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The Lake Guardian

Spring 2018

PANTONE 2738U PANTONE Process Cyan U Photo by Aerial Graphics


Charlevoix the Beautiful...Watershed Joel Van Roekel

gest of any inland Michigan lake. The17,000 plus acre surface makes it the third largest lake in the state. With its history and its attractions, this lake screams to be noticed! And it is, by all of us who live here and everyone who comes to visit. You cannot look at this lake without a feeling of admiration and awe. This lake is big and it is beautiful… because of its watershed. Our watershed covers an area more than 300 square miles. It comprises 212,515 acres in four counties, eighteen townships, four cities, and three villages. While you are staring at the lake, know that the inflowing Boyne and Jordan Rivers are contributing around 300 cubic feet of water per second, each and every second of every day. In addition to those two major inputs, there are seven other small inlet streams that flow into the lake. The only way for the water to leave is the Pine River, one of the few rivers in the world that can flow in both directions at the same time. There are also several smaller lakes including Deer, Nowland, Adams, and of course, Round Lake. Once upon a time, tanneries and lumber mills could be found on the Lake Charlevoix shoreline. These businesses were economically important to the communities, but the processes they relied on posed water quality problems that remained long after they ceased to operate. Now that they are gone, does that mean that all is good with the condition of our lake? continued page 7 Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council

ould we characterize Lake Charlevoix as the “Mona Lisa” of lakes? Before you think this is a puff piece for Pure Michigan, please do this…. Close your eyes and try to visualize Da Vinci’s portrait of Mona Lisa. What appears in your mind’s eye? Can you picture the enigmatic Lisa del Giocondo, sitting in a “pozzetto” arm chair, her right hand gently balanced atop the left, looking directly at you with that fetching smile? Now peek behind her and ask yourself, what is in the background? If you are like me, you draw an absolute blank. If you google it, you notice that she is surrounded by an aerial perspective of a vast landscape, complete with winding paths and a distant bridge pointing the way to a craggy mountain. As you let your eyes roam over the entire picture, it becomes more evident that the background actually enhances and refines the beauty of Lisa herself. She wouldn’t be the same without that which surrounds her. The same is true of our beautiful “centerpiece” lake and the watershed that is around it. The watershed surrounds, supplies, and supports all that is Lake Charlevoix. In 2012, USA Today honored Lake Charlevoix as the second most beautiful lake in the nation. Its 60-mile perimeter is the lon-


that happens in a watershed affects its water quality.

Spring 2018 2 - From the President

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3 - Shoreline Survey 4-5 - LCA Highlights

6 - The Future of Our Watershed 7 - Charlevoix the Beautiful cont. 7 - Got an Itch?

8 - Memorials 8 - News Bites

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Dan Mishler


Looking back and looking forward. This article is going to be a little harder for me to write than the others, as it will be my last one as president of LCA.

Looking Back -- We’ve come a long way baby. LCA has changed a great deal in the 10 plus years I have been involved. It is with fondness that I recall the afternoon in 2008 when our board of directors met at the home of then board member Jonathan Friendly for a brainstorming session, during which we reworked the mission statement for the association. Looking back, I think the refreshed mission statement gave us clear direction and set the tone that allowed for all the improvements that have come since. We have taken on more projects and worked hard to make LCA a relevant player in protecting Lake Charlevoix, all of which has been made possible because so many more people who love Lake Charlevoix have gotten involved. As evidence, our membership has gone from around 130 to nearly 800 at this time. Perhaps the most rewarding part of the position for me, has been meeting so many people who care so much for our lake and who are willing to give their time and/or money to help protect it. This wonderful gem of a lake is why we are all here and it is worthy of our care. Our projects are successful because of your help with ideas, participation and support. This support comes from LCA members, Shoreline Ambassadors, past and present Board members and many willing volunteers. The LCA’s work has expanded to include numerous projects. Please see pages 4 and 5 to see several that we are especially proud of. We’ve also worked with a state-wide group, headed by the MDEQ and Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, to


Presidential Meanders

develop the MI Shoreland Stewards Program, which is patterned after our Lake Guardian Program. We actively participate in a county-wide septic committee that has studied options and hopes to recommend improvements that could be made to septic system requirements to better protect the lake. In the summer of 2018 we will be entering into a study of swimmer’s itch on Lake Charlevoix to ensure that we stay ahead of a potential problem with that parasite driven issue. We have many projects underway, so please don’t be upset if I left any out. Looking forward -- I’m also very pleased to report that we are making great progress in our work toward organizing into a committee structure. We have formed four committees; Finance, Membership, Communications and Environmental. We are in the process of filling them with volunteers. If you have time and interest, we could use more help, especially on the Environmental Committee. We are also considering forming a Governmental Affairs Committee, that would work with each of the 7 townships and 3 cities, particularly when issues arise that have an impact on our watershed. Volunteers are needed for this committee as well. One of the big changes that has occurred as part of the committee Our projects are formation is a new system for sucsuccessful because cession of the president’s position. of your help with As has been the tradition, the board of directors will continue to elect ideas, participation officers for board positions after the and support. annual meeting each summer. John Hoffman will be elected president at that time. Beginning this summer, we will be following a new policy whereby presidents will serve two-year terms, and after two years will automatically be replaced by the first vice president. If you are interested in volunteering, please email us at I plan to continue to serve on the board and remain as involved as ever, but I’m happy to let John take a turn wearing the hat of president and writing these articles. I’m very confident that John will do a great job and I can’t wait to see what he calls his newsletter articles.

Dan Mishler, LCA President

Mission: Protect the natural quality and beauty of Lake Charlevoix. Promote understanding and support for safe and shared lake use. Advocate sensible and sustainable practices for lake use and development.

LCA Board of Trustees

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Dan Mishler - President Joel VanRoekel - 1st Vice President Chris Heroy - 2nd Vice President Mike Dow - Treasurer Sherry Pursel - Secretary

Joe Kimmell - Director Larry Levengood - Director John Hoffman - Director Tom Darnton - Director Like us on Facebook!

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Dan Mishler & Joel Van Roekel

are convinced that the data gleaned from an aerial survey is far superior to any other current method and will help us be more effective in protecting our wonderful lake. The procedure involves positioning the drone approximately 30 feet off shore at a height of 20 to 50 feet. The camera will be focused on the aquatic shoreline, beach, and the greenbelt above it. Capturing images in this manner will allow for greater accuracy in creating set points for monitoring invasive species and erosion areas and determining how best to use limited resources to keep our lake healthy. As privacy is always a concern with any type of property survey, the LCA will not allow any shoreline images to be publicly shared. The company that is being considered is fully licensed and meets all legal requirements for projects of this type. They will fly within legal zones and with the Dennis Wiand, Zero Gravity Aerial exception of the aerial perspective, will be in similar positions to the previous surveys Go to YouTube link, to see a short drone survey video. done with kayaks. If you wish to view Healthy shorelines tend to make for healthy lakes. However, one of the sample footage from a previous aerial sur“constants” about shorelines is that they change. Water levels rise and fall, vey, go to the following link on YouTube, winds push waves from every conceivable direction, some parcels become Cq3VpGrRp3A. Protecting the natural quality and beauty heavily developed, while others are returned to a more natural state. of Lake Charlevoix is the mission of the LCA. Shoreline survey data will help us of our lake’s shoreline. This video will be ecause of this, Tip of the Mitt keep abreast of current lake conditions and analyzed by TOMWC staff over the winter Watershed Council (TOMWC) use that information to better preserve our to create a detailed report of the status of has surveyed Lake Charlevoix on lake. Your LCA Board has looked carefully our lake. This report will indicate healthy a roughly five-year cycle for many years. at this new approach. We shorelines as well In the past, each lakeshore lot has been believe that gathering this evaluated with a focus on greenbelt quality, as those that may This summer, a video visual data by drone will not have erosion issues, nutrient loading, and shoreline erosion. only be safer but will also -equipped drone will be These factors are considered by many to be excess nutrients, give us more accurate inforemployed to record the the biggest stressors on the water quality of degraded habitat, mation to use in planning high algae levels, an inland lake. condition of our lake’s our work to protect Lake or invasive species. Previous (TOMWC)/Lake Charlevoix Charlevoix for our mutual shoreline. This video will This approach has Shoreline Surveys have been conductenjoyment. Funding for this be analyzed to create a already been used ed by staff kayaking the entire 60 mile project was provided by the successfully by shoreline while photographing each lot detailed report of the Charlevoix County Commua number of lake and assessing their condition from a lake nity Foundation and the Lake status of our lake. associations inlevel point of view. Until recently, this was Charlevoix Association. cluding Glen Lake, considered “best practice” in assessing Lake Leelanau, Long Lake, and Burt Lake. shoreline quality. However, recent advancSeveral other northern Michigan lakes will es in technology offer the opportunity for be surveyed using drones this summer. a much more accurate survey of our lake. Having seen the results from recent This summer, a video-equipped drone drone surveys of other Michigan lakes, we will be employed to record the condition


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Shoreline Gardens coming to Sunset Park in Boyne City


Local landscapers will work with the LCA to install waterfront gardens that will showcase approaches to shoreline gardening that are both healthy for the lake and pleasing to the eye.



Steve Zucker, Petoskey News-Review

Watershed Academy

Tip of the Mitt Watershed

Stover Creek

Tip of the Mitt Watershed

The LCA continues to support studies by Tip of the Mitt that propose restoration of Stover Creek, which is located in the Lake Charlevoix Watershed.

IT’S RENEWAL TIME Your Lake Charlevoix Association Membership is about to expire on May 31st. Please take a moment to use the enclosed remittance envelope to renew or join today! You may also renew or join online at our website: www.lakecharlevoix. org or use the QR Code on page 8. Thank You for Your Support!

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Each year, the LCA provides support for the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Academy. This program, aimed at area High School biology students, offers them the opportunity to become budding experts about the watershed, pollution issues, and water quality monitoring.

Tip of the Mitt Watershed

Purple Loosetrife- Beetle Mania Purple Loosestrife is a beautiful but nasty invasive species that has gained a strong presence in northern Michigan. LCA supports Beetle Mania, a program designed to help control the spread of this aggressive invader. TOMWC, in collaboration with Leadership Charlevoix, will release the Galerucella Beetle, a natural predator, that feeds almost exclusively on the Purple Loosestrife plant. There is no chance of the beetles becoming invasive themselves while they will help establish long-term control of infestation sites around Lake Charlevoix.

Joe Kimmell

Watershed Signs The Lake Charlevoix Watershed sign project is nearing completion with over 20 signs installed and another 20 to be installed this Summer. Watch for them!

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Sherry Pursel


Dan Mishler

The LCA continues to fight invasive phragmites around Lake Charlevoix. The efforts began in 2009 and continue annually. The photo above was taken in the fall of 2017.

LCA Poker Run The weather was perfect and great fun was had by all during the 2017 LCA Small Boat Poker Run. Between selling poker hands, sponsor donations and our silent auction, we raised around $5,000 to be used for the demonstration greenbelt garden in Boyne City. The 2018 Poker Run will be held on Friday, August 24. Please save the date. Special thanks to our 2017 sponsors, Sommerset Pointe, Boyne Boat Yard, Irish Boat Shop, Lake Charlevoix Brewing, Bulmann Dock and Lift, Lake Michigan Products, Mobile Marine and The Landing.

Your LCA Membership helps to protect Lake Charlevoix and its beautiful watershed. Thank you!

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Julie Stratton

Students Experience Lake Charlevoix Students Experience Lake Charlevoix (SELC) will take place this year on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 15 and 16. Sixth grade students from schools in Charlevoix County will go out from the Charlevoix docks on the Beaver Islander and take part in a variety of water science and safety related activities. Volunteers from the Lake Charlevoix Association, the Coast Guard, the DNR Fisheries division, the Odawa Indian council, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, and other organizations work with the students at each station.


WHY SUPPORT LCA? If you’re reading this article, you are either a member of LCA, someone with lakefront property, or you simply care a lot about our lake. Whatever the reason, thank you for your interest in what we do. We would like you to know that your support of LCA impacts our lake in a variety of ways. We truly appreciate the support our 800 members give us and welcome anyone not currently on our membership roll to join us in protecting our lake. To learn about our other programs and services, please visit our website:

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Most readers of this newsletter are fully aware of the unique and wonderful features that make Lake Charlevoix a special place. Likewise, most readers are also aware that our community can have both positive and negative impacts on the lake. But, how do we develop an understanding of what to do and what to avoid when it comes to preserving Lake Charlevoix? A good place to start any effort to understand our lake and how to take care of it is the Lake Charlevoix Watershed Management Plan. The plan, over 200 pages in print form, can be found and read through Join the next links on the Tip of the Mitt Wawatershed tershed Council planning meeting website, www. in Community watershedcounRoom A of the The plan document begins Charlevoix Library with detailed inon Thursday, formation about June 14. the geology, hydrology and geography of not only the lake but the land areas within the watershed. It goes on to review the threats to water quality, identify actions which could be taken to protect the lake and lists government and non-profit organizations that might consider undertaking those actions. Watershed management plans were identified as an effective management tool by the Clean Water Act in 1972. This federal legislation was passed in the aftermath of the famous fire on the Cayuga River in Cleveland. Work began on the first management plan for Lake Charlevoix in 1984. The current plan was adopted in 2012 as a 10 year plan. A mid-term review is currently being undertaken by a task force of the Lake Charlevoix Association Environmental Committee in cooperation with the staff of the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council. One feature of the plan is an Advisory Committee, chaired by Grenetta Thomassey, Watershed Policy Director at Tip of the Mitt. At quarterly meetings, which are open to the public, representatives of many of the “stakeholder organizations� brief each other

on what their organizations are planning or doing to advance the projects identified in the Watershed Plan. The Lake Charlevoix Association has been an active participant in this work from the beginning. The next scheduled meeting will be in Community Room A of the Charlevoix Library on Thursday, June 14, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. Attending these meetings is a good way to follow what is happening around the lake and to meet the people who are involved.

Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council


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Continued from page 1 ...............


ccording to Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, while industrial pollution is no longer a significant concern, sediment and nutrient infiltration from human activities are still threats to Lake Charlevoix’s health. The cause for concern lies in the fact that ground water is a critical feature in maintaining water quality in the watershed and ultimately our lake. A great deal of our aquatic wildlife depends on this ground water to be fresh and clean. Much of the soil in the watershed is sandy, permeable, and quickly absorbs rain and melting snow. This water, in turn, enters the water table and moves underground toward our rivers or lakes. When the water is clean, the aquatic ecosystem thrives. When there is an infiltration of pesticides, herbicides, and nutrients, automotive fluids, or phosphorous from lawns, these pollutants can travel through that same permeable soil and harm wildlife, contaminate water wells, or end up flowing into and degrading the lake. You might be thinking, “Who’s doing all

that damage to my watershed?” It’s tempting to pin the blame on some business, industry, or agricultural operation, but the real problem stems from something called “nonpoint source pollution” or NSP. According to the Charlevoix Watershed Project, this is pollution that “comes from diverse and diffuse sources the majority of which are caused by individuals.” NSP can be sediments from roads crossing over streams, eroding agricultural land, parking lots, and shorelines lacking buffer strips. Nutrient pollution stems from the runoff of fertilizers (nitrogen/phosphorous) used on residential lawns, golf courses, farm fields, and leaky septic systems. Toxic pollution comes from the oils, greases, and heavy metals coming from highways, shoreline properties, and parking lots, as well as pesticides/herbicides that are widely applied in today’s world. So if all the stuff above is bad for our watershed, what are we supposed to do: stop farming? give up golf? sell the cars? knock down the cottages? move downstate? Given the realities of life in this incredible water-

shed, that’s not going to happen. What you can do is remember that wherever you live, you are in the watershed. Whatever you do impacts the watershed for better or worse. If you maintain your car with care, dispose of hazardous wastes properly, minimize the use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, cover bare soil, plant more native shrubs and trees, and practice ecologically safe boating, you are helping preserve the watershed. The maxim for any watershed is that it is far easier to protect water than it is to restore it. Find out more by visiting lake and stream advocacy websites like: LCA, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, Friends of the Jordan River Watershed, Friends of the Boyne River There you will find a treasure trove of credible information on how to preserve and protect the land, streams, and lakes of your watershed.


GOT AN ITCH? John Hoffman

Some of us who have enjoyed

swimming in the shallow waters of our Northern Michigan lakes have experienced small, itchy red welts on our skin sometime after emerging from the water. We were in the water, so it couldn’t have been mosquitoes, especially on our legs which were always submerged. We didn’t see anything in the clear water that could have bitten us. So, what gives? What we have just experienced was an unpleasant assault on our skin called “swimmer’s itch.” The precise medical name for swimmer’s itch is “cercarial dermatitis” which is a short term allergic reaction to a tiny (1/32nd of an inch) parasitic flatworm that has burrowed its way into our skin. OK, so far it looks like if I’m not a duck I shouldn’t have to worry. But here’s the rub, the flatworm in search of a duck or other suitable waterfowl host may accidentally come into contact with a human swimmer and enter the swimmer’s skin. Although the worm will quickly die, it causes an allergic reaction producing the itchy welts. So, what about Lake Charlevoix? We are aware of only a couple of reports of swimmer’s itch on our lake so far.

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Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council

Ours is what is called a high energy lake with significant wave action that may discourage the proliferation of host snails. Also, we do not seem to have many nesting merganser ducks which spend all of their time in the water and therefore play an ideal role in the life cycle of the swimmer’s itch parasite. Or maybe we’re just lucky so far. In any event, the LCA would appreciate hear-

ing from anyone who has experienced swimmer’s itch from swimming in Lake Charlevoix or knows of someone who has. Furthermore, if anyone is aware of mergansers establishing nesting sites on the lake we would like to know their location. Please contact us at: Wishing everyone on Lake Charlevoix an itch free summer!

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Remembrance T

he LCA is sad to report that former LCA Board member Paul Witting recently passed away in his home in The Villages, FL. Paul worked for 27 years for Steelcase in Grand Rapids, retiring in 1993 as Senior VP of Sales and Distribution. Paul was a good friend to all and an especially active advocate for his favorite Lake Charlevoix. From his home at the Narrows where he and his wife Joan lived until 2016, he cruised on his trawler, Avalon. He loved to visit Beaver Island, the North Channel and the Chesapeake. He was a parttime Captain on the ferry that crossed near his home. Paul was an active LCA Board member for 8 years, a founder or our Ambassador Program and an enthusiastic recruiter for new members. He will be missed.


Lake Charlevoix Association P.O. Box 294 PANTONE 2738U PANTONE Process Cyan U Charlevoix MI 49720

Join now!


Lake Charlevoix Association Thanks You! In Memory of Paul Witting by Dan & Martha Mishler by Joel & Nancy Van Roekel by Mike & Chris Heroy by Mike & Rhea Dow by Bob & Sherry Pursel by Joe & Karen Kimmell by Larry & Gayle Levengood by John & Barbara Hoffman by Bruce & Joyce Herbert In Memory of Marian Craig Leers & Robert Christiansen by Peter & Lisa Shadek In Memory of William Osgood by the Douglas Family by Janet Heatley by John & Diane Winchell In Memory of Kim Tonkavich by Mark & Susan Babb In Memory of Sandra J. Zietz by Lonny Zietz

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News Bites... •

Save the Date: The LCA Annual Meeting will be held at Boyne City Hall on Friday, July 6th.

Poker Run: Please join us for this year’s annual Poker Run on August 24th with reception at Veteran’s Park Pavillion, Boyne City.

SELC: We are celebrating our 25th year with Students Experience Lake Charlevoix, which will be held on Tuesday & WednesdayMay 15th and 16th.

LCA Committees: A special thank you to the Volunteers on our four committees!

Swimmer’s Itch Survey: Results from our February email survey asking about experiences with swimmer’s itch in Lake Charlevoix: Out of 181 responses, 15 responded that they, a family member or guest had experienced swimmer’s itch and an additional responded with a “maybe.” We also asked about evidence of nutrients entering the lake. 16 responded with a “yes” and 34 with a “maybe.”

In the Works: We are beginning work on a program to address the threat of plastic in our lake by recruiting businesses to reduce or eliminate plastic bags, straws, cartons, etc.

2018 Native Plant Sale: Saturday, May 19th ONLY | Grand Traverse Conservation District. Order online at: native-plant-sale/

Fishing Report: According to local fisherman, this past winter had some of the best ice fishing in years on Lake Charlevoix for perch, walleye and whitefish.

There’s an App for that: You can identify and report invasive species with some new apps. Find out more about these apps at: www.MISIN.msu,edu,, and

Questions?: Please feel free to contact us anytime online at

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Lake Charlevoix Association Spring 2018 Newsletter  
Lake Charlevoix Association Spring 2018 Newsletter