The Glen Lake Association is dedicated to protecting, preserving, and caring for the Glen Lake/Crystal River Watershed. Through our work, we aim to be the recognized leader in evidence-based watershed protection strategies while advancing environmental education, sustainable policies, and quality of life. From water quality monitoring and invasive species prevention, to cutting edge research and community-wide education, we are All About the Water!

watershed PROTECTion

Preserving and protecting the valuable water resources within the Glen Lake/Crystal River Watershed is a team effort. The Glen Lake Association partners with numerous government and non-government organizations at the local, state, and federal levels in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for the health of the watershed. 

Our Watershed Protection work includes:

  • Developing and implementing a formal Watershed Protection Plan approved by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE)
  • Encouraging the adoption of township and county ordinances to help reduce the impact of pollution (i.e. septic ordinances)
  • Supporting the adoption of an overlay zoning district to promote consistent water quality protections across townships
  • Establishing a Watershed Protection Fund to fund special initiatives and water quality emergencies
  • Promoting our signature Glen Lake Guardian program to recognize individuals and businesses for watershed stewardship
  • And more!
sailing on glen lake

Learn more about the work we do to protect the watershed!

water quality initiatives

Since the inception of the Glen Lake Association, preservation of the watershed’s exceptional water quality has been our number one priority. We employ a watershed scientist year-round to lead our science-based water quality protection initiatives.

Our water quality work includes:

  • Participating in the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program which enables us to monitor water quality trends
  • Testing the water for clarity, phosphorus, and chlorophyll-a
  • Monitoring water temperature, dissolved oxygen levels, pH, turbidity, and conductivity
  • Utilizing drone technology to survey and assess the impact of shoreline activities on water quality
  • Conducting cutting edge research to study the effects of bacterial influences on lake and well water
  • Performing regular health “checkups” on the Crystal River ecosystem by surveying aquatic species
  • And more

Learn more about the work we do to preserve water quality!

invasive species management

Invasive species pose a significant threat to the watershed’s ecosystem. The Glen Lake Association remains vigilant in its efforts to prevent, manage, and eradicate both plant-based and aquatic-based invasive species. Once an invasive species enters the watershed, it can be extremely costly to control or eradicate it. The best strategy we can employ is to prevent invasive species from entering the watershed in the first place, which is why the Little Glen Lake Boat Wash is so important.

Our invasive species work includes:

  • Operating the Glen Lake boat wash to inspect for and remove invasive species from watercraft prior to their launch
  • Monitoring for new invasive species through the use of drone technology as well as boat and land-based inspections
  • Tracking the location, type, and density of known invasive species using mapping software technology
  • Developing a working plan to control or eradicate known invasive species in order to prevent their spread
  • And more

Learn more about our work to prevent, manage, and eradicate invasive species!


The Glen Lake Association is responsible for maintaining and operating the Crystal River Dam in accordance with a court-ordered Water Sharing Management Plan. Established in 2005, this plan provides for the raising or lowering of the lake level to minimize shore erosion and facilitate recreational use. The plan is executed by a committee of Glen Lake and Crystal River homeowners, in collaboration with the National Park Service, the Leelanau Drain Commissioner, and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

Learn more about our work to balance the lake level with river flow!

EDucation & outreach

The Glen Lake Association seeks to educate area residents, visitors, and businesses about the importance of watershed stewardship. We strive to promote an awareness and understanding of water quality challenges and watershed protection strategies by serving as a resource to the community at large.

Our Education & Outreach work includes:

  • Offering educational boat cruises on Glen Lake with our watershed scientist
  • Sponsoring events in support of watershed stewardship
  • Promoting best practices for the health of the watershed
  • Conducting homesite consultations for waterfront property owners to discuss shoreline or stream bank concerns, landscaping plans, and property damage
  • Educating the community about how to prevent swimmers itch
  • Publishing a monthly newsletter to keep community members up to speed on the latest watershed developments
  • Presenting a “state of the watershed” address at the annual association meeting
  • Promoting water and boater safety programs
  • And more

Learn more about our work to educate and reach out to the community!


As much as we do to protect the watershed, we cannot do it alone! We need everyone who lives, works, or plays on or near the water to join us in our mission to protect the water, drop by drop.

Please consider supporting our work today. Find out how you can make a difference through lake-friendly stewardship, financial support, planned giving, or volunteering.