According to recent article published by MLIVE the water levels in the Great Lakes have dropped about one foot from last year. However one of the reasons for this drop is the lack of precipitation. According to the US Drought Monitor the entire lower peninsula of Michigan is in a moderate drought. Thus with the good—we have a beach this year—comes the bad—fire danger and dusty roads. Please drive slowly on our roads. Please be very careful if you choose to build a fire in the fire pit at your cottage.
Summer is almost here and with summer in Cobmoosa, one’s thoughts turn to The Beach. For those that have not been in Cobmoosa recently, the lake levels have receded, and we do have a beach. With that in mind, it is important for members to remember that the Cobmoosa Beach is for the common use of all members of the Cobmoosa Shores Association, their families, and their guests (Protective Covenants, Section 9c; see also Article Two of the By-Laws).
It is also important to realize that The Beach is a private park owned by the membership of the Association (CSA). As platted, the beach stretches from the northernmost and southernmost lot boundaries and extends to the lakeshore from the westernmost platted property lines to the mean high-water mark of Lake Michigan. Therefore, The Beach includes not only the flat sandy beach but also the grassy dune between the westernmost property lines of lakeside property owners and the sandy beach (Protective Covenants, Section 9a).
In addition, the CSA also owns the two lots known as the “North Access” and “South Access”, as well as the lot across from the North Access ordinarily referred to as the “Cobmoosa Park”.
Each of these Common Areas—the Beach Area, the North Access, the South Access, and The Park—are meant for the enjoyment of all members and their guests. Enjoying these Common Areas requires that members and their guests have consideration and respect for each other.
To that end the CSA Board recently (April 10, 2021, board meeting) adopted a Pack It In, Pack It Out policy which states that all personal items are to be removed when you leave the beach at the end of the day.
This policy has been incorporated into the board’s longstanding statement, Sharing Our Beach. You may read the full statement by clicking here.
You are encouraged to review it.
Practice “Dune Diligence”
Protect Marram Grass, aka Beach Grass
(Ammophila breviligulata Fernald)
Within Cobmoosa Shores we are fortunate to have beach and sand dune areas available for us to enjoy.
The dunes, in particular, are fragile ecosystems subject to erosion by wind and water. The critical “sand-binder” in Michigan’s active, coastal dune areas is a grass called marram or beach grass. As a pioneer species, it is exquisitely adapted to survive in areas characterized by high winds, low moisture, low nutrient levels, and moving sand.
Marram grass slows blowing sand by impeding it with above ground shoots, after which the sand falls down to the base of these plants and begins to pile up. The grass eventually gets buried, but then sends up more above ground parts while an extensive system of underground stems (rhizomes) and associated roots form a dense mat which binds up the loose sand and helps prevent dune erosion.
As the sand becomes somewhat stabilized, other plant species with similar adaptations to a dune environment are able to take root and promote further stabilization. Some of these are other grass species such as sand reedgrass (Calamovilfa longifolia (Hook.) Scribn.) and little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash).
Especially during high-water periods, when dune and shoreline bluff erosion can be quite rapid, we need to do all we can to protect marram grass and its associates that act to stabilize the moving sand. If we damage or kill these all-important sand-binders, the sand particles will no longer be held in place, other species of vegetation will not be able to gain a foothold, and the animals that would find homes in vegetated, more stable dunes will not be able to live there.
Marram grass has a stem that can be damaged when walked on, and we all know that covering plants with opaque objects can kill them, so leaving boats on the dunes or other objects that block marram grass from the sun is not a good idea. In addition, root systems can become exposed or damaged by dragging chairs, boats, and toys across the dunes. Children digging in the dunes and sliding down dune banks can also damage the grasses. For these reasons, practice “dune diligence” and stay off these fragile areas as much as possible so as not to harm these stabilizing grasses.
Prepared by Barbara L. Rafaill, PhD
12 September 2020