Studying and Supporting the Region’s Sport Fishing Industry

June 14, 2015 08:52

June 4, 2015

Joe Nohner with big fish

Joe Nohner with Muskie

As one of the most highly prized game fish in the Upper Midwest, muskellunge (also known as muskies) and northern pike help support a $20 billion sport fishing industry. Facing declines in natural reproduction, a team of scientists, including a Michigan State University inland fisheries researcher, has developed a list of research and management needs to help keep the fish — and the industry — thriving.

“Muskies and northern pike are the largest predatory fishes in this region, making them high-profile fisheries,” explained Joe Nohner, doctoral student in fisheries at the MSU Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability. “By supporting strong pike and muskellunge populations, we can provide better fishing opportunities and a strong recreational fishing industry.”

Working with scientists from across the region, Nohner helped prioritize research and management needs for muskie and northern pike, including:

  • identifying and conserving the fishes’ spawning habitats
  • improving knowledge and management of the effects of fishing on trophy-sized fish
  • understanding how stocking and fishing influence the genetic makeup of these fish populations

According to Nohner, most of the past research and management programs have focused on adult fish and protection from overfishing. While managers and anglers focus on adult fish populations, some fisheries have been undercut by declining natural reproduction. Fish populations have been kept up through stocking, so in many areas the fishery isn’t self-sustaining.

“We believe we need a more holistic approach to managing these fishes,” Nohner said. “We want to include genetics, habitat needs at all life stages, and include the effects of humans in the equation. It’s somewhat daunting, but new technologies will help us meet the challenge.”

Nohner has started tackling part of the challenge himself, creating a computer mapping technique to predict the location of muskie spawning habitats.

By studying 28 lakes in northern Wisconsin, he and his colleague found that muskies preferred spawning in bays with moderately sloping lake bottoms and that the fish also preferred not to spawn along shorelines with houses or other development.

“Lakes with more development are less likely to be muskie spawning habitats,” Nohner said. “Fisheries managers, county commissioners and lakeshore property owners may have to consider where development is located and how that will affect the fish.

“We found that muskie spawning site selection may be more complex than previously thought,” he continued. “There is not just one particular characteristic that makes the fish gravitate to an area for spawning. There seem to be several factors that affect the location, which is why we need a modelling program to help identify those critical habitats.”

The paper “Muskellunge and Northern Pike Ecology and Management: Important Issues and Research Needs” was published in the June 2015 issue of Fisheries. Besides Nohner, other authors are Derek Crane, John Farrell and Kevin Kapuscinski, of the State University of New York-Syracuse; Loren Miller, of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; James Diana, of the University of Michigan; and John Casselman, of Queen’s University.

The paper “Muskellunge spawning site selection in northern Wisconsin and a GIS-based predictive model” was published in the February 2015 issue of the North American Journal of Fisheries Management. Nohner and Diana are the authors. The research was funded by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Musky Clubs Alliance of Wisconsin, the University of Michigan and the Alvan Macauley Fellowship.

MLSA 54th Annual Conference A Resounding Success – Thank You!

June 2, 2015 15:59

Since 1961, Michigan Lake & Stream Associations has conducted 54 consecutive annual conferences each with a theme dedicated to learning more about becoming better stewards of our vast treasure of inland waters. On Friday and Saturday, May 1st and 2nd, 2015, we were again pleased to welcome over two hundred seventy folks who made the trek to Boyne Country to learn more about “Managing Aquatic Invasive Species in Inland Lakes”.

This year’s annual conference featured many outstanding presentations that ranged in topic from organizing a “Clean Boats, Clean Waters” event to creating a community-based “lake protection” group as well as exploring the importance of collaborative partnerships and the latest science and technology based strategies for the control and management of aquatic invasive plants and animals.

A heart-felt thank you is extended from ML&SA to each of our outstanding speakers and exhibitors who devoted considerable time and effort to the success of our annual conference – your support is greatly appreciated!

The Friday night annual banquet featured a colorful and informative presentation by Archibald Jones (as portrayed by Dr. Stacy Daniels of the Crystal Lake and Watershed Association). We greatly appreciate Stacy’s entertaining and informative contribution to our annual banquet – his enthusiasm and storytelling ability are unrivaled! Thank you Stacy for your unique contribution to the success of our 54th annual conference!

We were also proud to have conferred the ML&SA Master’s Jacket award to each of our long time pro-active volunteers Beth and Randy Cook of Morley, Michigan. Beth and Randy have selflessly contributed thousands of hours of their exceptional organizational skills and hard work to improving our organization and our ability to serve the needs of our statewide membership. Thank you Beth and Randy – your contributions to ML&SA are appreciated more than you will ever know!

ML&SA is pleased to announce that our 2015 “Riparian of the Year” commendation  was awarded to Lon Nordeen, Vice-President of the Pleasant Lake Property Owners Association (Washtenaw County) at this year’s annual banquet.  Lon’s dedication and hard work while successfully engaging and educating his lake community about the need to work together in assembling the critical social, scientific and technical resources required to preserve and protect Pleasant Lake in the face of an onslaught of aquatic invasive species have provides a model for other lake associations to emulate.  Thank you Lon for your outstanding leadership!

We were also honored to have presented a very special “thank you award” and plaque to Jane Herbert of Michigan State University Extension in recognition of her many years of enthusiastically supporting Michigan Lake and Stream Associations programs and events.  Jane will be concluding her time with MSU Extension in February 2016 following a highly successful career dedicated to pro-actively supporting the preservation of Michigan’s freshwater legacy.  Thank you Jane for all you have done for our lakes and streams and for Michigan Lake and Stream Associations! Good luck and happy travels!

The entire ML&SA family would like to provide a hearty “thank you” to all who generously contributed to the success of our 54th Annual Conference!

Please “save the dates” of Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 28th, 29th & 30th, 2016 to attend the 2nd Michigan Inland Lakes Convention to be held at Boyne Mountain Resort.  More information regarding next year’s Lakes Convention will become available later this year, so stay “tuned” to .

Michigan Lake & Stream Associations offers a heartfelt thank you to the following companies for their generous support of our  54th Annual Conference.  Your participation contributed to making this conference one of our most successful ever!

Aqua-Weed Control

Applied Biochemists

Crary Weedroller

Cygnet Enterprises

GEI Consultants

Marvin Okun Agency

Organic Pond


Progressive ae

Savin Lake Services

Spicer Group


Wightman & Associates



“The Comedy of Crystal Lake” – New Book by Dr. Stacy Daniels Now Available

May 31, 2015 16:33

The Comedy of Crystal Lake“The “Comedy” of Crystal Lake” – Serendipitous Sauntering            

by Dr. Stacy Daniels
Crystal Lake and Watershed Association

“The Comedy of Crystal Lake” is a new book by Dr. Stacy Leroy Daniels, a native “littorian” – “historian” of Benzie Co.  It is based on the real-life story of the lowering of Crystal Lake, which resulted from an attempt to build a slack-water canal to nearby Lake Michigan.  It is a sequel to “The Tragedy of Crystal Lake”, a classic pamphlet by William L. Case (1922).

The “Tragedy” / “Comedy” is a well-known story of the lowering of Crystal Lake, in Benzie Co., MI.  Archibald Jones founded the Benzie County River Improvement Co. in 1873, to improve waterlots on Crystal Lake, remove obstructions and construct slack-water canals between Crystal Lake and Lake Michigan, and build a steamboat to facilitate shipping of settlers and goods to and from the interior of the County to the nearby port of Frankfort.  Ensuing events were unique among large inland lakes of NW Lower Michigan.  The dramatic lowering of a very large inland lake by 20 feet and creation of a 21-mile perimeter of sandy beach insured the future of Crystal Lake as a prime recreational area.

The role of Archibald Jones, “the man who (allegedly) pulled the plug at Crystal Lake”, involved travels of a typical American family in the 1800’s, searching for opportunities, experiencing adventures, and facing vicissitudes posed by the opening of the American Midwest.  A “Tragedy” depicts a protagonist overcome by superior force or circumstance; a “Comedy” depicts a laughable person involved in a blunder without pain or disaster. The lowering of Crystal Lake has elements of both – a serious beginning with a happy ending with perceived foibles of human nature and realized unintended consequences of bold venture.

It is this author’s intent neither to disparage the “Tragedy”, nor to exalt the “Comedy”.  The “Tragedy” occurred during 1873, and its “tragic” aspects were felt well into the early 1900’s.  The transition into the “Comedy”, with its “comedic” aspects, is of more recent interpretation and still continues.  The former remains forever indelibly inscribed in our collective memories; the latter only embellishes upon its virtues.

Told in two parts, the “Comedy” chronicles a seemingly ill-fated historical event that is now considered “so epochal in its nature as to have had a permanent bearing upon the development and future of Benzie County”.  The story also contains many sidelights and myriad viewpoints of diverse characters and sundry locales.

 Part I. The Lowering of Crystal Lake is a critical review of recorded legends, contemporary accounts, and historical records that include: the original Stock Certificate, the Articles of Association, the Map of Proposed Improvements, and the Court Proceedings for the Benzie County River Improvement Company from the 1870’s.

 Part II. The Biography of Archibald Jones is an accounting of the accomplishments of an entrepreneur and “bootstrap engineer” enjoined in the settlement of a new territory filled with challenges and opportunities.

Be prepared for “rediscoveries”: how Archibald Jones came to Crystal Lake; his plans for “three” canals; the timeline of the “Comedy”; who named of Crystal Lake; the century of debate over control of the level of Crystal Lake; and “Sidelights” of myriad individuals, events, and subjects, with contemporary philosophy on the sense of place and environmental consequence of being at Crystal Lake.

The combined “Tragedy” / “Comedy” exemplifies serendipity – a fortuitous occurrence of a “chance” event with beneficial results derived from unintended consequences of the intended action.  The “Tragedy” / “Comedy” of Crystal Lake has another (serendipitous?) association.  Sir Horace Walpole, who coined the word, serendipity, wrote in a letter to Horace Mann (31 Dec 1769), “I have often said, and oftener think, that this world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel – a solution of why Democritus laughed and Heraclitus wept.”

It is often said, “One can’t tell a book by its cover”, (or a “tragedy” from a “comedy” ?) metaphorically implying that worth should not be prejudged by outward appearance or first impressions.  A cover should be an “attention grabber” to lure the reader onward to be captivated by its contents.  (The dust cover of the “Comedy” should gather “attention”, not “dust”!)

What then is the proper literary blend to author the contents of the “Comedy”?  “Lake” books are variously formatted to visionally tell interesting stories of people, their environment, and related events.  A few tell all in prose with no illustrations; others use mostly pictures with limited captions; while still others are anthologies of short stories, but not histories.  Impressions must be left in the minds of readers who process content related to their personal experiences.  Hopefully, the “Comedy” strikes a proper balance between entertainment value and detailed archival research of an event to make an interesting read for both the casual and serious reader.  The book is directed toward young adults and mature audiences, who have surmised that a special and unique “spirit of place” exists for Crystal Lake and its Watershed.

The Rev. Harlow Spencer Mills (1846 – 1931), an astute observer of the Benzie community, and author of “The Making of a Country Parish” (1914), wrote a thoughtful introduction to the original “Tragedy”, and also suggested a repository of “Crystalana” to preserve the history, literature, and traditions of Crystal Lake.

 “I suppose that every community has an interesting history, if only it were fully known and truly told—a history that would be well worth recording because the community is composed of human beings, and every human life is fraught with intense interest.  But it would seem that for some reason this Crystal Lake region has more than its share of charming scenes and attractive localities, and that in its early settlement and its succeeding history there has been an unusual number of stirring events.  Perhaps it seems so only because we know about them, but be that as it may, they are well worth describing and recording.”  – Rev. H.S. Mills, “The Benzie Book”. Benzie Banner 28(12), 1 (16 Nov 1922); Ibid, “Crystalana”, BB 29(36), 1-2 (04 Aug 1927).

The present author had no intention of creating a “Benzie Book”, i.e. a repository of “Crystalana”, to preserve the history, literature, and traditions of Crystal Lake.  There are many other authors who have contributed with flowing text and colorful illustration toward that goal.  But in the end, the “Comedy” inevitably evolved to include some “Crystalana”.

 Why write about a singular esoteric event, the “Tragedy” / “Comedy” of Crystal Lake?  All northern Michigan lakes share commonalities of geological histories, physiological features, hydrological behaviors; climatic influences, visual beauties, and recreational pursuits.  Our visions are of clear waters and bright sunshine glittering from gentle waves lapping against pristine beaches ringed by wooded hillsides, scented of pine, exuding a spirit of place.  We escape the congestion and “hustle-bustle” pace of our cities by vacationing at our special lake to experience carefree living, roughing it, returning to the simple life, and communing with nature.

Peculiar to Michigan were needs to improve the land-locked entrances of drowned river mouths along the eastern shoreline of Lake Michigan (the West Coast of MI) by creating “harbors of refuge” for shipping, and inland waterways to access the interior of the State.  Other “improvement projects” included canals, dams, locks, docks, and/or other appurtenances for transporting timber, powering saw and grist mills, and irrigating newly cleared fields.  Many natural river outlets were straightened and new channels dredged to navigable depths to connect nearby inland lakes by “slack-water” canals to Lake Michigan.  These included: Saugatuck, Holland, Grand Haven, Muskegon, White Lake, Pentwater, Ludington, Manistee, Portage, Frankfort, Charlevoix, and Petoskey.  The attempt to connect a canal from Frankfort Harbor to Crystal Lake proved to be the most ambitious of all sui generis.

One lake’s uniquity is an object lesson to be extrapolated to other lakes.  Uniquity of opportunity brought Archibald Jones to Crystal Lake.  The Benzie County River Improvement Co. improved upon Nature, and increased both uniquity and commonality for Crystal Lake.  In 1873, the level of Crystal Lake was dramatically lowered in an attempt to construct a slack-water canal between it and Lake Michigan.  Most other canals had differences in level of only a few feet, the original level of Crystal Lake was 38 feet above Lake Michigan which made it especially attractive for a canal.  Unfortunately, the whitecap waves of Crystal Lake washed out a temporary dam before a permanent canal could be completed.  The level of the Lake dropped precipitously by 20 feet and 76 billion gallons of water poured down its outlet.  Although a canal system was never realized, the lowering of the Lake exposed a 21-mile perimeter of sandy beach where none had previously existed. This made possible: the founding of the Village of Beulah, the coming of the railroad, installation of telegraph and telephone lines, development of lakeside resorts, construction of 1,100 cottages, all connected by an infrastructure of perimeter roads and trails.  This epochal event is unsurpassed compared to all other large inland lakes in Michigan history.  Its unintended consequences make this story worthy of telling to a wider audience.

Back in the Middle Ages people who went on pilgrimages A la sainte terre (To the Holy Land) became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers.  For a watershed to be truly meaningful, and not a neutral landscape through which water and humankind merely trickle, the saunterer must experience, and interpret it according to personal and cultural factors.  Your humble saunterer would posit that the “Tragedy” and the “Comedy” have perpetuated a mixed generational conundrum. Each has created traditions and dramas with unique roles in their respective histories.  It is now the responsibilities of present and future generations to preserve the heritages of both “Tragedy” and “Comedy” redux.

Herein your humble saunterer has attempted to answer questions about the uniqueness of Crystal Lake.  What caused the lowering of the Lake?  Who was Archibald Jones?  Such is the “Comedy” of Crystal Lake – an epochal event with unintended consequences which has evolved from perceived “failure” of an “ill-conceived” project by an apparent scapegoat, to unqualified “success” by a visionary celebrated as a local hero!

Please contact Dr. Stacy Daniels at e-mail  for information on how to purchase the book.

MLSA Releases Guide for Invasive Aquatic Plant Control and Management

May 30, 2015 16:49

While aquatic plants are an important component of healthy lakes and streams, some species form overly large, dense populations. While these nuisance plants are often non-native species such as Eurasian milfoil, native plants can also grow to excess when exposed to high nutrient levels. When plant populations reach levels that impair recreation and ecosystem functioning (for example, decreased fish and bird habitat), control efforts are often warranted. However, there are many options for such efforts, from using predatory insects to machine harvesters, each with advantages and disadvantages. It can be difficult to choose a control option and develop the associated management plan that maximizes efficiency and minimizes cost.

To help Michigan Lake and Stream Associations (ML&SA) members with these decisions, ML&SA has put together the “Invasive aquatic plant control and management guide: a summary of management options and service providers.”

This guide is intended to serve as a resource for ML&SA members who are considering management of invasive aquatic plants. The guide provides a summary of current knowledge and options for management, as well as a list of Michigan businesses that can provide guidance and/or perform management services. Michigan Lake and Stream Associations encourages supporting businesses that are ML&SA commercial members due to their support for the organization and its goals. The guide can be found on the ML&SA website:

MLSA May Newsletter Available for Download

May 21, 2015 21:11

The May 2015 edition of the May 2015 newsletter is available for download by

clicking here

Freshwater Future Offering 3 Grant Awards to MLSA Lake Association Members – Don’t Miss Out!

May 18, 2015 13:07

Freshwater Future Executive Director Jill Ryan was pleased to present a talk at the recent Michigan Lake and Stream Association Annual Conference about the importance of collaboration, especially in order to control aquatic invasive species. Due to the enthusiasm for protecting water resources and utilizing collaborations in order to succeed shown during the conference, Freshwater Future is now offering up to three grants to ML&SA members for Freshwater Future’s services. Services could include projects to develop a strategic plan, train your board on financial management, develop a fundraising plan, and more! Through a grant, we’ll bring 75% of the cost of our services, you simply add a 25% match. If you have a great organization but want to increase your effectiveness, give us a call to see if our services can help: 231.348.8200 or check out website at and click on services.

Although our staff team has over 60 years experience in protecting rivers, lakes and wetlands, we think the best evidence of our impact comes from our past clients:

“Working with Freshwater Future has helped our group immensely. We are putting all of our financial and fundraising affairs in order, which will help us focus on the project work of protecting the Salmon Trout and Yellow Dog Rivers from a proposed sulfide mine.” Emily Whittaker, Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.

“The ideas and advice we’ve received from Freshwater Future have helped revive a flagging membership and donor cultivation effort within our organization. We’re working on new and innovative programs that are already starting to pay off in new members, and with Freshwater Future’s help we have been plugged into valuable technical support resources that will help us build a long-term membership development and retention system.” Rebecca Fedewa, Flint River Watershed Coalition.

“If we could have had Freshwater Future staff help us with strategy assistance in the beginning, we would have saved much time and better anticipated future hurdles.” – Mary Jo Cullen, Gravel Watch Ontario.

Seeking Economic Information from Swimmers Itch (SI) Suffers:

May 5, 2015 22:35

by Wayne Swallow
Lake Leelanau

Wayne Swallow of Lake Leelanau is developing economic data on Swimmer’s Itch through an on-line survey.  Following are some examples of Swimmer’s Itch (SI) problems that could provide valuable economic or financial information:

–  If your SI case was severe enough to require a doctor or ER visit he would like to hear about your experience.

–  If you were a visitor to a lake, and will not return because of a bad case of SI; tell us what you spent on your vacation that you will not repeat.

–  If you own rental property, what revenue have you lost because of SI problems?  Realtors can provide potential SI impact on property values or sales values.

–  Finally, if you’ve just had minor SI problems you are also invited to participate and share your experience.

Sometimes narrative descriptions can be as powerful as economic data.  Access the survey at:

Your responses will be strictly confidential and data will be reported only in the aggregate. If you have questions at any time, feel free to contact Wayne at 231-649-2087 or by email,

Wayne is also conducting field trial of a new SI repellant this summer, if you would like to learn about being a volunteer in the field study, contact Wayne by phone or email.

MI Chapter, North American Lake Management Society & Michigan Lake and Stream Associations Award Lake Research Grants

April 19, 2015 18:18

Editors Note: This article originally appeared on the MI Chapter, North American Lake Management Society website at

The Michigan Chapter, North American Lake Management Society (McNALMS) in coordination with the Michigan Lake and Stream Associations, Inc.  have awarded two one-year $1000 grants to Joe Nohner from Michigan State University (MSU) and Delilah Clement from Grand Valley State University (GVSU). Joe is a graduate student in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at MSU.  His research for this grant will focus on the social, cultural, and economic factors underlying lakeshore property owners’ willingness to conserve natural aquatic habitat on their properties.  Previous research has shown that changes in habitat and shoreline development influence fisheries productivity. The information he gathers along with his ongoing research on largemouth bass populations will help provide a better understanding of factors influencing the decisions of landowners to remove vegetation and woody habitat and potential effects on the fisheries resource. It will also help practitioners and lake organizations better tailor their conservation efforts to mitigate changes to the natural shoreline. Delilah is a graduate student at the Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute at GVSU.  Her research will look at phosphorus loss via tile drains in the Macatawa Watershed.  She plans to collect tile drain effluent, record land and management factors, perform bioassays on algae using the effluent, and determine if soluble reactive phosphorus concentrations in relation to total phosphorus from drain tile has a significant effect on algal growth. Her research will lead to a better understanding of the relationship between tile drain phosphate and algal blooms in the Macatawa watershed and Lake Macatawa. McNALMS and MLSA congratulate the two recipients and look forward to their sharing of information on their research results.

Spring 2015 Michigan Chapter, North American Lake Management Society Newsletter Available for Download

April 19, 2015 18:09

The Michigan Chapter, North American Lake Management Society Spring 2015 Newsletter is available for download by  clicking here

Michigan Swimmer’s Itch Partnership Schedules March 31 Meeting in Frankfort

March 26, 2015 11:34

The Michigan Swimmer’s Itch Partnership has scheduled a meeting for Tuesday, March 31st to be held at the Frankfort City Hall in Frankfort. For more information regarding the meeting and the swimmer’s itch partnership contact Joel Buzzell, Crystal Lake and Watershed Association President at 231.871.0571.

Michigan Swimmer’s Itch Partnership Meeting

Tuesday 3/31/15

Frankfort City Hall, 412 Main St.  Frankfort, Michigan 49635

Meeting Agenda

Lake Association Meeting    (lake association members only)  (1pm-2pm)

  1. a) Introduction, purpose of meeting, what we want to accomplish

Lead Joel Buzzell

  1. b) Briefing on March 23 meeting with Senator Booher about SI

Leads Ken Dennings/Jim Vondale

  1. c) Member meetings in Lansing on SI-discuss topics and attendees

Lead Tyrone Sanders PAA

  1. d) Considerations/options for MSIP organization

Lead Attorney Bill Carey

  1. e) Wrap up and general discussion

Leads Joel Buzzell/Jim Vondale


General Meeting  (for guests and members)  (2pm-5pm)

Introduction of guests and meeting purpose    (2-2:10)

Lead Joel Buzzell

Brandon Fewins, Regional Manager for  Senator Debbie Stabenow (2:10-2:25)

Pete Butchko, USDA APHIS-perspectives on SI efforts (2:25-2:40)

BREAK 2:40 – 3:00

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