Page 1

The Truth about Beach Sanding or “Lakebed Restoration” The creation and maintenance of a sandy beach is often an objective of waterfront property owners. Creating a sandy beach, however, can negatively impact water quality.

Local Protection Activities Local residents and lake association members can help protect a lake from excessive sand dumping by:

Physical Impacts Lakes act as settling basins for surrounding watersheds, collecting and accumulating materials that drain into them. Over long periods of geologic time, as a lake ages, it gradually fills in with sediment. Any activity that adds material to a lake, in addition to the natural supply, will increase the rate of lake filling. The regular addition of sand to a lake or shoreline where it can erode into the lake, accelerates the filling process. If a shoreline does not have a natural beach, a constructed beach will likely require periodic additions of sand. The dumped sand will drift away with shoreline currents. Although the sand disappears from view, it does not leave the lake. The sand is added to the natural sediment load to the lake and hastens the filling and aging process.

• Educating residents, association members, and town officials about the requirement for a state permit to create or enhance a beach, and about the negative impacts of such activities even though they may be legal and permits are available.

Chemical Impacts The mineral composition of sand is not consistent. Although clean, washed beach sand is primarily quartz, which is relatively inert, it can contain other materials. Clay, if present in the deposited sand, can cause reduced water clarity. If phosphorus is present in the dumped sand, it may contribute to increased plant growth in the lake. Recent studies have also found beach sand to be a breeding ground for bacteria. Biological Impacts The physical process of filling in a lake with deposited sand has major biological impacts. Dumping sand along the shore of a lake can smother bottom-dwelling algae and invertebrates, degrade habitat quality, and may disrupt the food chain of higher organisms, including fish. Deposited sand may also destroy spawning or nesting sites for fish. Turbidity from the deposited sand may clog gills and interfere with normal fish behavior. A shallower lake has less volume of water to dilute and assimilate incoming contaminants, including phosphorus. With a constant level of phosphorus input, a lake's productivity (algae growth) will increase as the lake's depth decreases. Also, as a lake becomes shallower, more sunlight hits the lake-bottom and thus, there is greater potential for increased rooted plant growth.

• Encouraging association members to minimize the use of sand dumping by adopting an association policy to that effect. • Working with town officials to adopt a local ordinance to prohibit or restrict the use of sand dumping along lake shores and within lakes. • Reporting illegal sand dumping incidents to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). Continued on page 2

Having a sandy beach is often a lakefront property owner’s wish. However, beach sanding can negatively impact water quality.


Reflections from Our Director Protect Now or Restore Later 426 Bay Street Petoskey, MI 49770 (231) 347-1181 • (231) 347-5928 fax www.watershedcouncil.org Watershed Council Staff

Gail Gruenwald,

Executive Director/Staff Attorney

Administrative Team Lynn D. Buffington, Business Manager

Sandy Schreck, Office Manager

Development/Communications Maureen Stine, Development & Communications Director

Kristy Beyer, Communications Specialist

Policy & Advocacy Team Grenetta Thomassey, Ph. D., Program Director

Jennifer McKay, Policy Specialist

Watershed Protection Team Kevin Cronk, Monitoring & Research Coordinator

Jennifer Gelb, Restoration Ecologist

Board of Directors Michael Esposito, President Trish Woollcott, Vice-President Tony Naylor, Treasurer Bill Stetson, Secretary Tom Adams Wayne Blomberg Norton Bretz Dave Clapp Peter DiMercurio Tom Kennedy Howard Newkirk Kent Reynolds Ham Schirmer Dave Steenstra Al Terry Member of: Michigan Environmental Council and Earth Share of Michigan

2 Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council

It’s the classic conflict – give up short-term profit to reap long-term benefits. Protect natural resources now so we won’t have to invest resources to restore them later. The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is applicable to many situations but Gail Gruenwald none more so than natural resource management. It is far easier, Executive Director cheaper, and more effective from a resource standpoint to prevent the filling of a wetland than to restore the degraded wetland in the future. We know the value of pristine and well managed natural resources. We know they are worth protecting for both environmental and economic reasons. Governments, individuals, and organizations are committing millions of dollars nationwide each year to restore degraded resources based on the overwhelming values they provide. But yet, as a society we continue to support resource destruction at a pace that we cannot possibly afford to restore. One explanation for this resource management conflict is that the initial “cost” of resource protection falls on the individual or corporation where at least currently, the cost of restoration rests with organizations and government agencies, i.e. all of us. For good or for bad, our society doesn’t feel comfortable placing the burden for what is in the public good on the individual, even when it is consistent with local, state, or federal statute. But as we are seeing, our culture is becoming less interested in stepping up to pay for past resource destruction. The irony is that sometimes this destruction is happening concurrently with restoration planning within the same watershed or area -- sometimes even neighboring properties! We are destroying with one hand and restoring with the other. Different pots of money with shifting burdens. I have to say it seems quite crazy and wasteful to me. We cannot continue to put off the environmental costs of our actions. It is irresponsible to continue to mortgage our environmental and economic future for the short term gains of the present. (Sound familiar?) We know the importance of restoration and we are spending considerable resources to this end. We need to stop creating degraded sites which will need future restoration and put our limited resources into the ounce of prevention, negating the need for the pound of cure.

The Truth about Beach Sanding or “Lakebed Restoration” continued from page 1 Permits Filling for the creation and improvement of swimming areas and beaches requires a permit from the MDEQ Water Resources Division. Placement of sand, pea stone, or other clean fill below (waterward) of the water line requires a permit. A reasonable amount of sand may be placed landward of the water line without a permit as long as the sand does not shift the location of the existing ordinary high water mark or the shoreline contour. The sand cannot be placed in a wetland. For more information on permitting and additional information on which local, state, and federal permits may be needed, contact the Inland Lakes and Streams Program at (517) 241-4512 or www.michigan.gov/deq.


The battle to repel the Phragmites invasion continues… Phragmites (common reed) is a tall perennial plant that inhabits wet areas, with both invasive and native varieties occurring in Northern Michigan. The invasive type grows densely, threatening native ecosystems by crowding out native plants, while also posing a nuisance for those living or recreating on our lakes and streams. Following two years of surveys to pinpoint all invasive Phragmites stands along the entire 74-mile Lake Michigan shoreline in Emmet County, action was taken in the fall of 2010 to treat the infestations. Of the 297 stands documented during prior surveys, all but 16 were treated with herbicides in an attempt to halt the invasion and proliferation of invasive Phragmites on our shorelines. Although treatment is generally quite effective, follow-up is necessary to look for and treat any new growth. To this end, Watershed Council staff and interns will be contacting all private property owners where treatment occurred in 2010 to arrange

site visits and assess treatment effectiveness. We will consult with property owners and provide recommendations regarding follow-up treatment where necessary. Protecting the Lake Michigan shoreline from this invasive plant is extremely important due to the number of threatened and endangered species found along the shoreline in Emmet County. During the next few years, we plan to continue our efforts to control invasive Phragmites through further follow-up and a repeat of the comprehensive shoreline survey of Emmet County. If you would like more information about this project or would like to report any known or suspected invasive Phragmites infestations, please contact Kevin at 231-3471181, ext. 109 or e-mail kevin@watershedcouncil.org.

Bay Harbor Update After years of data gathering and interim response actions, there are a few remaining steps left for the remediation efforts at Bay Harbor and East Park. CMS submitted a permit application to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a deep injection well in Emmet County. A final decision on the well is expected in July. At the same point in time, Resort Township instituted a nine month moratorium on injection wells in March 2011.

This effectively halts CMS from pursuing the deep injection well in Emmet County during that time period. A deep injection well could avoid direct discharges into the aquatic ecosystems where mercury and other contaminants can accumulate through ecological processes. Therefore, deep injection is the preferred method of disposal if the well is properly constructed, operated, and maintained and if the wastewater treatment process at the site is unable to treat the leachate to meet water quality standards. It is expected that the long-term option, even after collection, treatment, and disposal of leachate, will result in mercury venting to the Little Traverse Bay, exceeding state water quality standards. Thus, as part of the final long-term remedy, CMS has requested a waiver from the MDEQ. This waiver allows the MDEQ to set aside the state water quality standards if the applicant has controlled the source of ground water contamination and has demonstrated that compliance with the standard is unachievable. Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council does not believe CMS has been able to do this yet and that MDEQ should not grant the waiver at this time. Lastly, the State of Michigan, with EPA in an advisory role, began negotiating an agreement with CMS Land Company that will govern the long-term remedy.

Summer 2011

www.watershedcouncil.org

3


A Journey Upstream into the Burt Lake Watershed What do Crooked Lake, the airport in Pellston, the Pleasantview Swamp, the M-119 corridor near Petoskey State Park, the Minnehaha hills, the University of Michigan Biological Station, and the Marathon gas station in Alanson all have in common? Some portion of the rain and snow falling in all of these areas eventually makes its way to Burt Lake. This precipitation provides the most essential ingredient for sustaining life in the Burt Lake ecosystem: water. Ironically, this same precipitation has the potential to cause great harm to the Burt Lake ecosystem and other surface waters in the watershed. Stormwater runoff generated from rain and snowmelt accrues contaminants, such as nutrients, oil, and heavy metals, as it flows over roads, parking lots, yards, and farm fields. The runoff flows into and pollutes nearby lakes, streams, and wetlands in the Burt Lake Watershed and ultimately reaches Burt Lake. Concern regarding stormwater runoff and other sources of contamination in the watershed prompted the Burt Lake Preservation Association (BLPA) to take a closer look at the quality of water flowing into Burt Lake from rivers and streams. This year, BLPA and the Watershed Council embark together upon a journey upstream into the Burt Lake Watershed,

to monitor water quality and assess impacts from all major tributaries flowing into Burt Lake. In fact, sampling has already begun. Immediately following a large storm event in April, Watershed Council staff were in and on the water of the Crooked River, Maple River, Carp Creek, White Goose Creek, Plymouth Beach Canal, Harbor Woods Canal, the Sturgeon River, and the Indian River, collecting water samples to deliver to laboratories for analysis; monitoring dissolved oxygen and other parameters with a meter; and measuring flow velocity and volume. Twenty one hours of hard work later, the first round of comprehensive water quality monitoring of the Burt Lake tributaries was completed. We will continue to monitor the Burt Lake tributaries in the fall and, quite possibly, for several years to come. The water quality data will be used to assess the relative impacts of the various rivers and streams on Burt Lake (e.g., the amount of phosphorus in pounds per day flowing in from each tributary) and to identify any serious water quality problems and suggest management solutions. Through this holistic, watershed-scale approach, BLPA and the Watershed Council take a big step forward in protecting the water quality and ecosystem health of Burt Lake.

Burt Lake photo by: Sickinger

4 Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council


SeDImeNTATION: The Dirt on Rapid & Grass Rivers The natural function of streams (including rivers and creeks) is to convey water from higher elevations to lower. In the process, sediments within the stream are also transported down the channel. Depending on slope and water volume, streams are able to transport sediments that range in size from minute particles of clay to large boulders. The vast majority of sediments within Northern Michigan streams originate from natural sources. Wind and rain gradually erode the landscape, introducing sediments into the stream. Stream flow alone increases the amount of sediments due to the erosive power of water that scours the stream channel and erodes the banks. However, a portion of sediments in most of our streams can be attributed to soil erosion and sedimentation pollution caused by human activities. Rain and snowmelt wash large quantities of sediments into our streams from tilled agricultural fields, construction sites, roads and trails, and bare and eroding areas in our yards. Estimates from the Little Traverse Bay Watershed Protection Plan of sedimentation pollution show that the City of Petoskey alone contributes approximately 250,000 pounds of sediments every year to the Bear River and Little Traverse Bay. Exacerbating the problem, the proliferation of impervious surfaces (e.g.,

Kevin Cronk teaches volunteers methods for measuring stream discharge. (Stream discharge = Volume per unit of time.)

roads, parking lots, roofs) in urban areas, causes water to flow overland instead of soaking into the ground, which results in unnaturally high volumes of contaminated water flowing into nearby streams and accelerating erosion within the channel. Recently, it has come to light that sedimentation has become a problem in the Rapid and Grass Rivers. Several areas within these river systems have filled with sediments to a notable degree, making navigation diďŹƒcult for boaters and degrading the habitat of fish, insects, and other aquatic life. In response to the sedimentation problems in these rivers, a group of concerned residents and organizations also participating in the Elk River Chain of Lakes Watershed Committee was formed to investigate causes and devise solutions. The Watershed Council is actively involved with this group and will assist this summer with inventories, data collection, and hydrologic modeling. Stay tuned for updates regarding progress of this project. For more information contact Kevin at 231-347-1181, ext. 109.

(Left) Kevin Cronk and Thom Yocum prepare to measure stream discharge.

(Above) Brett Fossell from the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians leads a discussion on the Rapid River and stream hydrology. Summer 2011

www.watershedcouncil.org

5


{

Aquavist ('ä-kw-vist) noun: A member of Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council's Local Activist Network; from Aqua - water, and Activist - one who seeks change through action.

The Aquavists are an informed and empowered activist community dedicated to protecting Northern Michigan's waters. We form a unique rapid response team to act as a grassroots voice for the waters in Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, and Emmet counties. Aquavists provide support to our neighbors, using our centrally-located Base Camp in Cyberspace! Is there an issue in your county that involves water resources and has you worried? Maybe the thing you are concerned about just happened in a neighboring county. Wouldn't you like to hear how it was handled, and what kind of things you might encounter? Bring it to our attention! Let us know what's going on, what questions you have, and what kind of help you need to address the situation. We want to make it easier for you to solve problems and share resources. Becoming a member is easy. Simply send your email request to Grenetta Thomassey, Program Director for the Watershed Council, grenetta@watershedcouncil.org. This will get you on the Aquavist Alert email list, which comes with a pledge: we will not send frivolous emails, just to send you “something.” Our Alerts are sent only when there is a need to share hot issues about which you, as a water activist, will want information. The focus is local, but we do address state or federal matters if they impact your local waters, as well. We also share educational events conducted by Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, as well as by other Aquavist members.

You can get the latest information about what is going on by visiting the Aquavist section of our website, which has a page devoted to each county. The main page has a list of terrific resource links for you at the federal and state level, and each county page has a resource link list for the locals. The Watershed Council has two additional email alert lists. The first is called Great Lakes Champions. This is for folks who live outside of the Great Lakes Basin, but who still want to advocate for the Great Lakes in their home state about federal issues. The second is devoted to the topic of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”. Both of these have water at their focus, and you can subscribe by emailing Grenetta, as well. However, members who are also interested in other environmental issues might want to subscribe to a statewide listserve called “Enviro-Mich” hosted by the Sierra Club – Mackinac Chapter. You can find information about it here: http://mailman.great-lakes.net/mailman/listinfo/enviro-mich

Want to join the Aquavists or add a resource to our website? Contact Grenetta Thomassey at (231) 347-1181 ext. 118 or email her at grenetta@watershedcouncil.org.

Gaps Analysis Finished for Antrim County The Local Ordinance Gaps Analysis project is a review of all the water-related ordinances in our service area of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Cheboygan counties. The purpose is to evaluate them against what should be in place to best protect water resources, and offer recommendations and suggested actions to help local governments strengthen any areas that need to be improved. It covers ordinances at not only the county level, but also for cities, townships, and villages in the county. The work for Antrim County was completed this spring, and we are scheduling presentations to review the results with local officials and help jurisdictions understand how to use this valuable tool. The work for Charlevoix is nearly complete, while Emmet and Cheboygan counties have been started. Download a free copy of the entire book from our website at www.watershedcouncil.org/publications. 6 Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council

}


What’s in Your Stormwater? If you were here in Northern Michigan this spring, you likely remember a number of heavy rainstorms; and if you weren’t here, let’s just say they were the kind that prompt the expression “it’s raining cats and dogs.” With such heavy spring rains, it is easy to see stormwater in action. Stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the land surface. Undeveloped land generates less stormwater because the plants and soils encourage quicker infiltration. On the other hand, as development occurs and roads, driveways, parking lots, rooftops and other impervious surfaces are added to the landscape, more runoff volume is created. This runoff is swiftly carried to our local streams, lakes, wetlands and rivers and can cause flooding and erosion, and wash away important stream habitat. Stormwater runoff also picks up and carries in it many different pollutants that are found on paved surfaces such as sediment, nutrients, bacteria, oil and grease, trash, pesticides and metals. These pollutants can have significant impacts to water quality, habitat and human health. • Sediment can cloud the water and increase water temperatures. Sediment can also destroy aquatic habitats. • Excess nutrients can cause algae blooms. When algae die, they sink to the bottom and decompose in a process that removes oxygen from the water. Fish and other aquatic organisms can't exist in water with low dissolved oxygen levels.

• Bacteria and other pathogens can wash into swimming areas and create health hazards, often making beach closures necessary. • Trash and other debris can seriously harm aquatic life. • Household hazardous wastes like insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil, and other auto fluids can poison aquatic life. In urban areas, stormwater is directed to a curb and gutter system, where it then enters the municipal stormwater system. Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates municipalities in more urban areas through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Stormwater Program, municipalities in Northern Michigan are not mandated. As a result, our municipal stormwater is, for the most part, discharged directly into local surface waters without treatment. In some cases, stormwater structures, such as sumps, are installed at individual inlets to trap sediments. More advanced treatment structures are occasionally installed where need is higher and funding is available. So next time you’re caught in a downpour, take a moment to watch stormwater in action and ask yourself “What’s in my stormwater……?”.

Spring 2011

www.watershedcouncil.org

7


RAIN GARDeNS: Improving Water Quality One Plant at a Time One of the best ways you can reduce you’re stormwater ‘footprint’ is to install a rain garden. If you have never heard of such a garden, it may be best to first explain what a rain garden isn’t: • A water garden or pond • A swampy haven for mosquitos • A place is your yard where it never stops raining

A rain garden is a shallow depression in the ground that is planted with a mix of both wetland and upland plants. When designed and installed properly, rain gardens soak up stormwater where it infiltrates into the ground. As a result, rain gardens can provide numerous benefits, most notably improved water quality, as well as groundwater recharge, habitat creation, and beautification of the landscape. Rain gardens are one of the most appropriate stormwater best management practices (BMP) for residential and other small-scale applications because they don’t require professional engineering; in fact, they are quite simple to design and construct. The basic steps include first determining the best location for the rain garden. Ideally, the location should be at least 10’ from any structures and avoid poorly-drained areas because the soils may not provide enough infiltration. Its size will be determined by its drainage area. Formulas used to calculate the size of a rain garden take into account the total area of rooftops, drive

The rain garden at the Charlevoix Public Library creates an inviting atmosphere for reading or gazing at butterflies as they visit the wide variety of native plants.

ways, patios, sidewalks, and other impervious (non-porous) surfaces. Depth of a rain garden is typically not greater than 12”; its bottom should be level with gentle side slopes to transition between the surrounding grade. Soil preparation is critical; adjustments to the soil may be necessary to achieve good infiltration (ponding should last no longer than 24 hours) and a supportive planting medium. Rain gardens can look any way you choose; from formal to wild or somewhere in between. Native plants are best for rain gardens as they tend to have deep, extensive root systems, which encourage more infiltration and absorb more nutrients. Rain gardens require little care once the plants become established. Like all gardens, plants will need watering during their first season; afterward, water only as necessary. A layer of mulch will help keep weeds from gaining a competitive edge. Pruning, weeding, and other typical garden tasks are all optional, but remember DO NOT FERTILIZE as this defeats the purpose of trying to remove nutrients from stormwater.

Rain gardens are one of the most appropriate stormwater best management practices (BMP) for residential and other small-scale applications. 8 Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council

For more information about rain gardens, including design and implementation, contact Jennifer Gelb at jen@watershedcouncil.org or call 231-3471181, ext. 112.


Keeping Pharmaceuticals Out of Our Waters The Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council has been working in Emmet and Charlevoix Counties with several partners to organize pharmaceutical collection days, education materials, and collection boxes. It has been a successful program but seasonal in nature without permanent collection locations. That will soon change. Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council recently received grants from the Charlevoix County Community Foundation and the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Community Foundation providing the funds needed to purchase and install collection boxes to keep pharmaceuticals out of our waters. This generous funding will allow installation of drop boxes at local law enforcement offices at locations throughout both Charlevoix and Emmet County. This offers a year-round,

more convenient and safe method for citizens to dispose of unwanted medicines. Additionally, local law enforcement have committed their time and efforts to maintain the boxes and properly dispose of the contents for the long term. This is a tremendous contribution to the costs of the project. Other community partners will be vital to the completion of these grants as well. In addition to the Drop-Boxes, both counties offer POD (Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug) Drop-off Days. For more information on upcoming POD collection events or where to properly dispose of pharmaceuticals, visit www.watershedcouncil.org/events.

Bracing for Botulism Summer has only just begun and reports of dead birds on the Lake Michigan shoreline are already drifting in to the Watershed Council, though based on the state of decomposition, it appears that these dead birds are from the wave of avian botulism that struck in the fall of 2010. Outbreaks of avian botulism have been recorded in different areas of the Great Lakes for decades, but the frequency of occurrence and the sheer number of dead birds has increased dramatically in recent years. The northern Lake Michigan region was hit hard in 2007 when an estimated 8,000 dead birds appeared on the shoreline; largely migratory waterfowl such as loons, grebes, and scoters. Bird fatalities dropped sharply in 2008 and 2009; a respite believed due to cooler summers and subsequently, colder water temperatures. Following a warm summer in 2010, dead birds again turned up in large numbers on the Lake Michigan shoreline. From September to November of 2010, we received 56 calls from residents reporting dead birds from an area extending from Antrim County to the Upper Peninsula.

Lakeshore Association to develop a more accurate and thorough avian botulism monitoring program. Workshops will be held in the late summer to train volunteers in avian botulism monitoring methods and assign volunteers to monitor specific shoreline areas. We truly hope that avian botulism does not strike again this year, but we will be fully prepared to track it if it does. If you would like more information regarding avian botulism, the monitoring program, or how to volunteer, please contact Kevin Cronk at (231) 347-1181 ext. 109.

In an effort to track bird fatalities, Watershed Council staff noted the types and numbers reported, as well as locations of the dead birds. However, it quickly became apparent that our tracking efforts were flawed as there was duplication in reporting (i.e., people reporting from the same area) and many shoreline areas were not being monitored. In response, the Watershed Council teamed up with the Emmet County Summer 2011

www.watershedcouncil.org

9


VOLUNTeeR LAKe mONITORING:

Spotlight on Thayer Lake Nestled between Torch and Clam Lakes in Antrim County is a small hidden jewel called Thayer Lake. This quiet, scenic 110-acre water body measures less than one mile in length, a quarter mile in width, and at its deepest reaches approximately 12 feet. In spite of its small size, there are plenty of people that truly care about the lake and have taken steps to protect it. A few years ago, a group of concerned Thayer Lake property owners approached the Watershed Council about monitoring and safeguarding the water quality of their lake. With open arms, we welcomed Thayer into our family of Northern Michigan lakes that are monitored as part of the Tip of the Mitt Volunteer Lake Monitoring program. Engaged members of The Preservation Association of Thayer Lake have attended trainings to learn the ropes of the monitoring program and taken that knowledge onto the lake to monitor and assess their lake’s water quality.

Thayer Lake is a small, hidden gem of Antrim County. Despite its small size, it is truly treasured by the property owners that surround it.

Regarding their experience, volunteer monitor Don Venburg of Thayer Lake comments that “Tip of the Mitt has been instrumental in helping our lake association develop our monitoring program with instruction, supplying necessary equipment, analysis of samples, and interpretation of the results,” adding that “Only by knowing the quality of the water can we be good stewards of our lake.” Another volunteer on Thayer Lake, Dick Nordin also chimed in, saying that “We look forward to a continuing relationship.” Well Dick and Don, so do we; a mutually beneficial relationship where both the Watershed Council and the Lake Association achieve our goal to protect and preserve Thayer Lake. Left: Volunteer Lake Monitors Don Venburg and Dick Nordin, with summer intern Braden Ackerman, enjoying a day on Thayer Lake.

Hot Off the Presses! Please join us in support of the new book, Pristine Waters: Preserving the Chain of Lakes, a rich photographic celebration of the beautiful Elk River Chain of Lakes Watershed. This book of images traces the water emerging in the northern and eastern areas of the watershed through its 55 mile journey through fourteen lakes and several rivers to the mouth of Elk River which empties in the East Arm of Grand Traverse Bay. Pristine Waters is sponsored by the Elk River Chain of Lakes Conservation Network, a supra-organization of many environmental groups, including the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, concerned with protecting the health and vitality of the Elk River Chain of Lakes Watershed. Photography is by Dana Vannoy of Williamsburg, MI. The 56-page soft back book will sell for $20 and is available at Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council in Petoskey and in bookstores and gift shops across our region. All profits from the sale of the book will go to the sponsoring organizations which include: Elk River Chain of Lakes LOON NETWORK, Elk-Skegemog Lakes Association, Friends of Clam Lake, Grass River Natural Area, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Intermediate Lake Association, Six Mile Lake Association, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, Three Lakes Association, and the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay. 10 Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council


experience Lake Charlevoix 2011! Over three-hundred lucky middle school students from across Charlevoix County got an opportunity to board the ‘Beaver Islander’ and hit the open water in this, the 18th annual Experience Lake Charlevoix extravaganza! For nearly two decades Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council has partnered with the Lake Charlevoix Association to hold this annual Middle school students learn about the use and importance of Secchi discs. aquatic field trip for local students. With the amount of schools, students, and volunteers participating, it takes nearly a full year to plan all the details for the field trip each year. With help from our phenomenal volunteers and the U.S. Coast Guard, students rotate through seven learning stations throughout the day while on the boat. Issues such as aquatic invasive species, benthic environments, Secchi discs, pH, and sources of pollution in our watersheds, are just some of the featured themes that students learn about. All of the learning stations help local teachers and schools align with the Grade Level Content Expectations (G.L.C.E.’s) set forth by the Michigan Department of Education. If you are interested in volunteering for the 2012 Experience Lake Charlevoix, please contact Maureen Stine at 231-347-1181 ext. 116. Come join the fun!

Focus on Flora & Fauna Hungerford’s Crawling Water Beetle Beetles (Order Coleoptera) have been described as “the most successful order of animals on earth”, outnumbering vertebrates by a factor of ten. Beetles play important beneficial and detrimental roles in Northern Michigan ecosystems. The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is an invasive beetle that has decimated ash trees in the Great Lakes region. On a more positive note, Northern Michigan is home to several populations of one of the world’s rare beetles – one indicative of natural stream ecosystems – the Hungerford’s water beetle (Brychius hungerfordi). A federal and state endangered species, the Hungerford’s beetle is currently found in only six rivers in Michigan and three locations in Canada. It was first collected from the Maple River (Emmet County) in 1952 by Dr. Paul Spangler, then a Kansas graduate student teaching at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS). Since Dr. Spangler’s discovery, other UMBS Summer 2011

by Dave Clapp researchers have contributed significantly to the understanding and protection of the Hungerford’s beetle. Several aspects of the Hungerford’s beetle story should resonate with Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council members: The importance of protecting stream ecosystems – beetles are found in cool, well-aerated habitats with clean substrate and aquatic plants. The value of citizen monitoring - a larval beetle was recently discovered from another Northern Michigan site (Boyne River) by an North Central Michigan College student. The abundance and uniqueness of Northern michigan aquatic resources –six Michigan systems support populations of this rare animal, found at only a few other locations on earth. For more information visit http://web4.msue.msu.edu/mnfi/ abstracts/zoology/Brychius_hungerfordi.pdf

www.watershedcouncil.org

11


“We get by with a little help from our friends” – -The BEATLES

Friends in the Fight Against Purple Loosestrife

A Purple Loosestrife Beetle Collection Day was held on June 15th. Many thanks to our volunteer beetle collectors.

If you have ever tried to remove purple loosestrife, you know it takes a bit of blood, sweat and tears. For the Galerucella beetle, however, all it takes is a big appetite. The beetles are a native predator to purple loosestrife. They are also one of the best-known examples of successful biological control of an invasive species. Biological control relies on the concept of using one biological organism to control another. In this case, the plant and the beetle, both native to Eurasia, are reunited; the predator, the beetle, controls the purple loosestrife, the prey. In its native range, purple loosestrife is not invasive because it coexists with many different insect species, among them Galerucella beetles, which feed on its buds and leaves. This predation from both the larvae and adult forms of the beetles can result in significant damage to the plant. The struggling plants must then use their limited energy to stay alive as they have fewer resources to put toward reproduction. While other options to control purple loosestrife can be effective as well, they tend to be more labor and resource intensive. Digging out the plants is only practical for small areas. Applying herbicide to plants can potentially harm other plants and wildlife, and usually must be performed again and again. Beetles, on the other hand, are self-sustaining. Once introduced to a site, they often times become established without additional stocking. Beetles can be purchased through commercial vendors or they can be transplanted from a site with an established population to a site with purple loosestrife which lacks Galerucella beetles. The Watershed Council has been coordinating an annual Purple Loosestrife Beetle Collection Day since 2005. Participants include lake and stream association members, resource professionals, and others who are interested in establishing a population of beetles at a purple loosestrife-infested area. Unfortunately, purple loosestrife will never be completely eradicated; however, efforts to control its spread in a safe and effective manner remain important. For more information or to participate in a future beetle collection day, contact Jennifer Gelb at jen@watershedcouncil.org or call 231-347-1181 ext. 112.

12 Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council

Participants collect the tiny, but effective, Galerucella beetles. The beetles will be transplanted to areas around Northern Michigan where purple loosestrife is established. As a biological control, the beetles help to curb the spread of the invasive plant by eating its leaves and buds.


In Their Own Words For thirty-three years our members, friends, staff, and Board of Directors have all worked together, united in our common goals; to continue successes and triumphs in protecting fresh water resources across Northern Michigan. But don’t take our word for it! Here are their ‘stories’ as they answer the question: Why do you

volunteer for the Watershed Council?

“Aer having built a home on an inland lake (Mullett), I felt a love and connection with the water and became really interested in learning more about the lake and how I can work to protect it. I attended the ‘Lake and Stream Leadership Institute’ at MSU and someone approached me and said I should volunteer at Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, so I did. I love keeping up with the latest issues and information and help out any way I can.” Sally Kraegel with grandson Noah Volunteer, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council

Why are you a

board member of the Watershed Council?

“I was offered an “at large” position on the TOMWC board as a result of a serendipitous meeting with a former MDNR colleague at the Antrim County Petoskey Stone Festival. I chose to accept the offer for a number of reasons: • As a research biologist with the MDNR Fisheries Division and lifelong angler, I have a strong professional and personal interest in the aquatic resources of northern Michigan. • I felt a need to get out of my professional “comfort zone” and contribute a little more of my personal time to resource protection and promotion (beyond simply enjoying the abundance of Northern Michigan!). • I have two young sons and would like to set a good example for them, as well as work to make sure that quality aquatic resources are available for them to enjoy. I’ve enjoyed my time on the board thus far, and look forward to continuing my service to the TOMWC.” Why are you a

Dave Clapp and his children. Board Member, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council

member of the Watershed Council?

“Our family’s reasons for joining Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council are because we love the water, and want to support the organization which we view as the ‘good shepherds’ of our freshwater resources. Water is so much of the reason many of us live in Northern Michigan. While we keep busy with professional and personal lives, you keep busy safeguarding our lakes and rivers. We have a cottage on Burt Lake and want to stay aware of the rising issues and health of our lake. We fully enjoy your lake Profiles and just received our 2011 Burt Lake Profile detailing the lake chemistry. Plus the events you implement are wonderful! e Wednesdays on the Water aquatic tours provide those intimate encounters with nature that are so positive and enjoyable. We feel that the Watershed Council is scientifically helpful and always providing great opportunities for learning through the year.” Bennett & Elliot Langton

Summer 2011

e Langton Family: Scott, Cynthia, Bennett, and Elliot www.watershedcouncil.org

13


Welcome New Members

February 15, 2011 - June 9, 2011

The future of our waters and our quality of life ultimately depend on what we do today to protect them. In order to continue to protect and enhance water quality in our region, the Watershed Council depends upon individual members, like you, for strength and financial support. We would like to thank all of our members for your continued support and extend a special welcome to our new members. Back to Wellness Linda Burgert Mr. and Mrs. Robert Conklin Marcia and Stephen De Silva Mr. Ralph F. Fodell Fraternal Order of Eagles 1282 Full Circle Contracting Judicial Management Systems, Inc.

Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Knickerbocker Mr. Joseph Luther Mr. and Mrs. Darryl Pfister Presque Isle Electric Co-op Rogers Jewelry Dr. and Mrs. Bradford S. Rowe Mr. and Mrs. Laurence W. Schmidt Silent Sport Lodge Bed & Breakfast

Spray's Landscape Services, Inc. Straits Area Audubon Society Straits Area Chiropractic Straits Area Federal Credit Union Sturgeon For Tomorrow Black Lake Chapter Walstrom Marine

Memorials and Honorariums

In Memory of:

In Honor of:

Memorials and Honorariums are a meaningful way to celebrate the memory of a loved one or pay tribute to somone who cares about the preservation of our beautiful water resources.

Martha Drake Mrs. Harry C. Porter

Jennifer Gelb Northern Michigan Master Gardener Association

Frank C. Granstra Mrs. Valerie Granstra Ivanelle E. Liphart/Annette Aken

Raven Hill Discovery Center

Volunteers We could not accomplish the many tasks and projects that need to be done without the help of our volunteers!

RSVP Volunteers Sharon Brown Marge May Janis Cole

Gloria Krusell Joan Rasmussen

Other Volunteers Sally Kraegel Data Entry Claire Rassmussen Gaps Analysis Research Ed Strzelinski Pharmacist for Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug Drop-off Days. Scott Smith Skilled assistance with the Little Traverse Bay Stormwater Initiative Proposal Our many Volunteer Lake Monitors and Volunteer Stream Monitors!

Thank You Roast & Toast of Petoskey for providing delicious fresh coffee for our meetings and events. North By Nature Ecological Landscapes for maintaining the Freshwater Center’s landscape.

14 Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council

Above: American Toad (Bufo americanus) Photo by Kristy Beyer

Join our facebook “Group” Recieve up-to-date alerts on important issues as well as invitations to upcoming events and volunteer opportunities simply type “Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council” in the search area. It’s news you can use.


Summer Events Additional details available at www.watershedcouncil.org/events July 11

32nd Annual Meeting at NCMC Program: Hydraulic Fracturing Panel

July 15 - 16

Whale of a Sale Irish Boat Shop Storage Building Fairview Square, Harbor Springs

July 30 August 1

Emmet County POD Day

(Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug Drop-Off Day)

Lake Michigan Summit Harbor Springs, City Hall

August 8

Lake Michigan Summit Charlevoix, Public Library

September 10 Charlevoix County POD Day (Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug Drop-Off Day)

Join us for a

Summer “WOW” TOUR (Wednesdays on the Water) Additional details available at www.watershedcouncil.org/events Pre-registration required. Limited space available.

July 6

Welcome Aboard Summer Intern, Lucy Xu

Grass River Walking Tour w/Jennifer Gelb

July 13

Jordan River Paddle w/Wil Cwikiel

July 20

Mullett Lake Pontoon Tour w/Jennifer Gelb and Grenetta Thomassey

August 3

Crooked Lake Paddle

August 10

Carp Creek Gorge Walking Tour

w/Maureen Stine

w/Kevin Cronk and guest Mike Supernault, from the Burt Lake Preservation Association

August 17

Black Lake Paddle w/Maureen Stine

Summer intern Lucy Xu studies at the University of Michigan, majoring in environmental studies. Passionate about environmental and watershed protection, she helps collect water samples and monitor water quality from streams and lakes in North Michigan. e above picture was taken when Lucy was doing a road-stream crossing survey at Rapid River. Summer 2011

www.watershedcouncil.org

15


Adopt-a-Beach Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council is pleased to share our ongoing partnership with our friends from the Alliance for the Great Lakes and help drum up local support for this year’s, “Adopt-A-Beach” International Coastal Cleanup. In Northern Michigan we are fortunate to live around some of the most beautiful beaches on Earth. Stewardship programs such as this are creating positive changes for our Great Lakes.

What? Beach and shoreline cleanups involving thousands of volunteers to remove trash and collect data on their findings.

When? Saturday, September 17, 2011, 9 a.m. to noon Where? Beaches and tributaries along Great Lakes coastal areas in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Who? You! Cleanup volunteers are individuals, families, schools, community, scouting and religious groups.

Why? Have fun giving back to the places you care about. e Great Lakes' shoreline and beaches are in our backyards. e event is more than just a cleanupit's a celebration of the Great Lakes! e information gathered is used to make positive changes for our Great Lakes.

e Adopt-A-Beach program is not just about litter. It’s about the need for clean lakes, shorelines, and waterways. It is about residents working together to create permanent solutions to shoreline debris. Our lakes and shorelines have been a dumping ground for man-made debris for thousands of years. e harmful effects of litter are severe: negative economic and aesthetic impacts, harm and risk to human health and safety, injury and death to animals through entanglement and ingestion, and habitat destruction. Additionally, the Adopt-A-Beach program fosters feelings of pride and ownership as local residents begin to care for “their” beach and it gives people of all ages the opportunity to learn about and actively participate in conserving coastal resources. For more information on how you can get involved with September’s International Coastal Clean-Up in our service area contact Maureen Stine at (231) 3471181 ext. 116. For information on the Alliance for the Great Lakes Michigan office, contact Jamie Cross at, (616) 850-0745.

SAVE THE DATE! September 17, 2011, 9 a.m. to noon

Our Mission The Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council speaks for Northern Michigan's waters. We are dedicated to protecting our lakes, streams, wetlands, and ground water through respected advocacy, innovative education, technically sound water quality monitoring, thorough research and restoration actions. We achieve our mission by empowering others and we believe in the capacity to make a positive difference. We work locally, regionally and throughout the Great Lakes Basin to achieve our goals.

Visit our website for additional information, upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

www.watershedcouncil.org

Current Reflections - Summer 2011  

Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council's newsletter entitled Current Reflections is published three times per year. This issue discusses Lakebed...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you