Monthly Archives

October 2020

“Conserving Lakes in a Changing Environment”: The 2020 Michigan Inland Lakes Convention an Unqualified Success!!!

Attracting nearly 500 registered participants, including students, scientists, academicians, educators, lakefront property owners, lake preservation advocates, lake and aquatic plant management professionals, and state agency personnel all drawn to an exceptional agenda comprised of three full days of lake focused keynote addresses, special presentations, workshops, concurrent sessions, educational exhibits, photo and writing contests, and even an opportunity to win prizes during an inland lakes trivia competition, all supported this year by the generous contributions of an enthusiastic group of public and private sponsors, by all measures, the 2020 Michigan Inland Lakes Convention was an unqualified success!

Beginning with the inaugural event held in the spring of 2014, the biennial Michigan Inland Lakes Convention is the extraordinary by-product of the high level of cooperation that occurs between a broad range of inland lake and water resource preservation focused non-profit organizations, companies, and state agencies that comprise the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership, an organization dedicated to promoting collaboration between citizens, professionals, researchers, and governmental agencies in order to advance stewardship of Michigan’s vast legacy of inland lakes.

Kicking off on Wednesday, September 16th at 9:00 AM, and adjourning at 4:30 PM on Friday, September 18th, this year’s lakes convention featured dozens of well attended special events, workshops, and concurrent sessions each committed to exploring a particular lake conservation related topic aligned with this year’s overarching convention theme of “Conserving Lakes in a Changing Environment”. To view the complete 2020 Michigan Inland Lakes Convention program, click here. Convention organizers would like our readers to know that many of this year’s virtual lake convention workshops, concurrent sessions, and special events were recorded, and will be available in November by visiting the 2020 Michigan Inland Lakes Convention website.

This year’s lakes convention also featured two outstanding keynote addresses by prominent speakers. Opening Wednesday afternoon’s convention sessions, noted author of the renown “The Guide to Walden Pond”, University of Connecticut Professor of Geoscience Dr. Robert Thorsen presented “Michigan Inland Lakes: Their Different Origins and Why This Matters for Lake Managers”. Leading off Thursday morning’s convention proceedings, Dr. Kendra Spence Cheruvelil, Professor of Landscape Limnology within Michigan State University’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, delivered the convention’s second keynote address entitled “Lessons from LAGOS: Creating and using big data to understand lakes at broad scales of space and time”.

Editors Note: Michigan Waterfront Alliance is very proud to have been a “platinum” level sponsor of the 2020 Michigan Inland Lakes Convention. We would also like to extend a hearty congratulations to all who contributed in some way to the great success of this year’s lake convention!

Michigan Waterfront Alliance Encourages Voters to Support State Proposal 20-1



Proposal 20-1

A proposed constitutional amendment to allow money from oil and gas mining on state-owned lands to continue to be collected in state funds for land protection and creation and maintenance of parks, nature areas, and public recreation facilities; and to describe how money in those state funds can be spent.

This proposed constitutional amendment would:

• Allow the State Parks Endowment Fund to continue receiving money from sales of oil and gas from state-owned lands to improve, maintain and purchase land for State parks, and for Fund administration, until its balance reaches $800,000,000.

• Require subsequent oil and gas revenue from state-owned lands to go into the Natural Resources Trust Fund.

• Require at least 20% of Endowment Fund annual spending go toward State park improvement.

• Require at least 25% of Trust Fund annual spending go toward parks and public recreation areas and at least 25% toward land conservation.

Should this proposal be adopted?

Michigan Waterfront Alliance Welcomes Mr. Ralph Bednarz to our Board of Directors

Michigan Waterfront Alliance (MWA) is pleased to announce that Mr. Ralph Bednarz has graciously accepted an invitation to serve as a member of our Board of Directors. A lifelong lake protection and preservation advocate, Mr. Bednarz brings a wealth of knowledge and experience acquired during a highly productive thirty-five-year career as a water resources and environmental protection manager within the Inland Lakes Management Unit of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) (now referred to as the Department of the Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). Instrumental in planning, developing, implementing, and managing high profile MDEQ statewide lake water quality monitoring programs, including the Lake Water Quality Assessment, and the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program, it is also important to note that Mr. Bednarz played a critical role in helping to ensure the success of the Michigan component of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sanctioned National Lake Assessments while serving as an EPA Senior Environmental Program specialist following his retirement from the MDEQ in 2011. In addition to his newly acquired role as a Michigan Waterfront Alliance Board member, Mr. Bednarz currently serves on the Michigan Chapter, North American Lake Management Society (McNALMS) Board of Directors, and is a pro-active representative to the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership, and the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership. In recognition of his “significant contributions to the advancement of inland lake education, pro-active leadership in addressing key inland lake issues, and in promoting lake ecology, and management”, Mr. Bednarz also recently received the McNALMS Lifetime Achievement Award Welcome aboard Ralph!

Citizen Water Monitoring Program Extended with Five-Year Contract


Sept. 30, 2020

Nick Assendelft, Public Information Officer,, 517-388-3135

Marcy Knoll Wilmes, Aquatic Biologist,, 517-342-4348

Residents across Michigan will benefit from a new $1.7 million contract for Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps), a network of citizen volunteers who help EGLE by collecting and sharing water quality data with the goal of protecting lakes and streams.

MiCorps includes education, training and networking for citizen scientists working with EGLE program biologists as their guides in learning more about water, Michigan’s most precious resource. EGLE awarded the new contract to Michigan State University, which will administer the program and work with Michigan State University Extension, Huron River Watershed Council and the Michigan Lakes and Streams Association.

EGLE secured funding through the Renew Michigan Fund to continue this valuable program.

“MiCorps is a dynamic program that engages the public in monitoring our inland waters, staying vigilant for problems in their watershed and acting to solve local problems,” said Marcy Knoll Wilmes, EGLE’s MiCorps director. “I am so proud of the volunteers and the work they do across the state. EGLE values the data collected to help us assess Michigan waters. We have some exciting items that will be developed through this contract including a new database, phone app for data collection and mapping/GIS capabilities added to the web site.”

“We are thrilled to continue working with EGLE to support Michigan volunteers in their efforts to monitor lakes and streams,” said Dr. Jo Latimore of Michigan State University, who will provide leadership for the MiCorps team. “The excellent data collected by MiCorps participants supports local conservation work and contributes significantly to our overall understanding and protection of Michigan’s waters.”

For more information about MiCorps or to sign up to be a volunteer, go to or contact Marcy Knoll Wilmes at 517‑342-4348 or