Outdoor Enthusiasts Should Exercise Greater Caution in Areas Impacted by Flooding; High-Water Levels Pose Additional Risks to those Enjoying the Outdoors during July 4 Holiday

Contact: State Emergency Operations Center Public Information Officer, 517-284-3882

June 30, 2017

Boaters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts should exercise greater caution when enjoying recreational activities in areas impacted by the recent flooding, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

As residents and visitors gear up for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, they should remember that safety comes first. While that’s always a wise approach, experts say it’s even more critical when an area is dealing with flood conditions.

“High-water levels can drastically change rivers, lakes and terrain,” said Lt. Jennifer Wolf of the DNR Law Enforcement Division. “Even if you are familiar with a certain area, remember that high water adds an entirely new dimension that may put you at risk. So play it safe. Take extreme caution when recreating in areas impacted by floods.”

Safety tips include:

  • Remain aware of area conditions by monitoring local safety advisories, usually issued by counties.
  • Be mindful that high-water levels may impact the water’s visibility. Tree branches or other obstacles not usually in a waterway may have been carried there by the flooding, and could be more difficult for boaters to see due to poor water visibility.
  • Remember that high water can change the dynamics of a river or lake. For example, currents can change, making the water less predictable.
  • Be especially cautious if wading in a lake or river. High-water levels can alter the bottom terrain. So even if swimmers or anglers think they are familiar with a particular stretch of water, they should watch their footing.
  • Remain watchful for fallen trees, whether on the water or a land trail. Ground that is overly saturated with water can impact the stability of trees, causing them to fall over rivers or block riding or hiking trails.

Learn more about recreational opportunities, regulations and safety at www.michigan.gov/dnr.

About the Disaster

Lt. Gov. Calley declared a “state of disaster” for Isabella and Midland counties on June 23. On June 28, Gov. Rick Snyder instructed the Michigan State Police (MSP) to amend a recent “state of disaster” declaration to include two additional counties in mid-Michigan after severe weather and intense rain struck the counties resulting in widespread flooding damage. Along with Isabella and Midland counties, the amended disaster declaration now includes Bay and Gladwin counties.

By declaring a "state of disaster," the state of Michigan will make available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts in the disaster area as outlined in the Michigan Emergency Management Plan. Calley’s declaration authorizes the MSP/EMHSD to coordinate state efforts.

The public is encouraged to monitor local media for up-to-date weather reports and emergency information. For updated information and additional safety tips, follow the MSP/EMHSD on Twitter at @MichEMHS or visit www.michigan.gov/miready.