The Glen Lake Garden Club has been a “Guardian” of Glen Lake for over 40 years. Each year its nearly 80 members contribute to conservation and community beautification projects around the watershed. On February 19 the Garden Club will be hosting our very own Guardian Ambassador, Tricia Denton. As guest speaker, Tricia plans to share information on the Glen Lake Guardian Program, highlighting key elements of the award-winning Michigan Shoreland Stewardship Survey with practical tips for taking care of our land to protect our waters, both seen and unseen.
Interested in learning more about the Glen Lake Garden Club or attending this event? Please contact Tricia Denton at 231-313-0359 to RSVP by February 16 to get on the guest list.
Then join us at the Glen Lake Community Reformed Church at 12:30 pm on February 19. Enjoy dessert and beverages in the community room followed by Tricia’s interactive session about water protection at 1pm.
Is all the land that drains water into Glen Lake and the Crystal River “created equal?” No. Are there portions of our watershed more critically and ecologically sensitive than others? Yes. Critical areas can be defined as portions of our watershed that have the greatest likelihood to affect water quality and aquatic habitat. The watershed map here shows the critical areas that in sum total equal about 25% of our watershed.
There are five categories of critical areas that include the following:
Riparian Corridors: (Blue) An area that includes land from the shoreline to a 1,000 foot setback boundary for Glen Lakes, Fisher Lakes, Crystal River, and Hatlem Creek.
Forested Ridgelines: (Yellow) These are the steep, forested slopes that harbor permeable soils susceptible to erosion that drain into the lake.
Hatlem Creek Subwatershed: (Red) An ecologically rich, diverse, complex wetland that drains into Glen Lake via Hatlem Creek
Crystal River Dune/Swale Complex: (Orange) An area classified globally as a rare and complex ecosystem.
Groundwater Recharge Areas: (Pink) Areas where the fastest and largest quantity of groundwater enters Glen Lake.
Central to the mission of the Glen Lake Association is to ensure that these critical areas are not degraded. Fortunately, much of these critical areas lay within the boundaries of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and will be preserved and protected for generations to come. However, the Riparian Corridor, where homes occupy nearly 98% of buildable lots along the shore, can pose a significant threat to water quality. Also, areas of strong groundwater recharge mean what you do to your land will impact the surface water of the lake very quickly.
If you live within any of the boundaries of these critical areas of our watershed, consider taking the pledge to protect and join our Glen Lake Guardian program. By doing so, it will provide our waters with the best protection we can offer. After all the lake and river give us, shouldn’t we in turn give back by living responsibly? It is a win-win for both.
For more information about critical areas in a watershed click here.
Groundwater is water that has filtered through the ground and lies “perched” on bedrock or clay. Some of it comes from rain and snowmelt, some of it from during and even before the time of glaciers. This water flows, pulled along by gravity. The flow is either fast or slow depending on the topography and coarseness of the soil. Steep slopes and sandy soils will have faster groundwater flow and low slope gradients and heavy clay soils will yield slower groundwater flow. Either way, the groundwater eventually makes its way to Glen Lake and the Crystal River.
Why does all this matter? Water that enters the soil will travel through, picking up and carrying pollution along the way, eventually delivering toxic chemicals into the lake, including PFAS, excessive nutrients, or harmful bacteria from improperly functioning septic systems.
A lack of natural groundcover can reduce groundwater recharge by causing run-off of rain and snowmelt. When water flows over the ground surface, it can pick up sediment and pollutants, carrying them directly into the lake. Natural vegetation like trees, shrubs and native grasses help intercept this water, allowing it to go into the soil. Vegetation also helps keep water in the ground by protecting against evaporation. Do your part and protect our water, seen and unseen. Groundwater or surface water, they are all connected. Remember our GLA saying, “It’s All About the Water!”
This topic is a reminder that it’s especially important to be mindful of what we put in and on our land. This applies to upland and inland areas, too, not just along our shores. We have to consider the whole watershed. Even miles from the shore, the groundwater from these places eventually makes its way to the lake. Groundwater not only replenishes Glen Lake, we also depend on it for our drinking water. Shorelander or Uplander, we all bear the responsibility to protect the land, in order to keep our groundwater unpolluted.