27 Apr

Help needed with merganser nests

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We need your help.

The Glen Lake Association (GLA) is pleased to announce partnering in 2017 with Ron Reimink, owner of Freshwater Solutions, under a comprehensive contract to combat swimmer’s itch on Glen Lake. We have over 30 years of successful experience with Ron whose reputation is superb.

Our plan will be to live trap and relocate common merganser broods this spring/summer. In addition, we plan to control itch by covering common merganser nests (tree cavities) in the summer/fall of this year, after the broods have left the nest. Based on the behavioral ecology of mergansers, we believe this will reduce the number of broods on the lake in 2018 and beyond.

We have a professional crew working on finding nests and we hope to locate as many as 5 to 7 nests. Once we find the nests, GLA, with your permission, would like to place cameras on the nest while it is active to monitor the nesting environment and learn vital information about their natural history that will make it easier to find nests in the future. Even though we have activated this crew, with your help, we could increase our chances of finding more nests.

If you are able and willing to help us find active nest sites in trees near your home, then please consider this request. During the month of May, females fly around the forests as they visit their nest cavities as they lay their eggs (one egg per day). These flight patterns are best observed between daybreak and 9 a.m. The mergansers often will vocalize while flying (low-pitched grunts). Nest sites are often close to the shoreline but can be several hundred yards from shore as well. The nest height off the ground can be from 2 to 50 feet high.

If you suspect an active nest and you want to confirm your finding(s), please call Ron at 616-293-0252.  Either Ron or myself will come evaluate the situation. We also would seek your permission to access to your property during the nesting period.


Rob Karner

P.S. More detailed information about our comprehensive program for controlling swimmer’s itch will come via the website and spring newsletter.

20 Apr

Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Collection

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Clean up your homestead SAFELY and take your hazardous waste and electronics to a responsible collection site. Download a list of what’s allowed here: Hazardous Waste List

16 Feb

Michigan Lakes and Streams conference

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The Michigan Lake and Stream Association Annual Conference coming to Crystal Mountain in April.

This is an opportunity to learn about efforts to deal with invasive species in a location convenient to Leelanau County.

The conference is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 21 and 22. Find out more in the following press release.

THOMPSONVILLE — The Michigan Lake and Stream Associations Annual Conference represents a great opportunity for lakefront property wwners to learn how to work as a team to prevent and manage aquatic invasive species (AIS) and improve the quality of their lake.

Michigan Lake & Stream Associations (ML&SA) 56th annual conference “Bridging the Resource Gaps: Enhancing the Ability of Lakefront Communities to Prevent and Manage Aquatic Invasive Species” is dedicated to providing participants with the knowledge, information, and ideas they need to improve the collective ability of their lakefront communities to prevent and/or manage aquatic invasive species.

The ML&SA conference also represents an outstanding opportunity for participants to learn about the latest efforts to control invasive mussel populations, the status of starry stonewort in Michigan waters, purple loosestrife management initiatives, and the efforts of the Michigan Swimmers Itch Partnership in working to find a solution to a serious problem that has plagued lake users for decades.

The conference will open on Friday, April 21, at 10 a.m. with keynote addresses by Jon Allan, Director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, and Lisa Brush, Executive Director of the Michigan Stewardship Network, who will discuss state and local efforts to prevent and manage aquatic invasive species. Conference attendees will also have an opportunity to attend workshops and sessions ranging in topic from applying for invasive species prevention and management grants from the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program (MISGP) to working effectively with local government officials, and lake management professionals.

Conference attendees are also encouraged to participate in open panel discussions dedicated to exploring issues related to Michigan’s need to establish an equitable and sustainable system of public funding for aquatic invasive species management projects; and to learn about preventing and managing invasive species from regional water resource commissioners, and lake association leaders. Participants can also learn about the latest federal, state, and district court cases that have had an impact on riparian rights and water law from noted Attorney Clifford H. Bloom, senior partner in the firm Bloom Sluggett Morgan Law of Grand Rapids.

Created in 1961, ML&SA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation, protection, and wise use and management of Michigan’s vast treasure of high quality inland lakes and streams. ML&SA achieves its mission by supporting the educational, stewardship, and conservation focused initiatives and goals of our public and private collaborative partners, members, and affiliated organizations. For more information contact Scott Brown at 989-831-5100 Ext. 105, or e-mail him.

To register for the ML&SA conference, visit the website

03 Jan

Glen Lake as a ‘buffer’

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pH is measure of how acid (sour) or basic (sweet) our water is in our lakes, rivers, and streams. It is a water quality parameter that is monitored on a regular basis at 10 different locations in our watershed by the Glen Lake Association. In this video you will learn how the GLA monitors this important aspect of our water quality and what are the natural conditions in our waters that keep our lakes from going “sour” or undergo acidification. Our waters are naturally able to withstand the acid rain/snow. Watch this video and learn how our waters are naturally “protected” unlike some lakes in our country.

06 Dec

Year End Highlights

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With 2016 drawing to a close, we ask you to give consideration to the Glen Lake Association in your year-end gift planning.  While the Association remains on a strong financial foundation, we will likely finish the 2016 year with a small operating deficit. This is because of conscious decisions our Board made to elevate the Swimmers’ Itch spring Merganser harassment campaign, investment to upgrade our database technology, and the design of our new website. We anticipate future cost savings in printing and postage among other communication benefits with our technology upgrades.


Crystal River Marina

Listed below are some of the highlights of 2016 reflecting our mission to preserve and protect Glen Lake now and for future generations:

  • Continued high level of water quality with no evidence of new invasive species.
  • Recognition for our work by many regional and statewide organizations resulting in a $250,000 shared grant from the Michigan DNR to provide swimmers’ itch research.
  • A newly designed and interactive website providing for ease of member use, event enrollment and informative video postings.
  • Continued support of the position of watershed biologist Rob Karner who serves as an expert consultant for all water quality programs.
  • Expansion of the Discovery Boat program led by Rob Karner, which serves to educate riparians about the preservation of Glen Lake.  All members are encouraged to attend.
  • A significant increase of our “Legends” endowment program where members include the Glen Lake Association in their estate plans.
  • Sponsorship of two educational workshops on best practices for replanting and landscaping after the great storm of 2015.
  • Extension of the Guardian program to include landscape professionals emphasizing their commitment to best practices for lake quality protection.

Membership dues provide only a portion of the annual costs to underwrite our expenses. Therefore, as you consider your year-end charitable giving, I would encourage you to include an additional contribution to help protect Glen Lake and the surrounding watershed. A separate email reminder for 2017 dues will be sent in early December, as you may also want to prepay your dues for tax purposes in 2016. Both donations and dues are tax deductible.


Bill Witler, President

Donate online now
To donate by mail please send to: The Glen Lake Association, P.O. Box 551, Glen Arbor, MI 49636.

06 Dec

Plankton from Lake to Lab

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Plankton (microscopic free floating organisms) are a very important aspect of the ecology of the lakes within the Glen Lake/Crystal River Watershed. This video highlights the method by which the plankton are collected in our lakes using a plankton net along with locations in our watershed where we collect the plankton and how often they are collected. The plankton samples are analyzed in the laboratory using a compound microscope. We especially look for a rich biodiversity and whether we are encountering any invasive species. This video features Laura Wiesen and Rob Karner as the plankton peeps who do the collecting and analyzing.

07 Nov

Water level basics

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Ever wonder what determines the water level of Glen Lake and consequently the water flow in the Crystal River? If so, read on. The next few paragraphs will briefly outline where the water comes from, where it goes, and the management plan philosophy we have developed to serve the Glen Lake-Crystal River community.

The water comes from the precipitation we receive throughout the year in the form of rain and snow. It finds its way into the lake two different ways: directly from the sky and through the surrounding area which is called the Glen Lake watershed. The water that flows in from the surrounding streams and underground springs (predominantly located along the East and South shores of Big Glen) contributes significantly, but water seeps in from all the hills and lands surrounding the lake. This watershed rain and snow melt filters through the surrounding properties, lawns, and forests down through the sand and gravel into the lake. Fortunately this filtration has a significant time lag so we continue to have water coming into the lake during the dry weeks of the summer. Something to keep in mind is that any chemicals, fertilizers, fuels, or septage that is spread, spilled or buried in the watershed eventually makes its way into the lakes too. So the importance of keeping ground and streams clean is obvious.

See the report.

01 Nov

Stewardship Award Winners

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Stewardship plays a critical and grassroots role for protecting the Glen Lake/Crystal River Watershed. Doing the right thing for the lake is not always followed for a variety of reasons. In this video, the Glen Lake Association has recognized the Lymans’ home on the east shore of Big Glen as being careful to be ecologically respectful for not only their landscaping, but building their house as a LEED certified home. As you will see, the Lymans are passionate about protecting the water and setting a great example for all of us to follow that sets the stage now and for future generations that living on the shoreline has its rewards and its responsibilities. If you want more information about living in harmony with nature and protecting the water of Glen Lake, please contact the association and we will be happy to help you accomplish our common goal.

27 Oct

Register now for Discovery Boat 2017

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Did you miss the 2016 Discovery Boat tours? If you would like to join us in 2017, please sign-up here for free and we’ll let you know via email as soon as we schedule the boats for 2017. (We will probably know the dates in May and you can signup then.)

What is Discovery Boat? Join the Glen Lake Association Watershed Biologist, Rob Karner on a pontoon boat for a two-hour scientific study of Glen Lake. Using various scientific equipment, students learn all about plankton, water chemistry, swimmers itch life cycle, hydrology, bottom sediments, aquatic succession, and aquatic plants.

Learn about and see a plankton net, a compound microscope, Ekman Dredge, sonar devices, aqua view underwater camera, and the hydrolab.

Note: Children under 5 years not allowed. Children 5-10 years must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. If possible, please bring life jackets for children. Click here for more information and to register.