New Mich. law removes state beach grooming permits

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law a measure allowing beach-front property owners on the Great Lakes to uproot or mow plants, cut paths and smooth sand with hand tools or machines without a state permit.

Supporters say it's time to ease up, although few permit applications have been rejected. Property owners still will need approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Environmental groups say the change could lead to the loss of important fish spawning habitat and adversely affect coastal wetlands.

The measure was rewritten so public's right to walk along the shoreline is protected.

Lakefront vegetation has been an issue since water levels receded in the 1990s, exposing more lake bottom. Some consider the vegetation important to the ecosystem, while others say it's an ugly mess.