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St. Clair Flats Association
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News & Comments

A brief roundup of news and updates for HISCFA members.  Your comments are welcomed but if you have any questions it's best to email one of the board members for a more timely response.

  • October 14, 2020 12:11 AM | Anonymous

    It's that time of year again where we need to winterize the water stations. This means that the Bates Cut water station will be closed on November 1, and will re-open some time in the Spring. And the exterior valves at the North Channel water station will be shut off. Please read the sign on the door at the North Channel water station for instructions on accessing water throughout the winter months.

    Thank you for your understanding and we apologize for any inconvenience.

  • September 12, 2020 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    Raffle ticket winners were drawn at the Music in the Park event at Browne’s Field on Harsen’s Island, Saturday September 12, at 7:00 pm. 

    1st prize ($750): Ruth Roth
    2nd prize ($300): Jeff Radjewski
    3rd prize (YETI cooler): E.J. McKnight

    Watch the video of the winners being drawn:

    Thank you to everyone for your continued support of the Harsen's Island St. Clair Flats Association!  If you aren't a member yet, please consider joining HISCFA today.

  • August 01, 2020 12:42 PM | Anonymous

    Due to the ongoing healthcare crisis, we had to make the difficult decision to cancel Field Day this year for the safety of our members, island residents, and guests. 

    While this saddens us to have to cancel this wonderful family event, we're still selling HISCFA fund-raising raffle tickets with great prizes: 

    $750 First   |    $300 Second   |   YETI Cooler Third

    Winners will be announced at 
    Music in the Park, at Browne's Field
    Saturday September 12

    Tickets were mailed to members, but they are also being handed out at Jane’s Sans Souci Market. Please fill in the ticket stub and include them with your money in a sealed envelope. Jane’s SSM will also collect these sealed envelopes. Any remaining available tickets will be sold at the Music in the Park event (starts at 6:00 pm) with the drawing taking place at 7:00 pm. Good luck!

    We know that COVID-19 has impacted all of our lives in many ways, but the HISCFA is doing their best to continue to provide services to our Island community.

    Please accept our apologies that 2020's calendar of events and activities won’t include our normal programs, but we hope that members will continue to support the Harsen's Island St. Clair Flat Association until we can see each other face-to-face in 2021.

  • August 01, 2020 12:39 PM | Anonymous

    If you did not pick up your copy of The Delta News at the Trunk-to-Trunk Sale on Saturday, August 1st, your copy will be mailed to you by the end of August.

    We hope you enjoy this 75th Anniversary Edition! Our all-volunteer team put forth a lot of effort to make this year’s edition very special.

    Please consider any additional donation towards the printing of this publication or you can contribute by publishing an advertisement in next year's edition!

  • February 11, 2020 4:40 PM | Anonymous

    Please get involved!

    If you aren't affected by the high water situation in and around Harsen’s Island, you or someone you know will be at some point in the coming months.

    We're urging all HISCFA members to come together as a force and write to our elected officials who have the ability to influence the decision on Michigan House Bill 5401 (2020) and Michigan House Bill 5402 (2020).

    These bills were introduced by Representative Gary Eisen on January 23, 2020 and can be viewed at the links below.

    For your convenience, we've provided a template below of a letter that you can edit (or not) to meet your personal situation.  Photos of any damage by high water is also encouraged.  Below you'll also find the contact information for all the lawmakers.

    Thank you for taking action!

    Form Letter:  Letter-for-HB-5401-and-5402 1-2020.doc

    List of Contacts: Gov.-Contact-List 1-2020.doc

    Michigan Bills:

  • January 15, 2020 9:08 AM | Anonymous

    Dear Islanders,

    At the last meeting of the Harsen's Island Saint Clair Flats Association (HISCFA), a vote was taken to assist in the formation of a new board of directors for the Harsens Island Transportation Authority, HITA. To that end I am asking for your assistance in that effort.

    If you or someone you know would be interested in being a part of HITA, please email me at address shown below.

    The purpose of HITA is to effect a reliable, safe and affordable connection to the mainland. This is very important and your sincere consideration will be greatly appreciated.

    Respectfully requested,

    George Covalle
    President of HISCFA

  • December 12, 2019 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    The Harsen’s Island St. Clair Flats Association (HISCFA) participates in the Great Lakes Islands Alliance (GLIA).  One of the main focuses of GLIA as an organization is to get representatives from islands within the Great Lakes to discuss island-related topics, and this year a huge focus was high water. This topic affects our mainland waterfront neighbors as well.

    It is highly recommended that you read the article below from the International Joint Commission (IJC) and PLEASE COMPLETE THEIR QUESTIONNAIRE.

    There are many photos and examples of the types of information they are looking for, with their goal being to document and better understand the impacts associated with these high water levels. You can also share some of your own photos with them.

    “Information provided by shoreline properties owners is critical for ensuring that scientific and engineering tools used to evaluate regulation plans under a range of wet and dry conditions accurately reflect the high water impacts that have been experienced.”

    If You Experienced High Water Impacts in 2019, We Need to Hear from You!



    If you would like to see an overview of the type of information collected, please click the link below to see a fact sheet of similar information that was collected for 2017 by shoreline property owners on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River:

    There are many links contained within these websites, so take some time to browse through the site and explore all the articles and links. 

    Making our voices heard is extremely important!

  • December 10, 2019 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    Dear HISCFA Members,

    I would like to inform you about a conversation I had on Tuesday December 3 with Jessica Kines. Jessica is the contact person for the Department of State Police, DSP, who have control over ferry rates. Jessica is new to her position and has only been there for four months. She and her associates are empowered under Act No. 240 and House bill No.4807 to review the rates of water carriers such as Champion Auto Ferry. This legislation was sponsored by then Representative Dan Lauwers, now Senator Lauwers, and was enacted into law in 2017. It is important to recognize that they haven’t been regulating water ferry rates for very long and may not have faced challenges to their approval of rate increases before the current increase of our rates.

    Jessica was very helpful and understanding of our situation. She also freely admits that this is all new to her and the DSP. They recognize that House bill No. 4807 leaves a lot to be desired and greatly favors the carrier. They are however bound to act in manner that follows that bill, they are after all the State Police.

    The items we covered in our conversation included:

    The fact that we are dealing with a private corporation that has a monopoly.

    The fact that we have at this time no alternative means of getting from the mainland to the island and see no chance of one in the near future.

    The fact that we are not involved in rate changes and aren’t made aware of them until after they are approved by the DSP. A very uphill process.

    Our only resort is to appeal these rate increases to the DSP under Sec. 4 of HB 4807. We have been asked to file these complaints with the Attorney Generals office thereby involving another State agency in the process who will also have to become involved and informed.

    Our current rates.

    The increase in those rates both on a dollar basis, $2.00/trip and a percentage basis, 28% for ticket holders and $2.00/trip and 20% for day trippers.

    The impact these new rates would have on our residents and our businesses.

    The dollar increases in addition to the money paid currently for a working family of two: $2 x 30 days x 2 people =$120/mo.

    The fact that many of our island residents are retired and living on a fixed income that doesn’t increase annually at 28%.

    Other rate increases have been made that effect commercial trucking thereby increasing the cost of building and doing business on the island.

    The fact that many of our elderly residents are frequently off the island for routine medical care.

    The condition of the current infrastructure of the docks and boats.

    Only one of two docks are in service on the mainland side and two of three docks on the island side. The third dock on the island side collapsed.

    If the one dock on the mainland side fails, we will have no connection to the mainland.

    There is no schedule of when repairs of the docks will be completed.

    The reduction of load limits and type of vehicles that are permitted to use the ferry.

    The impact these restrictions are having, with no change in site, on ongoing and new construction projects and other services to the island. Trucks are restricted to one rear axle and trailers to no more than two axles.

    I asked if the $2/$2 fair increase could be changed to a $1 increase for ticket book holders and $3 increase for day trippers. Jessica said she would run the idea by her people.

    I asked if she would summarize our discussion since at the time of our conversation I was driving to an appointment and couldn’t take any notes. Jessica said she would do that.

    Jessica offered the following:

    “The Michigan State Police (MSP) reviewed, vetted and approved Champion Auto Ferry’s proposed tariff based on section 460.207 of Act 246. The MSP also completed an onsite evaluation and has required Champion’s to submit a timeline for repairs and will be actively monitoring their progress.”

    I was hoping for more but I understand the situation she is in. The above comments are therefore my recollection of our conversation.

    The good news is that many islanders, in addition to HISFCA have reached out to the DSP, Senator Lauwers and others. We have their attention and I believe, based on other conversations I have had recently, that things will improve. The dialog has begun and the pertinent parties are working on solutions. For now, we are stuck with these increases. If there is a silver lining to this situation it is that these increases will witness to others, who might be interested in providing service to the island, that it will be more feasible for them to do so.

    In the meantime, I urge everyone, to continue to RESPECTFULLY contact our representatives, these are the people we will have to work with in the future to solve our issues. If you choose to do so you may file a formal complaint with the Attorney General’s Office (link below). It is an election year and our 800 members and their families are voters and we have power.

    Respectfully submitted,

    George Covalle, President

  • March 19, 2019 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    This year marks the first annual Harsen’s Island St. Clair Flats Association membership survey.  The objective of the survey was to learn more about members and their households, which will ultimately help the HISCFA board of directors with prioritizing and planning initiatives.

    Who and When:

    The survey was emailed on March 8, 2019 to any active member with whom we have an email address (requested on your membership renewal/application form).  It was sent to 511 total members and only one survey submission per recipient was allowed.  When the survey closed on March 31, a total of 212 surveys had been completed—a 41.5% response rate which exceeded our expectations.  An incentive of entry into a drawing for one free book of ferry tickets was used to encourage participation—178 respondents entered the drawing.  The winner of the drawing for the book of ferry tickets was announced at the April HISCFA meeting.

    We are pleased to report that the survey was a success and the feedback from the respondents has already helped to validate current initiatives and help with planning and thinking about new ones.

    Here are just a few of the highlights:

    Browne’s Field Improvements:

    The majority of those of you that responded to the survey and ranked proposed capital improvements to Browne’s Field validated our long-term plan for building permanent restrooms.  Permanent restrooms were ranked first by over 50% of the respondents.  Over the last year we have begun to earmark funds for this project and, based on your feedback, we will begin fund-raising efforts to help us achieve this goal.

    A walkway around the perimeter of Browne’s Field was another popular proposal for capital improvements and was ranked second by respondents.  This, too, is underway.  Plans for the layout, length/width, and surface material are being discussed and a budget has been established.  Some funds are already set aside for this and fund-raising may take place for this project, as well.

    The Delta News is a Favorite:

    Among the many benefits offered by HISCFA, annual publication The Delta News was the most popular member benefit and was the number one reason why many of you are HISCFA members (80.19%).  This was followed by the “park-and-ride” located at the ferry (50.94%), and the annual Field Day held at Browne’s Field (48.11%).

    Island Life:

    It’s no surprise that “boating” is listed as the number one activity that members are involved in (86.79%).  This is followed by “recreational walking” (65.09%) which supports our initiative of developing a walking path around Browne’s Field.  And again, no surprise, “fishing,” was listed as the third most popular activity (63.68%).  Falling behind these top three were “swimming,” “bicycling,” “kayaking,” “tubing/floats,” and “personal water craft.”  Some of the activities that weren’t listed but were provided by respondents were “bird watching,” “gardening,” “looking for wildlife and watching sunsets.”  We’ll have to add these to our list next year!

    Who’s a Member:

    ·       Over 33% of the survey respondents have been a HISCFA member for more than 20 years.  And 15.57% have been members for 3 years or less.

    ·       Full-time residents made up 45.28% of the respondents; and over 2% of the respondents do not have property or a residence on the Island.

    ·       Both of the water stations maintained and operated by HISCFA are still being used but over 77% of the survey respondents do not rely on either water station.

    ·       Over 59% of the respondents do not have children or grandchildren under the age of 18.

    More surveys in your future:

    You can look forward to mini surveys throughout the year surrounding each HISCFA event.  This will help us stay connected with you and will help us refine and improve our events to better meet the needs of you, your family, and your guests.

    Thank You!

    Thank you to all of you that took the time to provide your valuable feedback.  It will be used throughout the year when we prioritize, develop and plan new initiatives and capital improvements.

  • March 01, 2019 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    The State of Michigan has added new regulations to the National Resources and Environmental Protection Act which took place in March of 2019.  The State strives to keep our waters clean, not only from Asian Car, and mussels but form invasive plants.  Below is a summary of the new regulation.

    In 2019 The Michigan Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (Act 451 of 1994) Park 413 was amended with changes for boaters and anglers that take effect March 21, 2019.  The changes are intended to strengthen protection from Michigan waterways against the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species.


    Prior to the amendment, the law only required that a person not place watercraft or trailers in the water of Michigan if an aquatic plan is attached.  The new law changes require all of the follow prior to transporting any watercraft over land:

    Remove all drain plugs form bilges, ballast tanks and live well.

    Draining all water from live wells and bilges.

    Ensure that the watercraft, trailer and any conveyance used to transport the watercraft or trailer is free of aquatic organisms, including plants.

    Violation of the law is a state civil infraction and can be subject to fines up to $100.


    For anglers, these amendments codify the Michigan DNR’s Fisheries Order 245 regarding the release of bait fish and cut bait, and the release of captured fish:

    A person shall not release baitfish in any water in Michigan.  A person may not use the fish caught as bait or cut bait except in the inland lake, stream, or Great Lake where the fish was caught, or in a connecting waterway of the inland lake, stream, or Great Lake where the fish was caught if the fish could freely move between, the original location of capture and the location of release.

    A person who catches fish other than baitfish in a lake, stream, Great Lake or connecting waterway shall only release the fish in the lake, stream, or Great Lake where the fish was caught.

    Whether purchased or collected, unused baitfish should be disposed of on land or in the trash—NEVER in the water.  Any baitfish an angler collects may be used only in the waters where it was originally collected.

Featured Items

Harsen's Island Transportation Authority (HITA)

Contrary to popular belief, HISCFA is not part of HITA.  Our only involvement with HITA is to nominate three volunteers to the Clay Township Supervisor.  Nominees that are appointed to HITA by Clay Twp. have a 3-year term.  Please let the HISCFA President know if you're interested in being nominated to HITA.

Nomination to HITA



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