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Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of L'Anse and Ontonagon Bands of Chippewa

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A project to remove century-old logs from the bottom of the Huron and Keweenaw bays in Lake Superior has stirred debate. Tribal natural resource director Mike Donofrio contends log recovery would harm the environment. Council President Bill Cardinal said log recovery in the proposed area impacts an 1842 treaty, which guarantees fishing rights in the Keweenaw and Huron bays. Village councils in Baraga, Arvon Township and L'Anse also oppose the logging program. "We don't want water stirred up,'' said L'Anse board President Patrick Goodreau, adding he fears logging may require further water treatment to filter sediment. Les Thomas, who heads the log recovery program for the state Department of Environmental Quality, said the program would result in minimal environmental damage. But some biologists and area residents, including tribal members, dispute that. Fish in the proposed logging areas in the Huron and Keweenaw bays include lake trout, walleye, brook trout, northern pike and walleye. The DEQ has issued 11 permits to three logging companies, Pestka Construction Co. in Ontonagon, Celheart Marine of Grand Ledge and Blue Forest Timber in Howell. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reviewing the five-year permits and an official said there should be a decision by September.