In 1961, Dr. Clifford R. Humphrys, Professor of Resource Development at Michigan State University, invited representatives of about 40 lake associations and representatives of State and Federal agencies to attend a discussion of lake problems of inland lakes. Forty problems of inland lakes were identified but only 5 had high agreement. They were:
- Aquatic Plant Control
- Water Quality
- Lake Level Control
- Beach Improvement
- Poor Fishing
The subsequent discussion period emphasized the fact that several lake associations had successfully solved their problems but many had failed. It appeared obvious that the success stories, if publicized, would help other associations. It was also obvious that a State Association of local lake and stream associations could best meet this need. As an outcome of this meeting, MICHIGAN LAKE AND STREAMS ASSOCIATIONS was formed. Five years later (1966) the organization had grown to 52 local lake association members. Forest A. Smith of East Lansing was elected the first president of this fledgling organization. Herschel B. Rochelle of Hastings was elected president for 1964 and 1965. Henry Westerville of Portage was elected president in 1966 and held that office through 1972. Other persons who have served the organization during the next twenty years were: Sandra Mriscin, Wayne Clark, Paul Clark, Cecile Harbour, Robert McAlpine, Bonnie Van Ness, John Forester, Kevin Walters, Ray Bier Jr., Bob Hoisington, Richard Brown, Dennis Zimmerman, Sue Vomish, Dick Morey, and Mike Gallagher. The current president is Dave Maturen of Vicksburg, Michigan.
THE MICHIGAN RIPARIAN MAGAZINE BECOMES THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE ASSOCIATION IN 1965.
The first issue of The Michigan Riparian magazine was published in l965-66, and was described as follows:
“This is our first issue of The Michigan Riparian. It has taken a long time to give birth to a publication which is suited to the needs of water-front organizations and individual riparian owners, alike. We think we have taken a giant step toward our goal. Much time has been spent in the development of a basic format and in the selection of balanced news items of interest to the many riparian interests around the state. We feel that there is great need to inform riparian owners of trends in the management of lakes and streams, and of legislation either existing or proposed that affects the rights of waterfront owners. We know that the interest exists and want to furnish a news media that will reach as many owners as possible.”
The continuous publication of The Michigan Riparian magazine as the official publication of Michigan Lake & Stream Associations, Inc. during the next seven years (1965-1972) , played a significant role in the growth in membership in MLSA. In 1972, the magazine was incorporated as a separate non-profit corporation, The Michigan Riparian, Inc. The goals of both non-profit corporations are similar and both worked together to promote each other.
Henry Westerville of Portage, Michigan became the managing editor of the Riparian magazine in 1966 and served in that capacity for the next ten years. Robert Charles of Coldwater, and owner of Eagle Printing Company of Coldwater, became the editor and publisher of the Riparian in 1977 and continued until his retirement in 1979. In November 1979, the Riparian Board appointed Don Winne as Editor and Publisher. In 1992, the Board named Mr. Winne to the newly created office of Chief Executive Officer.
The Riparian magazine experienced rapid growth in the number of subscribers during the ten year period of 1972-1982 when Cecile Harbour served as Circulation Manager of the magazine. The editing, printing, and circulation of the magazine is now the responsibility of the CEO.”
Ten thousand copies of the magazine are printed quarterly and mailed to members of 250 lake associations and over 300 individuals subscribers.
MLSA ADOPTS OFFICIAL EMBLEM — 1978
The Board of Directors of the Michigan Lake & Stream Associations adopted this design at its spring 1978 meeting in Clare as the official emblem for MLSA. It was to be used on programs, letterheads, and in various other ways to promote MLSA throughout the State. The MLSA emblem was designed by Margaret Winne.
MLSA REVISES BY-LAWS TO ESTABLISH THE OFFICE OF EXECUTIVE SECRETARY — 1979.
In 1979, the Board of Directors of MLSA decided that the organization needed an Executive Secretary. The BY-LAWS were amended to establish the office of Executive Secretary and Don Winne was appointed to that position. In 1980, the Board changed the title to Executive Director. Don Winne served in that capacity until his retirement in February of 2009. Scott Brown of Grass Lake, Michigan was appointed Executive Director upon the retirement of Mr. Winne. Donald Winne passed away at the age of 92 on August 3rd, 2010. Melissa DeSimone of Kalamazoo, Michigan was appointed Executive Director in 2019, one year after the retirement of Mr. Brown in 2018.
MLSA ESTABLISHES COMPUTER CENTER — 1989
In 1989, Bruce and Pearl Bonnell computerized all of the business procedures of the corporation. This was done at their home (which we call the “Northern Office” of the corporation) in Long Lake, Michigan in Iosco County. In 1992 MLSA purchased its own computer system. This has made it possible to provide a quarterly newsletter and improved and more efficient handling of the business operations of the corporation.
MLSA BOARD ESTABLISHES THE OFFICE OF DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS – 1992 through 2009
In 1990 Pearl Bonnell, the Treasurer of MLSA, agreed to work as ‘Director of Operations’ and to assist the Executive Director with the expanding responsibilities of that office. In February of 1992, the MLSA Board amended the BY-LAWS to provide for the office of Director of Operations and appointed Pearl Bonnell to that office. Ms. Bonnell served in that capacity until her retirement in March of 2009. The MLSA Board of Directors eliminated the position of Director of Operations in April of 2009.
MLSA MOVES INTO NEW OFFICE QUARTERS — 1992 through 2009
For thirty years the various offices associated with Michigan Lake and Stream Associations were located in the private homes of the President or the Executive Director. In February of 1992, the Board of Directors approved renting office space located at 124 1/2 Main Street in Three Rivers. The rental and other office costs are shared equally by MLSA and The Michigan Riparian. The Three Rivers office was closed in January of 2009.
MLSA / MICHIGAN LAKES AND STREAMS FOUNDATION AND THE MICHIGAN RIPARIAN MAGAZINE MOVES INTO NEW CENTRAL OFFICE – 2009
Following the closure of the Three Rivers office in January 2009, MLSA and The Michigan Riparian opened a new joint Central office in Stanton, Michigan (Montcalm County) at 304 East Main Street. Ms. Sharon Wagner of Stanton, Michigan was hired by the MLSA Board of Directors as Central Office manager in June of 2009. The Michigan Lakes and Streams Foundation Board of Directors appointed Franz Mogdis as Publisher upon the retirement of Mr. Donald Winne in February 2009. Sharon Wagner was appointed as Editor of The Michigan Riparian Magazine in early 2010 by the Michigan Lakes and Streams Foundation Board of Directors upon the resignation of Ms. Jennifer Churchill. Ms. Carol McVicker of Pentwater, Michigan was hired by MLSA and The Michigan Riparian to assist with membership processes and to help manage subscription listings in early 2010. This office was moved an additional time to 300 N. State St. Suite A, Stanton Michigan 48888.
ANNUAL CONFERENCES AND REGIONAL SEMINARS
MLSA has held annual conferences since its inception in 1961. (The 40th Annual Conference held at Boyne Mountain, Boyne Falls, Michigan on April 27-29, 2001.) In March of 1991, MLSA held the first of 11 Regional Seminars that were held during that year. The Annual Conference was moved from the fall to the spring in 1995, and spring seminars were moved to the fall. It was felt by members of the MLSA Board of Directors that there would be greater carry-over of the enthusiasm and application of the ideas generated, into lake projects and activities. The spring time has also generated a greater response from businesses and corporations who exhibit their services and products for waterfront homeowners.
MLSA held its 50th Annual Conference on April 15 & 16, 2011 at Boyne Mountain Resort in Boyne Falls, Michigan. Mr. Ralph Bednarz, retired MDEQ manager of the Michigan Clean Water Corps, delivered the annual banquet keynote address and was honored with a plaque recognizing his thirty three year career of service of Michigan’s water resources. Ms. Jean Roth of South Branch, Michigan, MLSA CLMP Program Administrator, was also honored as the 2011 recipient of the MLSA Masters Jacket award in recognition of her outstanding service and dedication.
MLSA has continued to have yearly conferences with much success. The most recent conferences have taken place at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, Michigan.
MLSA ESTABLISHES WATER CLARITY MEASURING PROGRAM USING THE SECCHI DISK — 1992 through 2004
In 1991, MLSA established its own Secchi Disk Water Clarity measurement program with the help of volunteers on 50 lakes. In 1992, under a Memorandum of Understanding with the DNR, MLSA assumed the administration of the DNR Self-Help (Secchi) program that was started in 1974. Participation in this program has increased to 197 lakes in 2001. Data from lakes that take a minimum of eight weekly measurements are recorded in the DEQ data bank and when a lake has been in the program for eight consecutive years, the DEQ prepares a graph showing the trends of the clarity readings. Other water quality parameters have been added to the program including spring and late summer phosphorus, chlorophyll a, dissolved oxygen, rapid algal survey, fish size growth rate, and aquatic plant identification. The DEQ prepares an annual report which includes the names of all lakes in each testing program, together with test results in each parameter. This report is printed by MLSA, and a copy mailed to each participating lake association.
MLSA RECEIVES EPA GRANT – 1993 – 1995
Another important factor in the growth of MLSA was the receipt of an EPA grant through the auspices of the North American Lake Management Society. The amount of this grant was $37,000.00 for a period of two years. The money was used to underwrite the costs of a Citizen Clean Lake Monitoring Program. A working manual was developed to assist each lake association in carrying out the provisions of the contract developed between MLSA and NALMS. Seventeen lake associations opted to be in the program. Copies of the manual for lake monitors were printed and are available to lake associations who want to monitor their lake.
SCIENCE ADVISORY COMMITTEE APPROVED BY BOARD – 1995
As the interest of waterfront property owners was to learn more about their lake and to have reliable water quality data, the members of the MLSA Board felt that it needed opinions from scientists who had published articles dealing with lake ecosystems. The Board approved Dr. Niles Kevern, Professor Emeritus, MSU, Dr. Darryl King, Professor of Fish and Wildlife, MSU, and Dr. Robert King, Professor of Biology, CMU. Dr. Niles Kevern was elected Chairman of the committee. The members serve on a volunteer basis. Since that time the Committee has grown and changed. The last group as of 2001 had the following membership:
The MLSA Science Advisory Committee was chaired by Ms. Jennifer Jermalowicz-Jones, M.S. of Grand Haven, Michigan. The Committee wrote a lakefront property owner basic lake science manual that will serve to fill the void between inland lake residents and the basic science that characterizes and defines their inland lake’s quality and health.
GOVERNOR JENNIFER GRANHOLM CREATES THE MICHIGAN CLEAN WATER CORPS – 2004
The Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps), an MDEQ led collaborative partnership involving the Great Lakes Commission, the Huron River Watershed, Michigan Lake and Stream Associations and the Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, was created by Executive Order in 2004 to enable and support Michigan citizen water quality monitors of inland lakes and streams. Michigan Lake and Stream Associations was chosen to serve as the Program Administrator for the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program, the successor to the Self-Help program. The MiCorps Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program is the nations second largest volunteer inland lakes monitoring program with approximately 230 lakes enrolling in the program annually. The current program allows volunteer monitors to perform secchi disk, spring and summer total phosphorus, chlorophyll-a, dissolved oxygen and temperature, aquatic plant identification as well as Exotic Plant Watch monitoring parameters. Mr. Bill Dimond of the MDEQ was appointed program manager of MiCorps upon the retirement of Mr. Ralph Bednarz in December of 2010. This program continued until 2019 before funding was interrupted for the 2020 monitoring season. Ms. Jean Roth currently serves as the MLSA Program Administrator for the program.
MLSA CHANGES NAME TO MICHIGAN LAKE STEWARDSHIP ASSOCIATIONS AND FINALLY SETTLES ON MICHIGAN LAKES AND STREAMS ASSOCIATION — 2018-2019
The board voted in 2018 to change the name of the organization to Michigan Lake Stewardship Associations since there had not been a strong history of stream organizations as members. This change caused some confusion among long standing members and partners who knew us since 1961 as Michigan Lake and Stream Associations and had often referred to the organization simply as, Michigan Lakes and Streams. The board decided an additional change closer to our original name would satisfy the confusion and our history, so in September of 2019 the board settled on Michigan Lakes and Streams Association, Inc.
MLSA MOVES OUT OF STANTON OFFICE — 2020
In an effort to cut costs the office space of MLSA and The Michigan Riparian was moved into storage and the executive director’s house. The association started using a PO Box in Kalamazoo, Michigan for easier access by the board and executive director.