Michigan Chapter of the North American Lake Management Society (McNALMS) is joining its parent society NALMS in promoting Lakes Appreciation Month this July.
Michigan’s 11,000 plus lakes are among Michigan’s more valuable natural resources and an enormous asset to the citizens of the state. Clean, healthy lakes provide recreational opportunities, fish and wildlife habitat, food, and aesthetics. They also provide sources of drinking water, irrigation, and energy. Clean lakes add to the property value of homes around the lake as well as to the economy of the area. However, as our population grows and lakefront development expands, our lakes becomes stressed due to nutrient input, poor shoreline habitat, invasive species and other stressors.
Lake Appreciation Month promotes awareness of our lakes and encourages people to take part in activities that support lakes. Governor Rick Snyder has proclaimed July as Lakes Appreciation Month in Michigan and encourages all citizens and communities to actively participate in the protection and preservation of our lakes and shoreline.
Here are some steps you can take to enjoy your lake and keep it healthy
You can help monitor your local waterbody or watershed
You can visit a local lake, pond, or reservoir with friends and family
You can go boating, kayaking, canoeing, sailing or rowing
You can go swimming
You can go SCUBA diving
You can cast your line in and go fishing
If you manage a lake you can host an activity in your office or on a local waterbody. Bring enough sampling gear, id keys and other materials for everyone to join in.
If you don’t manage a lake, you ask your local lake agency about shadowing a lake manager for a day
You can arrange a lake or watershed clean-up event
You can start a watershed storm drain stenciling program
You can have your septic system pumped if you live close to a waterbody
You can go birding or take pictures at a lake or pond
You can tap into your artistic side and draw or paint a lake scene for your home or office.
You can organize a lake field trip for students
Let us know what activities you do for your lake or one nearby, and we'll highlight it on our website. Feel free to include photos. Send your stories to email@example.com
The following are brief descriptions of some of the important projects that McNALMS is working on. These are major efforts that, if successful, could have significant impacts upon Michigan’s water resources. If you have an interest in these issues, there may be a role for you. Let a board member know if you think you could lend a hand. Additionally, if you are working on an issue that would naturally come under the umbrella of the McNALMS vision, we may be able to work collaboratively with you to promote the project. The McNALMS board would need to approve any formal support and commitment of the organization’s time and funds.
McNALMS members have met with representative from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) about promoting native lake shorelines on state lands at facilities such as State Parks, Access Sites, and State Forest Campgrounds. Some of these facilities have serious shoreline erosion problems because of turf maintained down to the waters edge. The MDNR recognizes the problem and has already taken some initial steps to begin to address the issue. McNALMS may work with the MDNR to help promote more native lake shorelines and provide educational assistance to the MDNR.
The exotic aquatic plant Hydrilla invaded the southern United States about 50 years ago. It quickly created massive problems across the southern part of our country. Florida alone spends about $30 million annually just to control the most serious infestations. In 2003, Hydrilla invaded and overran a lake in Maine proving it is capable of surviving and flourishing in Michigan’s climate. In 2006 Hydrilla was found in a lake in northern Indiana, 60 miles from Michigan’s southern border and in 2007 in showed up in a pond in northern Wisconsin. Very soon we could be looking at the beginning of a massive problem for Michigan’s recreational industry. McNALMS has been working with others to prepare for the arrival of Hydrilla in Michigan. At this time we are urging policy makers to create a program and commitment the funds to the program to “control” this serious nuisance.
Septic System Management
Recently the legislature has initiated Bills that would require that all septic systems be inspected when a property is transferred. A few counties already have this requirement but most do not. Septic systems can be a significant source of nutrients and bacterial contamination for lakes. The need for greater formal management of these systems has long been recognized by natural resource and public health agencies. Legislation should be passed that would be minimally intrusive on the homeowner and yet insure that systems are functional and that new owners are aware of the home’s waste treatment facilities. McNALMS is encouraging all concerned parties, such as lake property owners and lake users to express their support for legislation to better manage septic systems to their respective legislators.
Value of Michigan Lakes McNALMS has worked with others to gather information on the value of Michigan’s inland lakes. Summaries of two of the studies and a powerpoint are available (see Value of Michigan Lakes and Streams and Value of Riparian Property on Michigan's Inland Lakes; ). Another recent study by former Michigan State University graduate student Emily Norton focuses on Natural Features and Property Values of Michigan Lakes. Such studies have been done in New Hampshire, Minnesota and Maine and have been extremely helpful in the effort to inform policy makers about the importance of lakes to the state’s economic vitality. Recognition of this value makes it easier to fund and promote programs that protect and manage lake ecosystems and their watersheds.