Skip to main content


Update of Recent Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership Activities

The Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership (MILP) is made up of a broad range of organizations and agencies that have a common interest – protecting inland lakes. Explore this site to learn more about Michigan’s lakes, the organizations involved with the Partnership, and how you can be a part of the effort. You can also follow the Partnership on Facebook and Twitter! The Partnership is busy planning for the biennial Michigan Inland Lakes Convention that will take place in Grand Rapids on September 17-18, 2020.  This year’s theme is “Conserving Lakes in a Changing Environment”. Click here to learn more about the Partnership’s biennial inland lakes focused event.

Michigan Chapter, North American Lake Management Society (McNALMS) Update

The purpose of the Michigan Chapter, North American Lake Management Society is to promote understanding and comprehensive management of Michigan’s inland lake ecosystems. McNALMS recently launched a newly designed website, go to to view the organization’s new lake management resource dedicated website. The Michigan inland lake management focused organization also held a very well attended “Lunch and Learn” session on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 that was dedicated to exploring harmful algal blooms. Click here to view Michigan Chapter, North American Lake Management Society “Lunch and Learn” presentations and to learn about upcoming lake management associated events.

MWA to Hold One Day Conference Focused on Economic Contributions of Inland Lakes

Our conference originally planned for Friday, March 13, 2020 that was to be held at Karoub Associates in downtown Lansing was cancelled due to the on-going COVID-19 crisis. Please know that Michigan Waterfront Alliance has every intention of attempting to reschedule the “economic contributions of inland lakes” conference for the Fall of 2020. Please “stay tuned” to this website and our future e-newsletters for information regarding our conference. In the meantime, stay healthy!!!


Michigan Waterfront Alliance presents a one-day conference dedicated to “Assessing the Value of the Contributions  of Inland Lakes to Michigan’s Economy” to be held at

Karoub Associates
121 W. Allegan Street
Lansing, Michigan

Michigan is graced with an aesthetically pleasing landscape that hosts over 11,000 inland lakes that provide our citizens and millions of visitors to our state with an extraordinary array of recreational and economic opportunities. In addition to providing vast opportunities for premium lakefront living lifestyles, our inland lakes also serve as the basis for the creation and sustenance of thousands of small businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs through Michigan’s highly successful tourism, resort, and recreational boating, fishing and hunting industries. Various informal, and likely outdated estimates of the value of the contribution of inland lakes to Michigan’s economy range from five to thirty billion dollars. Hindered by the fact that very few comprehensive studies have focused specifically on the value of the various contributions of our inland lakes to Michigan’s economy, our state legislators, and natural resource and environmental regulatory agencies are often hindered in their ability to effectively manage our vast wealth of inland lakes due to lack of valid data.

Due to venue restrictions, registration will be limited to 65 people.

Click here to download and view the conference agenda.

Register online below.


(You do not need a PayPal account to purchase a ticket.)

Economic Value of Michigan Inland Lakes Conference25.00 USDFriday, March 13, 2020 - Economic Value of Michigan Inland Lakes Conference
Your eTicket will be emailed after payment to your PayPal email address.

Elegant, and a Bit Exotic, The Only Sporadically Occurring C. sowerbii Adds A Little Mystery and Delight to Michigan’s Waters

Story and Photos by Scott Brown, MWA Board Member

Evoking expressions of surprise and delight, the initial experience of observing an only sporadically occurring swarm of ancient undulating freshwater jellyfish gracefully propelling themselves through the late summer warm waters of your favorite lake always seems to be a joyful one. Commonly referred to as “peach blossom fish” in their native China, words such as fascinating, graceful, elegant, and mysterious are often deployed by authors in their attempt to aptly describe the exotic freshwater jellyfish species known as Craspedacusta sowerbii that occasionally appears in Michigan waters.

A native of China’s Upper Yangtze River basin, the exponentially increasing pace of international trade that has occurred over the course of the past century has inadvertently led to the fact that C. sowerbii has now been observed on every continent on earth except Antarctica, and has become the most widely distributed freshwater jellyfish on earth. C. sowerbii and the nineteen other species of freshwater jellyfish are classified as hydrozoans, a class of small colonial or solitary predatory animals that are related to sea anemones and corals. Catalogued in England by naturalists in the 1880’s, C. sowerbii was first observed in Michigan waters in the 1930’s. C. sowerbii belongs to the Cnidaria, a diverse phylum of hydrozoans that contains over 11,000 marine and freshwater species whose exotic physical appearance is primarily defined by an umbrella-like radial symmetry.

Representing an extremely delicate and highly elastic gelatinous creature that is intolerant of intense wave action and fast-moving waters, the freshwater jellyfish species known as C. sowerbii that inhabits Michigan waters is most often observed floating or gracefully swimming near the surface in ponds, reservoirs, quarries, the slow-moving backwaters of rivers, and quiet wind-sheltered areas of inland lakes. Lacking a brain, heart, respiratory system, skeleton, and even blood, the relatively simple, delicate anatomy of C. sowerbii is comprised of a translucent bell-shaped outer layer known as the epidermis; a middle layer consisting of a thick, highly elastic, grayish-blue in color gelatinous substance that is referred to as the mesoglea; and, representing a simple digestive system that acts as both a stomach and intestine with just one opening that serves as both mouth and anus, an inner layer that is referred to as the gastrodermis which includes a crude stomach-like structure that is referred to as the manubrium. Circulation of nutrients within the ancient organism is facilitated by the existence of four radial canals that originate along the edges of the manubrium.

Freshwater jellyfish are known to possess a sense of smell, are able to detect light, and are capable of sensing and responding to near-by stimuli such as motion due to the existence of an elementary network of nerve cells that are widely distributed throughout their gelatinous body. The rim of their translucent bell-shaped epidermis is adorned with up to 400 relatively long tentacles that each possess thousands specialized cells called cnidocytes that are deployed by the organism to capture and pass prey consisting of tiny zooplankton to the opening of their gastrodermis. Drifting in the water column with its tentacles fully extended, jellyfish waits for suitable prey such as a tiny daphnia to come into contact with a tentacle. Once contact is made, nematocyst cells within the tentacle fire into the prey, injecting a tiny quantity of a powerful toxin that acts to paralyzes the animal, with the tentacle then acting to secure the prey by wrapping itself around the immobilized animal. It is important to note that stings by small freshwater jellyfish such as C. sowerbii produce only minor pain and often go unnoticed by swimmers due the miniscule amount of toxin that is injected as a result of contact with a tentacle. Mature C. sowerbii are capable of growing to a diameter of approximately 19 millimeters (penny-size), responding to the detection of stimuli such as near-by motion, however, the highly elastic gelatinous species is capable of instantaneously expanding its translucent epidermis to three times its normal diameter.

Beginning life as a tiny polyp attached to aquatic vegetation, rocks, or coarse woody debris, C. sowerbii and other species within the Cnidaria phylum possess a complex life cycle that allows them to expeditiously take advantage of the return of environmental conditions that are favorable to their survival and sustainability. In rare populations of C. sowerbii that possess both female and male individuals, the species is capable of achieving sustainability by alternating with each generation between reproducing sexually, with free floating sperm cells fertilizing eggs, and reproducing asexually by cloning themselves. Freshwater jellyfish are dimorphic, depending upon conditions, such as water temperature, the amount of light penetrating the surface, and/or food availability, freshwater jellyfish such as C. sowerbii are known to alternate between a polyp phase, a larval phase, and a relatively brief life in late summer as a sexually mature free-swimming male or female hydro-medusa. Freshwater jellyfish such as C. sowerbyi are known to spend much more time in existence as microscopic podocysts, frustules (larvae produced asexually by budding), planulae (larvae produced sexually by mature male and female hydromedusae), or as sessile polyps that attach themselves to stable submerged surfaces such as coarse woody debris and rocks. It is important to note that the vast majority of C. sowerbii colonies are comprised of all-male or all-female individuals, therefore rendering the species almost completely dependent upon asexual reproductive processes for long-term survival.

Intolerant of the cold-water temperatures that are present in northern temperate waters in late fall, winter, spring, and early summer, the most abundant colonies of mature hydro-medusa phase C. sowerbii are observed as late summer water temperatures reach their maximum in August and September. Most often observed floating or swimming near the surface on bright sunny days, the mature hydro-medusa phase of C. sowerbii comes to an end with the gradual emergence of cold-water temperatures. During the winter months when northern temperate water bodies are frozen over, C. sowerbii contracts and enters a long period of dormancy as resting bodies called podocysts. Once environmental conditions become favorable, they again enter the polyp phase that later in the summer leads to the formation of a mature hydro-medusa.

Michigan Waterfront Alliance Board of Directors Passes Resolution Supporting ‘Fair and Balanced’ Legislation that Would Enable Continued Local Government Regulation of Short Term Rentals


1. We want our Michigan elected representatives at the state level to continue to support the ability of local governments (townships, villages, cities, and other entities) to be able to make zoning and enforcement decisions at the local level concerning the operation, permitting, and control of people visiting short term rentals and Airbnb-type rentals of private homes. Thus, we are in general opposition to House Bill 4046, AS CURRENTLY WRITTEN, and similar Michigan legislative bills, which would make state-wide decisions that eliminate or significantly limit local zoning control of residential housing used for short term or Airbnb-type rentals.

2. We hereby ask the Michigan legislature to continue to study the short-term rental (Airbnb-type) of residential housing issue and work toward fair and balanced bill(s) which would allow for limited short-term rentals in Michigan and still enable local government zoning control. We would also like our elected representatives to be aware of the fact that expanded short term (Airbnb-type) rentals of residential homes carry the potential of adding additional burdens on local government with no additional revenues.

Download and Read Proposed Short Term Rental Legislation

House Bill 4046

House Bill 4554

House Bill 4555

House Bill 4556

A Sampling of Articles Focused on Michigan’s Current Short
Term Rental Legislation Controversy

Michigan Municipal League

Short Term Rental Legislation Quickly Reintroduced in New Term

Posted on January 25, 2019 by Jennifer Rigterink

Last week House Bill 4046 was introduced to amend the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act. This legislation is the same bill introduced last term (House Bill 4503). If passed, it would:

  • Eliminate a local unit of government’s ability to regulate short-term rentals (defined in the bill as a rental of 28 days or less).
  • Mandate all short-term rentals are a residential use of property, permitted in all residential zones.
  • Eliminate the ability for additional regulations (i.e. special use or conditional use permits, rental registration, inspections, etc.) for short-term rentals unless all dwellings (i.e. owner occupied) in the zone are also subject to the requirements.

The legislation puts in place a preemption upsetting the balance between and healthy local economy, property rights and an established, transparent process for zoning. The Michigan Zoning Enabling Act lays out the process for local governments to draft regulation driven by public input through an open process. House Bill 4046 undermines local government decision making and removes the voice of local stakeholders, rendering local government powerless to act. It would eliminate the ability of local government to regulate short term rentals in residential neighborhoods negatively impacting property values and quality of life.

To read more of the article, click here

The Detroit News

Lawmakers seek to end local bans on vacation rentals

Beth LeBlanc, The Detroit News Published 5:45 a.m. ET May 7, 2019 | Updated 9:59 a.m. ET May 7, 2019

Local bans on short-term rentals in Michigan could be barred themselves under controversial legislation being considered by a Republican-controlled state House committee.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jason Sheppard, R-Temperance, said the local zoning rules created to ban short-term rentals such as those available through Airbnb, Homeaway and VRBO infringe on private property rights and are an abuse of Michigan’s Zoning Enabling Act.

To read more of this article, click here

The Lansing State Journal

East Lansing pushing back on state proposal to limit regulations on Airbnb, other short-term rentals

Megan Banta, Lansing State Journal Published 6:30 a.m. ET May 9, 2019

EAST LANSING — Local officials are pushing back on a state proposal that would bar communities from banning Airbnb and other short-term rental options.

The bill, if passed, would ban communities from prohibiting short-term rentals through local zoning rules.

Officials in East Lansing don’t prohibit short-term rentals, but the bill might impact the way they currently regulate them through permits. They also have concerns about how other parts of the proposed law could impact local rules.

To read more of this article, click here

Detroit Free Press

New Buffalo official: On-line home rentals became ‘Animal House’ situations

Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press Published 8:00 a.m. ET May 29, 2019 | Updated 9:26 a.m. ET May 29, 2019

New Buffalo, the first stop for many visitors to Michigan entering from Indiana on eastbound I-94, calls itself the “Gateway of Michigan” and has long been a summer getaway for Midwest vacationers.

But last month, after much discussion, the city joined other municipalities that have added rules for residents using online rental services like Airbnb and HomeAway to rent out their homes.

“We had a number of residents complain about some short-term rentals in town,” David Richards, New Buffalo’s city manager, said last week as he headed to his own Memorial Day vacation in Las Vegas. “They were having late-night parties, pool parties, and kind of like ‘Animal House’ situations going on.”

To read more of this article, click here

AP News

Proposed Michigan bills address short-term rentals

Noah Hausmann

March 10, 2019

Which should come first, a city ordinance or a state law?

In Michigan, the issue of short-term rentals has been controversial in several communities, as websites like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway have gained popularity in many vacation spots worldwide.

These websites collect fees for connecting property owners with vacationers, who want to short-term rent their room, house or apartment, rather than stay in a traditional rental unit, such as a hotel.

Short-term renting residences blurs the line between homes and vacation properties, and some people are concerned about factors such as the impact on the traditional rental industry, the availability of long-term rental housing and the effects of having a greater transient population.

To read more of this article, click here

On the Moody Market

Mi Restaurant and Lodging Association Backs New Legislation to Regulate Short Term Rentals

By Pat Moody | Posted May 2, 2019 | Upon Further Review

In a bid to find solutions for the seemingly never-ending issues over short-term rentals in communities from Harbor Country to St. Joe, South Haven and elsewhere across the Great Lakes State, the Michigan Legislature is taking up a 10-bill package to help regulate the future. It didn’t take long for the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association — MRLA — to get on board with the proposed legislation.

House Bills 4554 through 4563, introduced into the State House of Representatives today, attempt to address the growing concerns with largely unregulated expansions in short-term rental properties across the state, and the MRLA has immediately thrown strong support behind the 10-bill package. Justin Winslow is President & CEO of the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association. He says, “The hospitality industry, like so many others, is changing rapidly amid a generation of technological disruption,” and argues, “As the lines between hotels and short-term rentals begin to blur, it is increasingly important that we enact a fair and responsive regulatory structure that ensures the safety of all of our guests, regardless of where they stay.”

To read more of this article, click here

Bridge Magazine

Short term rental advocates, foes work toward a deal on laws in Michigan

by Lindsay Van Hulle(Bridge)

Michigan policymakers are again working to regulate short-term rentals such as those on sites like Airbnb, as they try to balance neighborhood concerns with private property rights.

But unlike previous attempts in Lansing, legislators are enlisting the help of groups that have fought on opposite sides of the issue.

Since the spring, a group of local government advocates, hotel representatives and real estate agents -‒ all with strong, often conflicting stances on how to manage the growing short-term rental industry -‒ has met to find middle ground.

To read more of this article, click here

The Manchester Mirror

August 19, 2019

Freedom Township Declares Pleasant Lake Airbnb in Violation of Ordinance

Freedom Township Board met for its monthly meeting on Tuesday, August 13th. Many residents came to present their complaints about 5202 Happy Hollow, which has recently become a short-term rental listed on The board agreed with the residents and unanimously voted to have the township lawyer inform the owners of the home that their commercial use was in violation of township ordinances and needed to cease immediately. The board also agreed to direct its lawyer to inform the owner of any other relevant ordinance violations.

To read more of this article, click here

Lack of Funding Threatens Highly Successful MiCorps Water Quality Monitoring Programs








by Dr. Paul Steen
Huron River Watershed Council

The Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) is a lake and stream volunteer-based monitoring program that has existed since 2004, primarily under the management of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (but has enjoyed management by many other government acronyms as well like DNR, DNRE, and EGLE). And prior to 2005, under a different program name, the volunteer lake monitoring part of MiCorps stretches back since 1974. That means that for 45 years, volunteers have been tracking the health of Michigan lakes, and for about 20 years, volunteers have been tracking the health of Michigan streams. Unfortunately, lack of funding for the program has the potential to end this terrific legacy of data and peopleThe threat is imminent.

The water quality collected over this time span is of high value, and has guided a huge number of management actions designed to reduce nutrient pollution and non-point source pollution and stop invasive species. The people side of the equation, though, is much harder to quantify. Since 1972, this volunteer monitoring program under its various appellations has taught and enabled people to become citizen scientists and community leaders. You know that person on your lake who is always on the water with strange equipment, writing newsletter articles urging everyone to stop fertilizing their lawns, and presenting graphs and charts at your annual lake association meeting? Chances are they have been taught the basics of lake science by the scientists from MiCorps. The leadership at MiCorps has watched these volunteers start as enthusiastic yet largely ignorant individuals and develop into champions who find positions on planning commissions and organize special assessment districts. You know that local watershed group that organizes aquatic insect surveys, teaches residents about the impact of development on stream water quality, and teaches your children during field trips to the river? Chances are they have received funding from the MiCorps stream granting program to make all of that happen. Over 40 groups have received grants since 2005 to help them build and operate these programs.

I have been part of MiCorps for over 10 years now, and I have always been impressed by the tenacity and intelligence of the volunteers who monitor their lakes and streams. These are great people, performing a noble task, which is to report on the water quality of our aquatic systems so that State government, local government, and landowners can make better management decisions. The end goal for all of these people is to keep our aquatic systems healthy for our children and grandchildren. It is not the time to stop this job! Threats on water quality are more prevalent now than any time since the Clean Water Act was written. We need to stay vigilant, we need to keep training and inspiring new community leaders, and we need to continue this program for years to come.

Please contact your State legislators and let them know that you think it is important that MiCorps continues, and that funding must be provided to EGLE to continue these operations. Without legislative intervention in the budgeting process, the program will come to an end in October 2019. 

Lake Advocacy – It All Starts with You

By Carol Westfall
Pleasant Lake, Located in Freedom Township, Michigan

How are lake protections implemented in your township and zoning conflicts resolved?
Do lake residents and officials partner well on behalf of your lake?
Securing strong lake protection can be a challenge.
I know. I learned the hard way.

Don’t get me wrong. Our township has done some terrific things to protect our 200-acre lake in southeast Michigan. A Lake District was included in the township’s Master Plan and a SAD (Special Assessment District) was voted in to manage invasive species. Keyhole protections were updated and a Board resolution opposing a public boat launch was passed. In 2017, a lake resident was even added to the Planning Commission.

The problem: Our lake residents were invited by township officials to provide input into a new Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance but only a few showed any interest. That was our first mistake. Lake residents were later caught by surprise when some parts of the new zoning ordinance did not reflect our lake’s needs. Changes have now been made but not without enormous lake resident effort.

LESSON #1: Lake advocacy starts and ends with YOU, the lake residents. Do not depend on officials to wholly represent your lake interests. Get involved – early and often.

For years, a neighbor preached the importance of lake residents attending township Planning Commission and Board meetings, “… so they know we’re watching and involved; that we care about their decisions affecting the lake; to be better educated about township government and to know our officials,” she would say. Oh, no, I thought. Not more meetings! Surely, we should be able to trust others to act in the best interests of our lake.

Not necessarily. Upon returning home the end of December, 2014, I opened the door to a 6-foot wall of wood. A fortress-like
structure neighbors had installed between our two, small waterfront lots was ominous – a 6-foot privacy fence without privacy. Our grade is higher. We can still see them; they can still see us. The fence was unlike any other approved fence on our lake. Surely our zoning ordinance doesn’t allow this, I thought.

It didn’t. A process error had led to the approval and three months later, the fence was ruled non-compliant. Months passed and a garage was added to move the front building line and make the fence compliant. Officials promised to fix the zoning ordinance for waterfront lot fences but that didn’t happen.

NOTE: I later learned that 4-foot, see-through fences on waterfront properties were the fence standard in the township’s previous ordinance – but not the new one. An oversight? An intentional change? I’ll never know, as that question was never answered.

LESSON #2: Study your zoning ordinance and how each section affects lake properties. Educate yourself! Even better, get lake residents on your Board, Planning Commission and committees.

CONTACT: MSU Planning and Zoning Center- program/planning or call 517-432-2222.

It took a fence zoning issue to get my husband and me to Planning Commission and Board meetings (we are now regular attendees). We voiced our concerns and pleaded for help; repeatedly tried to resolve the problem in favor of view preservation and protecting the rural, hamlet character of our lake area. Michigan’s Denton Township, for example, limits all fences within 500 feet of a lake to 4-foot or less – Township of Denton, MI District Regulations. 310-21 Lakefront Residential District. F(2).

A Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) hearing remained our only option but once filed, there were new obstacles – multiple revisions required of our application; recommendations that we drop the appeal; told that we wouldn’t win; critical background materials not forwarded to ZBA members. Time and money being spent to fight when all we wanted was a fair hearing and to protect the lake.

LESSON #3: Build relationships with elected and appointed officials. Actively participate in Planning Commission and Board meetings. Learn how officials conduct business … BEFORE you have a problem.

As predicted, we lost the ZBA appeal. But that’s not the end of this story. I returned to the Planning Commission the next month and asked for a change to the waterfront property fence zoning – a return to the 4-foot see through standard as in the previous zoning ordinance. Unfortunately, no action. I then took the request directly to the Board. Lake resident support became critical and a few of us collected signed letters from lake residents. The letters stated opposition to large fences on waterfront properties and asked for greater lake zoning protections. Some residents wanted no fences allowed on waterfront lots; some didn’t want to get involved (fearing retribution on their future zoning requests); others said simply, “We don’t sign things.” The county states there
are about 138 homes/properties with lake access at Pleasant Lake. We delivered more than 100 letters to the Board.

LESSON #4: Don’t give up! Build a coalition of lake residents who will support your lake advocacy efforts. Find qualified Michigan zoning and planning experts to serve as your coaches.

Surely, it should now be easy to fix the fence zoning, I thought. It wasn’t. Some officials were unsure all the signatures were valid and wanted to hear directly from lake residents. They called a special meeting; then, a public hearing. A small unnamed opposition group emerged, so officials sought more and more “proof ” before recommending changing the waterfront fence zoning ordinance back to four feet, see through. I learned how quickly a vocal few can undermine the efforts of an active majority and how easy it is to blame us lake advocates as troublemakers.

Our persistence finally paid off. The Board intervened with the Planning Commission on behalf of lake residents. The fence change resolution at last made it to the Board, but not without one last surprise: In addition to limiting waterfront fences to 4-foot, see-through and no closer than 50 feet from the shoreline, a new lake zoning change was slipped in: Reduce setbacks from 50 feet to 25 feet! With regional, state, and national setback trends going in quite the opposite direction, we were shocked and once again had to call our lake resident coalition into action and the next Board meeting was packed. The Board approved the fence zoning
change but vetoed the setback change.

LESSON #5: Lake advocacy is not for the timid! Strengthen your lake association and long-term lake protection plans then stick with your strategy. Adapt as needed when obstacles are put before you. Don’t give up! Be persistent.

Did you know – the State of Michigan ranks dead LAST in the country for government ethics and transparency ( No Board
of Ethics; no State Ombudsman; no place to appeal. In the midst of our conflict, our state representative suggested three
options: take the township to circuit court, elect/appoint new officials, and take concerns to the media.

We took our story to the media. Let the public know what was going on; the resistance faced; the unnecessary time and money spent fighting vs. working together toward the betterment of lake protections. Two small local newspapers showed interest in our lake issues and kept the topic in the public’s eye. Articles and letters were published. Reader after reader came forward to tell us their stories of past conflicts; to express appreciation for our efforts; to say they’re cheering for us. As a result, our lake resident coalition became more empowered, more outspoken, and more visible lake advocates.

Our lake association was also actively involved in a water protection conference held in late 2016 at our township hall. It was co-sponsored by Michigan State University, the Huron River Watershed Council, Washtenaw County, and other groups. The highly successful event attracted over 75 participants and included lake residents and township officials from as far as 200 miles away.

LESSON #6: Use the media. Partner with other lake associations, townships, and water protection organizations. Build alliances and support. Educate fellow lake residents, local governments, and also let the public know what’s going on.

I’m proud of our improved lake protections but sad about the enormous effort and conflict required to get them. Our lake zoning challenge lasted more than two years and cost way too much time and money. At more than one heated meeting, I slipped my husband a note: We need to move! But after a good night’s sleep, I was back at it. Lake advocates are change agents and must do what is needed on behalf of our Michigan lakes. Someone must take the lead. Why not you?

Snorkeling Guide to Michigan Inland Lakes Reveals the Wonder to Be Discovered in Local Inland Lakes 

Inspired by the “beauty and excitement” observed while snorkeling in over a thousand Michigan inland lakes in a period extending from from 1992 to 1997, the book entitled Snorkeling Guide to Michigan Inland Lakes: Discover the Amazing Underwater World in 480 Michigan Inland Lakes! by author Nancy Washburne is a must have for veterans of the sport as well as for those preparing to enter the water outfitted with mask, fin, snorkel and underwater camera for the first time. For those that are comfortable in the water, Washburne points out that snorkeling is one of the “most therapeutic and energizing activities that the whole family can engage in” while also experiencing “so much color and a great variety of fish, large and small, along with the beautiful vegetation”. The book provides detailed information on the 480 inland lakes that Washburne found most interesting and colorful while snorkeling in over one thousand public access inland lakes in Michigan during a five year period in the 1990’s.

Snorkeling Guide to Michigan Inland Lakes: Discover the Amazing Underwater World in 480 Michigan Inland Lakes! may be purchased by visiting the website

To view a video produced by author Nancy Washburne that displays the color and wonder to be found while snorkeling in many Michigan inland lake visit

An MWA Action Alert: Encourage your State Legislators to Support Funding for the Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps)

Defined by a mission that is completely dedicated to preserving and protecting our vast treasure of high quality inland lakes and streams that perennially contribute immense ecological and recreational services that are known to be worth billions of dollars to our economy, and that provide the “freshwater foundation” for our unique Pure Michigan lifestyles, the outstanding collaborative partnership based organization known as the Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) is in need of our help. Funds derived from the Clean Michigan Initiative, a voter approved state bond issue that provided a long-term funding source for the water quality monitoring focused organization from 2003 – 2017, have now been completely exhausted. The lack of a sustainable funding source for MiCorps has already resulted in the suspension of the Volunteer Stream Monitoring Grant Program. Our readers should understand that program managers were able to conduct the 2019 Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program only as the result of a one time grant provided by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Readers should also be aware that without action within this fiscal year by the Michigan state legislature to provide the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) with a long term sustainable funding appropriation that allows the agency to fully fund and operate Michigan Clean Water Corps, these highly effective inland lake and stream water quality monitoring programs may soon cease to exist.

Therefore, Michigan Waterfront Alliance is asking our members and all who read this e-mail to immediately contact your respective state senator and representative via telephone or e-mail in order to express your support for these outstanding programs. Our state senators and representatives hear from so few of their constituents that your voice expressed via a phone call or e-mail carries a lot of weight on how they decide to vote on any given issue. Please know that your voice matters! Please take the time to contact your state senator or representative today regarding a stable, long term funding source for the Michigan Clean Water Corps!!!

Find Your Michigan State Senator

Find Your Michigan House Representative

We have provided a relatively short summary of the history of MiCorps and its programs to allow you to more effectively communicate with your state senator or representative.

The Michigan Clean Water Corps (commonly referred to as MiCorps) was created in 2003 through Michigan Executive Order #2003-15 in order to assist the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) in collecting and sharing inland lake and stream water quality data for use in water resources management and protection programs.

Employing a small, dedicated professional staff, MiCorps is an efficient, well run program administered by the Great Lakes Commission under the direction of Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) in collaborative partnership with the Huron River Watershed CouncilMichigan Lake Stewardship Associations (formerly Michigan Lake and Stream Associations), and Michigan State University.

Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) trains citizen volunteers to conduct lake and steam water quality monitoring; promotes and disseminates science-based methods to ensure accurate water quality data collection; implements effective quality assurance practices; facilitates on-line, readily accessible water quality data reporting and information sharing; and provides an open and readily accessible forum for communication and support among volunteer water quality monitoring groups in Michigan.

Comprised of two citizen volunteer monitoring programs, the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program and the Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program, MiCorps provides technical assistance to local units of government and non-profit organizations, including hundreds of lake associations and watershed groups distributed throughout Michigan.

Representing the second oldest citizen volunteer-based water quality monitoring programs in the nation, the MiCorps Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP) has been a critical component of Michigan’s inland lake monitoring program for over 40 years. Beginning in 1974 as a lakefront property owner focused Self-Help Program that offered only a single parameter – Secchi disk (water clarity) and involving only a few volunteers and their respective lakes, the CLMP now offers seven parameters, including Secchi disk, total phosphorus, chlorophyll-a, dissolved oxygen and temperature, aquatic plant mapping, exotic aquatic plant watch, and lakeshore habitat assessment. Since 1992, Michigan Lake Stewardship Associations (MLSA) (formerly Michigan Lake and Stream Associations) has administered the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program jointly with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) under a Memorandum of Understanding. In collaborative partnership with the Great Lakes Commission, the Huron River Watershed Council, and the Department of EGLE – Michigan Lake Stewardship Associations continues to administer the CLMP with the assistance of Michigan State University’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. It is important to point out that the MiCorps CLMP has become one of the United States most successful programs involving several hundred citizen water quality monitoring volunteers and well over 300 participating inland lakes.

The MiCorps Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program includes a competitive grants program for water quality monitoring in wade-able streams and rivers under four different topical areas. These include Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Survey Grants that provide funding and support volunteer monitoring organizations interested in monitoring benthic macroinvertebrate communities and habitat characteristics in their streams and rivers; Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Survey Start-up Grants that provide funding and support to assist start-up groups in designing a volunteer monitoring strategy for their respective communities; Road/Stream Crossing Inventory Grants that provide funding and support to volunteer monitoring organizations interested in assessing the condition of road/stream crossings to protect and enhance streams throughout a target watershed; and Stream Flow Monitoring Pilot Project Grants that provide funding and support to organizations in order to establish volunteer-based programs in which staff and volunteers determine the total water flow of small streams.

Contact your state senator and representative today to express your enthusiastic support for a stable, long term funding source for these critical water quality monitoring programs!!!!

Find your Michigan State Senator

Find Michigan House Representative

Michigan Waterfront Alliance Holds An Exotic Invasive Starry stonewort Management Seminar

Nearly 100 concerned lakefront property owners, lake managers, aquatic invasive plant control practitioners, and DNR/DEQ employees came together on the morning of Friday, March 15th in downtown Lansing to discuss the current state of the science of managing exotic invasive starry stonewort. Michigan Waterfront Alliance would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to the staff of Karoub Associates for hosting the event – your hard work and professionalism were evident throughout the course of the day! Thank you!

We would also like to extend an enthusiastic thank you to our expert speakers who each did a magnificent job of briefing our audience on the latest technologies available for managing the highly invasive starry stonewort. And, last, but certainly not least, we would like to thank the nearly one hundred folks who ventured out on a cold blustery March Friday to attend our conference – a big thanks to each of you!

Arriving in the Great Lakes region in the late 1970s, the rapidly growing member of the Characeae family has invaded several hundred water bodies in the past forty years, including many inland lakes, rivers as well as Lake St. Clair and Lake Huron. Commonly referred to as starry stonewort in reference to the star shaped reproductive bulbils that are formed on the translucent rhizoids of the species, the scientific name of the native of northern Europe and Asia is Nitellopsis obtusa. Capable of forming dense vegetative meadows of great height and coverage area, starry stonewort is a powerful ecosystem engineer that is capable of altering invaded ecosystems by preventing the growth of native aquatic plants, preventing fish from foraging and spawning, modifying aquatic food webs, and changing nutrient flow regimes.

Notorious for being “predictably unpredictable”, starry stonewort is a fierce competitor that possesses the ability to create conditions that are conducive to its own abundant growth and long term survival. Not well known to the scientific community, little is currently understood about the powerful asexual reproductive capability and growth processes of the species.

Conference attendees were also apprised of their legal rights under the Michigan Environmental Protection Act and Public Trust Doctrine by noted attorney-at-law Bill Carey of the firm Carey & Jaskowski PLLC.

To download the presentation of Dr. Doug Pullman, Applied Biochemists, entitled Starry stonewort Bio-Fundamentalsclick here

To download the presentation of Dr. Jennifer J. Jermalowicz-Jones, Restorative Lake Sciences, entitled Case Studies of Starry stonewort in Inland Lakes and Associated Management Methodsclick here

To download the presentation of Jason Broekstra, PLM Lake and Land Management Corporation, entitled Exponential Economic Impacts of Starry Stonewortclick here

To download the presentation of Paul Hausler, Progressive Ae, entitled Current Research Pertaining to the Biology and Management of Starry Stonewortclick here

To download the presentation by Scott Brown, Michigan Waterfront Alliance, entitled Exotic Invasive Starry stonewort: Biology, Preferred Habitat, Distribution, and Impacts on Inland Lake Ecosystems, click here