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Glen Lake Association Celebrates 75 years, Rob Karner Recognized for 40 Years of Service

Education, News August 17, 2020 No Response

Clear skies and the 80-degree temperatures of a perfect summer afternoon didn’t keep more than 100 people from turning out for the GLA Annual meeting this August. The commitment of this organization’s members has not waivered for more than 75 years now.

Meeting participants were treated to two special videos; the first highlighting the history of the GLA, current programs and a vision for its future, (watch it here); and the second congratulatory messages from longtime community partners in watershed protection (see who they are). Additional acknowledgements from Senators Stabenow and Peters and State Senator VanderWall, State Representative O’Malley, Lt. Governor Gilchrist and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer were also shared, thanking the GLA for 75 years of service to Leelanau County.

Another historic milestone recognized during the meeting and acknowledged by elected officials was 40 years of service by Watershed Scientist, Rob Karner. Since 1979 Rob has built an outstanding curriculum vitae of science-based initiatives that have vaulted the association to recognition as one of the premier lake organizations in the Midwest … and one closely followed and often imitated by groups countrywide.

The many contributions of tireless volunteers and generous donors were also acknowledged including special thanks to the Greg and Sue Besio family. Their $100,000 gift to the popular Discovery Boat Program will help ensure this popular educational program created by Rob Karner will continue into the future. The Discovery Boat Cruises virtual or live are one of the best opportunities for the GLA to educate and share critical preservation information. They are just one more example of Rob’s relentless desire to share his knowledge with so many.

The State of the Watershed address by Rob Karner was comprehensive as always and generated great questions. A few highlights include the Watershed Protection Plan Update, a proposed Watershed Protection Overlay District and Swimmer’s Itch prevention. Slides from Rob’s presentation can be viewed here; video coming soon!

The business portion of the meeting included a solid finance report from outgoing treasurer David Herr (read it here). All three outgoing board members, Dale DeJager, Bill Witler and David Herr were thanked for the donation of their time for their wise counsel during their time on the board. Numbers from elections included 178 votes cast online and 15 proxy votes received resulting in election of all three highly qualified board candidates. Dave Cheney, Kris Fishman and Jennifer St Julian were welcomed onboard.

A message of thanks was delivered to outgoing president Dave Hayes, the GLA “won the trifecta” under his leadership by completing the first ever GLA Strategic Plan, implementing a new communication software, and adapting staff roles to better poise the GLA to meet the organizational and educational challenges ahead. A final message of gratitude for all our volunteers and encouragement to get involved was shared by Dave. Check out the full recording here.

Engineered Seawalls – Are They Appropriate for Glen Lake?

Education, News August 13, 2020 No Response


The 2017 GLA shoreline survey revealed that Glen Lake had a total of 18 engineered seawalls (made of wood, steel, or concrete), with seven seawalls located on Little Glen and 11 on Big Glen.
A subsequent 2019 shoreline survey showed a reduction in numbers; Glen Lake had a total of 15 engineered seawalls – a reduction of three. Four were on Little Glen and 11 were on Big Glen. In 2019, we had six wooden seawalls, six steel seawalls, and three made with concrete.

Why the reduction in seawalls? One reason they did not increase is because they are very expensive. Second, when installed, the wave energy is transferred to the neighboring shore, causing unwanted erosion on that shore.

The average size of an engineered seawall is 100 feet long, resulting in a total of 1,500 feet of shoreline with these man-made structures. Glen Lake has a total of 17 miles of shoreline and less than 2% of our shoreline has engineered seawalls.

GLA acknowledges that installing an engineered seawall may be warranted in extreme and unusual situations. Typically, engineered seawalls are used on the Great Lakes where erosion forces are more intense and destructive. Smaller inland lakes typically have much less erosion forces and may utilize rocks or coir logs as the better “lake friendly” choice for erosion protection.  

GLA is encouraged by the news that there has been a reduction of seawalls on Glen Lake. It is a step in the right direction to protecting our watershed from further erosion problems.

If you wish to remove your engineered seawall with an appropriate erosion control strategy, please contact the GLA at for guidance or call 231-334-7645.

It should be noted that all shoreline alterations require a permit from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), formerly the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

For more information about the negative impact of seawalls on water quality for inland lakes, click here.

GLA’s Annual Meeting is Thursday, August 6

Education, News August 3, 2020 No Response

The Glen Lake Association Annual Meeting will be held on
Thursday, August 6, from 4 pm to 5:15 pm 

Please join us online!

Registration is required to attend the Zoom webinar which will feature:

  • A new 75th GLA video
  • Special recognitions
  • State of the Watershed address with watershed biologist, Rob Karner.

Register here.