HLF grant helps combat swimmers itch

A Higgins Lake Foundation grant awarded to Gerrish Township for $23,000 was recently paid in full. This grant supported a limited action plan that took place this past spring to help combat swimmers itch in Higgins Lake.

The funding was awarded for specific activity, using the US Fish & Wildlife permit Gerrish Township obtained for the lethal taking of 25 female merganser ducks. In addition, nesting boxes were built and placed in known nesting areas throughout Gerrish Township.

Pictured are: Vicki Springstead, HLF Chair, Frank Homola, Gerrish Township Supervisor and Jim Lippert, Fire Department Chief.
Pictured are: Vicki Springstead, HLF Chair, Frank Homola, Gerrish Township Supervisor and Jim Lippert, Fire Department Chief.

The projected cost was estimated at $28,000. Gerrish Township earmarked $5,000 toward the project, which included the cost of materials and labor to construct multiple nesting boxes, boat fuel, and man-hours.

This effort was a first step toward the reduction of swimmers itch and should support and enhance future efforts that will continue in Higgins Lake.

It should be understood that the work of any program carried out in 2015 will not likely show significant impacts this summer. Any plan will take several years and likely require much more funding to make it viable in the future.