Let’s say you own a beach house. You might want to pull out some plants or mow them or smooth out the sand to make it look nice.
At the moment, if you want to do any of these things, you need a permit from both the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Maggie Cox is with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. She says her department has to make sure everyone can walk on the beaches, and she says sensitive wetlands need to be protected.
"Your property line is down to the water’s edge – but the state also holds in trust for the public the land up to ordinary high water mark."
Last week, the Michigan Senate passed legislation that would eliminate the state permit for beach maintenance.
Several environmental groups are opposed to that. (You can check out this Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council brochure on beach grooming.)
The DEQ’s Maggie Cox says her agency will still have oversight of beach maintenance in wetland areas.
"In areas that are mostly sand or mostly rock, you no longer have to get a permit from the department. But in areas that are wet or coastal wetlands, made up mostly of bulrush or other vegetation, you’re going to have to still come to the department and the Army Corps for a permit."