A symposium on water quality will be held at Northwestern Michigan College’s (NMC) Hagerty Center on February 17.
The Great Lakes Water Studies Institute and Freshwater Solutions are hosting the free event and will include local lake associations, including GLA, who will be represented by Rob Karner. Three other scientists will also be bringing their expertise to the symposium. Glen Lake will be one of the lakes featured in the discussion sharing results on Swimmer’s Itch and enteric bacteria studies.
Due to the great interest in this symposium, a larger venue is offering increased seating capacity but is still limited–plan to register right away. Registration is required by February 9 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Glen Lake Association is grateful and humbled by a recent donation by the Besio Family Foundation – one of the most significant donations to date given to the award-winning lake association.
The Besio family’s gift will underwrite the popular Discovery Boat program, a vital tool and key component in educating the community about protection and preservation of the Glen Lake/ Crystal River Watershed.
Rob Karner, GLA’s respected watershed biologist and founder of the Discovery Boat, makes the two-hour cruises fun and interesting, with each pontoon ride tailored to the participants’ interests. Topics range from discovering how the glaciers formed the lake, river and surrounding hillsides, wetlands, and streams – to the chemistry of the water and biology of plants and animals.
“GLA has done so much to protect and enhance Glen Lake with its various programs,” explain Sue and Greg Besio on their reason for investing in the program. “The Discovery Boat helps everyone learn more about our beautiful lake and how we can all contribute to preserving its unique ecosystem and watershed. Each person who takes the Discovery Boat tour, and learns how special Glen Lake is, becomes another advocate.”
Karner says their backing makes a strong statement and ensures the program’s continuation.
“When I first heard about the Besio family gift to help underwrite the cost of the Discovery Boat program, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I felt like the program has been validated and will have a bright future.”
Sue and Greg Besio and their two sons have been coming to Glen Lake for over 25 years from the Chicago area. Now they welcome the third generation to their favorite spot. Calling her clan “a big sailing family,” Sue served as the Glen Lake Yacht Club Commodore and was on the board for 10 years. You can see them enjoying the water on their 19-foot cat boat with its distinctive mainsail.
“GLA’s educational programs help create a multi-generational advocacy dedicated to preserving the special character of Glen Lake and we are proud to support these efforts,” observe the Besios.
Discovery Boat cruises are held twice daily on designated Fridays in July and August and are incredibly popular with spots filling quickly. Reservations can be made through the GLA website, with signups for summer 2020 beginning in April.
For information on other underwriting opportunities to continue the important work of the GLA, contact development chair, Lori Lyman, at 231-334-7645 or GlenLakeDevelopment@gmail.com.
A wetter than usual 2019 has resulted in higher than normal lake levels in Glen Lake.
According to GLA water level committee chair, Bill Meserve, the lake is almost four inches higher than the Circuit Court ordered level.
The issue comes down too much rain and snow, says Meserve, with evaporation being a big factor and underground flow.
“We are doing what we can,” he says. “For three months the dam has been wide open and there’s nothing more we can do. Things won’t get back to target until spring.”
That is often when big chunks of ice blow up on the shores of west Little Glen and the on the east shore of Big Glen causing shoreline erosion. More precipitation was recorded by the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station, with 38 inches of rain in the past 12 months.
According to Meserve, Glen Lake levels have been running high since mid-September. GLA volunteer dam committee members hope the levels subside by spring.
Officials say Crystal River levels are average for this time of year.
Imagine. For the past seven decades, concerned citizens, property owners and civic-minded people have been true guardians of Glen Lake, committed to the purpose and values of the Glen Lake Association: preserving and protecting the water.
Although historians aren’t exactly sure how many people may have been involved with the GLA, the number is substantial. It all started back in 1945, when a concerned group developed the founding tenants. That same commitment to water protection continues today, 75 years later.
To mark this achievement, the GLA board of directors invite GLA members, watershed residents and the business community to come together. A special 75th Planning Committee has announced a recognition event – the GLA 75th Celebration – on Thursday, August 6, 2020. Watch for coming details.
Another highlight for the anniversary year are fun facts, historical stories and musings that will be published on the GLA website and in every eBlast edition for the next 12 months. Topics will cover Glen Lake’s 1960’s sandstorm, the only known ship sinking in the lake, and the use of a fire-fighting shed along the shores.
Be sure to watch for special events, volunteer opportunities, and a chance to share your Glen Lake memories in stories and photos on the GLA website.
Join family, friends and neighbors … It’s time to Celebrate GLA!
An open meeting of the Glen Lake/ Crystal River Watershed Protection Project Task Force has been set and the public is welcome and encouraged to attend.
GLA is sponsoring the meeting, bringing together the four townships within the watershed–Cleveland, Glen Arbor, Kasson and Empire–to learn about and discuss the opportunity to strengthen the protection of surface and groundwater within the boundaries of the Glen Lake/ Crystal River Watershed.
The prime focus of the meeting will be to digest how a zoning “Overlay District” plan, with a menu of several protective provisions might play out in a uniform way in all four of the townships that are inside our watershed.
The main speaker will be Tony Groves, consultant, from Progressive AE, who has helped us pioneer this proposed project.
You won’t want to miss this important event, please email the GLA and tell us if you can participate.
The agenda for the meeting will be as follows:
Welcome and Introductions – Denny Becker, Former President of GLA
Presentation by Tony Groves, Consultant, Progressive AE
Presentation by Roberta Dow, retired MSU educator
Open Discussion – Facilitated by Rob Karner, Watershed Biologist
Over the past six months, members of the GLA Board of Directors have been developing a new roadmap for the future of the organization. A five-year Strategic Plan (2020 – 2025) has been created with input from the board, staff, key stakeholders and 156 Association members who recently completed a membership survey. The extensive process is meant to help guide GLA in its direction and initiatives in four main areas;
* Watershed Protection * Education and Communication
* Quality of Life * Organizational Development
The Association’s primary focus remains the protection of the watershed’s natural resources, ground and surface waters, plus the updating and implementation of the Glen Lake/ Crystal River Watershed Plan.
With a strong cadre of volunteers, GLA will continue to be involved in leadership, education and collaborative efforts. Topics include:
Continuing to research Swimmer’s Itch
Reducing nutrient loading of the watershed
Eliminating pollutant sources including storm water and failed septic systems
Supporting ordinances to inspect septic tanks and wells upon ownership transfer
Detecting and controlling invasive species
Managing the water level control structure on the Crystal River
In subsequent eBlasts and communiqués, GLA will share additional information about the above areas of focus and initiatives,
As we strive to be the recognized leader in evidence-based strategies for protecting the Glen Lake watershed while advancing environmental education, sustainable policies and quality of life.
What can everyone do?
* Join in protecting our natural resources and advocating for same – be proud of the theme: “It’s all about the Water!”
* Become a member.
* Learn about the Association through newsletters and annual plans, including implementation of this Strategic Plan and Annual Work Plans.
* Become a Glen Lake Guardian and support stewardship education.
* Volunteer – let us know how you’d like to become involved.
* As members, learn about our Board and Committees and consider participation.
* Give us your thoughts and ask questions – about this Strategic Plan or other matters of concern or interest.
* Donate to help us attain our annual plans and long term goals.
* Build your legacy to make a difference to protect and preserve this one-of-kind place.
GLA is proud to announce that the association was awarded one of five watershed management planning grants by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).
The $25,025 grant award will update the protection-oriented Glen Lake/ Crystal River Watershed Management Plan by incorporating new water quality monitoring data as well as collecting new watershed inventory data.
EGLE’s announcement stated that the plan will help protect high-quality waters by reducing non-point sources of sediment, nutrients and other contaminants.
Nature provides us with a marvelous built-in filter that naturally protects and cleans our lake and stream water by removing excess phosphorous and nitrogen (nutrients). This built-in filter is often called a shoreline buffer or can also be referred to as a greenbelt.
To protect our water and to keep it clean, having a natural shoreline is the best way everyone can do their part to be good lake stewards.
One way to protect our buffer or greenbelt so it can serve as an effective filter is to allow native plants to grow naturally along the water’s edge to a healthy distance away from the shoreline–at least 10 feet.
These images from our recent drone survey illustrate how to preserve a natural shoreline and still use it for recreation.
GLA encourages those who want to make recreational use of their shoreline to consider using docks, decking, and wood platforms. Adopting this practice will give peace-of-mind knowing you’re doing your part to protect our water quality, keeping native plants and the natural shoreline intact so filtering by the greenbelt can proceed.
Notice the orientation of dock platforms above, allowing good recreational space on the shoreline without having to weed or dump beach sand on the shore.
This drone image shows a linear “aquatic garden” just off Inspiration Point on Big Glen Lake. What will this same location look like in two years?
GLA, in partnership with Zero Gravity, LLC and owner Dennis Wiand, now has the 2019 shoreline survey data available for analysis. In today’s world, drone technology has proven to be very helpful in benchmarking our shoreline as well as helps us learn critical information about shorelines of the Glens and Fishers as well as the Hatlem Creek sub-watershed.
Using high resolution imagery and from a “birds eye view,” those shorelines will again be evaluated in a variety of ways and noting the changes from our first survey done in 2017. What will we be looking for? More than you might think!
We will be looking for evidence of shoreline erosion, measuring shoreline buffer health, finding locations for invasive plants– both aquatic and land-based– and riparian practices that play out in both good and not so good ways as it relates to our lake health.
For example, looking for what works best for lake health, we like to count how many riparians are using lake water irrigation for their shoreline buffer, hoping to find that there are more systems being used now compared to two years ago. In this case, the more systems the better versus using well water to feed your irrigation system. Remember, using a lake water irrigation system eliminates the need for fertilizers in our sandy soils, and protects our groundwater that ultimately feeds our lake.
Another example of looking at the data is to find the locations where there are engineered sea walls made of wood, steel, or concrete. Our hope is that we will see fewer sea walls this year compared to two years ago. Engineered sea walls are not the best way to protect your shoreline from erosion and more lake friendly choices are available for your consideration.
The GLA would also like to monitor our aquatic gardens for the presence or absence of aquatic invasive plants. We are keenly interested in how the size of aquatic gardens have changed. All lakes depend on aquatic gardens to produce needed oxygen in the water so life can flourish, so monitoring the area they occupy is important as we evaluate the health of our lake.
Stay tuned in future emails about what the 2019 shoreline survey data will reveal. In some cases, the data may affect you directly or in other cases it may serve as a way for you to learn more about not only your shoreline, but what is happening around all the other neighboring shorelines.