The Wixom Lake Board was formed in January 2001 after resolutions requesting its formation were passed by Billings Township in Gladwin County and by Hope and Edenville Townships in Midland County. The portion of Tobacco Township east of M-30 joined the board in the fall of 2001. The improvement board was established in accordance with Part 309 (Inland Lake Improvements) of Michigan's Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act.

The board retained Progressive Companies to develop a lake management plan. After analysis of water samples and weed surveys, it became apparent that Wixom Lake and its bottom sediments are rich in nutrients and with the clear water resulting from the filtering of zebra mussels, the lake is prime habitat for aquatic plants. The recommended plan included the following:

  • An aquatic plant control program consisting primarily of herbicide treatments to selectively control Eurasian milfoil and limited mechanical harvesting of nuisance levels of native aquatic plants.

  • A public education program which would focus on the annual dissemination of information to lake residents regarding proper lakeside landscaping, septic system maintenance, wetland protection, and ongoing lake management activities. 

The three-year plan had an annual budget of $214,000 and was financed by special assessments to lakefront land owners. The approximate cost per lot for a lakefront owner was $124 per year.

The aquatic plant control and education program ran successfully for many years until May of 2020 when a catastrophic failure of the Edenville dam resulted in the loss of the lake for several years.

 

Subsequent to the dam failure in 2020, the recently formed Four Lakes Task Force (FLTF) gained jurisdiction over the dam reconstruction and bottomlands and was charged with reconstruction efforts for not only the Edenville dam but all four of the dams within the Tittabawassee River system (Secord dam, Smallwood dam, Edenville dam,  and Sanford dam).

 

In the summer of 2020, the fertile moist bottomlands became ideal substrate for the subsequent germination of cottonwood and willow seeds. Rapid colonization of the bottomlands occurred over the 2020 growing season and has expanded since that time with many other woody and some herbaceous species.

church camp 1_edited.png

Pre-treatment view of Wixom Lake

The Wixom Lake Improvement Board with coordination from their environmental consultant, Progressive Companies, and the FLTF developed a plan to address the fast growing, terrestrial plant species. The project involves the use of select herbicides and mowing to clear out the bottomlands of woody growth prior to the lakes estimated refill in 2026. If unaddressed, these woody species have the potential to impose navigational hazards on the lake once refilled. In 2022, the Wixom Lake Improvement Board approved a plan to identify select areas of the bottomlands using drone and fixed wing aerial reconnaissance, that represented various growth stages and sediment fertility/moisture regimes. The treatments required acquisition of both National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Aquatic Nuisance Control (ANC) permits. The permits were secured in July of 2022 which allowed for a narrow time window to conduct the treatments in September of 2022. A summary of the 2022 trial plot treatments can be found here.

In 2023, lessons learned from the trial plot treatment were applied to nearly 700 acres of Wixom Lake’s bottomlands using a combination of Vastlan (triclopyr) donated by Corteva and imazapyr based on research using this approach in a mixed hardwood woodland trial in Georgia. These treatments were conducted in June via helicopter by Hamilton Helicopters and in September via amphibious and all terrain vehicles and backpack sprayers by PLM Lake & Land Management. In addition mowing of treated areas in 2023 was conducted by Kappen Tree Services and the Wixom Lake Association (Utilizing KNL & Shoreline Brush Hog Services). The WLA mowed areas utilized donated funds while the Kappen Tree Service areas utilized Wixom Lake Improvement Board funds. A summary of the 2023 program can be found here.

bottom of page