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Hot Topics

Crystal River Gets a Health Check

Education, News May 2, 2019 No Response

This summer, GLA intends to have the Crystal River undergo a “checkup” to understand how it measures up as a healthy river ecosystem. During the summer of 2017 the lower reaches of the river were studied and found to be in good shape.  In the coming summer, the same rubric for determining the health of the river will be conducted on the middle and upper reaches of the river.

To determine the “health index” of the river, the aquatic insects that live there will be sampled and studied. The presence (or absence) of certain aquatic insects can be used to interpret how the river is doing.  Typically, the more fragile insect species that are intolerant of environmental stress and pollution will show up in the sampling if the river is healthy.  Another indicator of river health is species diversity.  Healthy river ecosystems have high species diversity while unhealthy rivers are absent of fragile species and have low species diversity.

Why study the Crystal River? The GLA is all about the water and the river is part of our watershed.  In fact, the official name of our watershed is the “Glen Lake/ Crystal River Watershed.” We care about the quality of water whether it is underground, at the surface, or even flowing downhill ever so slowly into the pristine Sleeping Bear Bay in Lake Michigan. We like to think that the water from our watershed is actually improving the water quality in Sleeping Bear Bay – and that is really setting the bar high on what we so passionately care about!!

For more information on healthy rivers, click here.

Boat Wash Factoids

Education, News April 24, 2019 No Response

According to Boat Wash Manager, Sallyanne Morris;
  • GLA’s Boat Wash has operated for close to 25 years, beginning in 1994
  • Over 2,000 boats were washed in 2018
  • It is a free service and employs 5 people
  • Hours during the boating season – 6 am to 7 pm, 7 days a week
  • Empire and Glen Arbor townships in Leelanau County have boat wash ordinances. Crystal Lake, Lake and Benzonia townships and the village of Beulah all have boat wash ordinances in place. 
  • Our main goal is to educate people about protecting our watershed
  • Boats come from all over the U.S. to Glen Lake 
  • The boat coming the furthest was from Hawaii

This valuable resource is available to all boaters, with aims to keep our waters clean and free from invasive aquatic species. Be sure to take this information to heart –after all, it’s all about the water!

Is Our Watershed Free of Invasive Species?

Education, News April 22, 2019 No Response








Thinleaf cattail

For all the great reasons that make the Glen Lake/ Crystal River Watershed so beautiful and unique, we do need to set the record straight – our watershed is NOT free of invasive species.

Invasive species are those living things that are often introduced and spread through recreational boating and angling activities with long
lasting negative impacts. They often out-compete our native species for space and resources.

Some of the invasive species the Glen Lake Association is aware of include shoreline plants; Coltsfoot, Purple Loosestrife, Yellow Iris, Phragmites, and Thin Leaf Cattail. Animal species include Mute Swan, Japanese Coi, European Starlings, and Zebra Mussels. Aquatic species include Curly-Leaf Pondweed.  

For each species listed above, the GLA has a working plan to eradicate and/or control the species so they do not spread and evolve into costly
control programs. The Yellow Iris is aggressively taking hold in the Fisher Lakes and has the GLA concerned that riparians see it as a
beautiful plant and tend to not want to remove it. People who see the Mute Swan also are enamored by their grace and beauty, not aware of
their aggressive behavior to humans and other native species, such as the Trumpeter Swan.

In addition, the Japanese Coi –a pet fish that likely came from someone’s artificial pond– was first discovered in Little Glen three years
ago. Now it’s been spotted on several occasions in Big Glen this past year.  

The GLA Boat Wash is the best management plan to prevent invasive species from entering our watershed. If you have seen any of the
above species or have encountered invasives not on this list, please contact the GLA to come and validate your findings.

Contact Tricia Denton at or call 231 313-0359.