Many of you may recall that at our last CLA Annual Meeting a presentation was made by Jeff Wenzel, St. Joseph County Drain Commissioner and an Engineering firm, contracted by the Drain Commission, to look into our high spring lake levels. This presentation included details about the complex watershed flowing in and drainage components flowing out of Corey Lake. They shared a great deal of information, many questions were asked by members in attendance and questions were answered to the best of their abilities at that time. They affirmed we were experiencing an abnormally wet spring and their calculations confirmed we had more water flowing into Corey Lake than what was flowing out, thus our accumulating high water levels. They shared that the Outlet flowing into Kaiser Lake was basically stalled at that time as water levels had somewhat equalized in the lakes and wetland areas to the east. We also learned that the Corey Lake Intercounty Drain (aka: Peterson Drain), while still flowing water out of Corey Lake, was old and the status of its interior was relatively unknown. Much discussion was held about this particular issue as this Drain is basically Corey Lakes back up to the natural Outlet during high water periods. Commissioner Wenzel confirmed there was more work and legal details to sort out with this Drain as its associated and governing Drainage District had been created sometime in the 1800’s and its description only included 18 parcels with no inclusive watershed properties.
To ensure the Drain remained open, John Kroggel coordinated and worked to have the Drain jetted out which cleared some debris and helped the flow to improve. He also removed some floating debris at the drains entrance. Thank you again to John for that important work!
Through the summer months some additional Commission work was done, most importantly their legal counsel and contracted engineers affirmed the first thing that needed to formally happen with our Drain was to update its associated “Drainage District”. While a modern drainage district is recognized as having boundaries and includes all properties of “the watershed served by a particular Drain”, the current Corey Lake Intercounty Drainage District only includes properties having physical contact with the drain – that’s how it was done back in the 1800’s.
Jump forward to 12-10-18; Today an Intercounty Drainage Board Meeting was held/hosted at Fabius Township Hall where the Drain Board met to discuss and share an update about the Corey Lake Intercounty Drain. Details of the legal make up of the current Drains Drainage Assessment District were provided. Discussion was held and a motion approved to move forward to conduct a new Drainage District Study to bring things up to date and inline with current drainage district definitions. This process is expected to take until spring of 2019. Once the study is complete another public meeting, referred to as a “Day of Review”, will be noticed and held. Notices will be sent by U.S. Mail to all property owners who have been formally identified by the study as owning property “benefiting by the Corey Lake Intercounty Drain”. Collectively it will be all these identified properties that will make up the new Corey Lake Intercounty Drainage Assessment District going forward. We were also informed that the Day of Review meeting would basically include a Q&A session, study details, formal discussions/presentations regarding how watershed determinations were made, explanations of how costs within districts are allocated should they occur, etc. It was also reiterated that costs are only assessed upon districts should costs occur for a related drain issue, there are no ongoing cost assessments or annual fees.
The Board also indicated that actions taken to date were not seeking anything more than formally determining the actual benefitting watershed district and all its associated properties, no action is or was being taken regarding the physical drain or its related watershed system/s at this time.
Should anything new come along with regard to this we will do our best to pass it along accordingly.