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Manistee Lake, Kalkaska County, Michigan

Honored to be asked to present to the Manistee Lake Lake Association this Memorial Day weekend at their first meeting of 2023. This northern Michigan inland lake of 845 acres hosts a top notch cool water fishery and heathy shallow eutrophic lake. The Lake Association reached about about concerns with the ecology of the lake and possible future projects on the lake.


The impressive part of this community between Kalkaska and Grayling is that over 45 members and guests participated in a morning meeting on the first major summer weekend. Equally impressive is that the Lake Association and the Manistee Lake Lake Improvement Board collaborate and work well together each respecting their unique roles in caring for the lake and surrounding ecosystems that keep this lake vibrant and healthy in the face of a changing world. The climate here has warmed, seasons shifted and winter is highly variable these past few years. Invasive species including Eurasian Water-Milfoil, mussels, beech bark disease, emerald ash borer, and more have been introduced by humans using the lake.


The efforts to educate and promote cleaning boats on entry and exit of the one public boat launch have been enhanced by a Conservation District funded manual boat cleaning system, with plans for future high pressure washing station. It appears that the community has also taken DNR reports and recommendations seriously, including the early spring removal of white suckers which had become over 50% of the fish biomass prior to the netting efforts. Currently the perch population and walleye population are benefiting from the reduced competition for their eggs and foraging according to Rich O'Neil and now Mike Tonello of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.


What concerns the board and lake residents share include the increased nutrient loads in the lake and how that may be changing the lake ecology. The education efforts to inform lake front property owners not to fertilize near the lakeshore and to use phosphorus free formulas when they do so are a positive step in ownership of the man made problem.


Future discussions with thr board might consider how to monitor and assess the shallow north bay, home to the only inlet of the lake. Currently a conifer swamp protects the temperature of the surface and groundwater flowing into the lake from the north. I share the concerns of some residents about the logging operations across the Eastshore Drive as deforestation is known to correlate to increased water temperatures of runoff and soil warming, all which has led to collapse of cold water fisheries in southern Canadian provinces so should be a concern in northern Michigan.


What successes and challenges do the lakes or rivers you live and vacation near? Has your community came together to solve its challenges? Lake Associations can be a great solution when they engage a large number of its residents.


Dr. Scott M Herron May 28, 2023.

Owner and operator


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