Michigan has more than 11,000 inland lakes. Most are high quality resources highly valued by society for recreation and as places to live. These cultural demands place significant stresses upon these ecosystems, often resulting in undesirable changes. How can these lakes be strategically managed to minimize undesirable changes and protect them for this and future generations?
The large number of lakes and the limited management funds and staff available calls for the use of innovative management approaches. One such approach is a partnership. A partnership is a management strategy to increase communication and collaboration among agencies and interest groups, promoting synergistic results and win/win conditions, while maximizing the use of limited funds and staff. A Partnership for Michigan’s inland lakes could greatly improve “our” collective efforts to protect this resource and insure we make the best use of a valuable natural asset.
The purpose of the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership (Partnership) is to engage state and local agencies, Native American Nations, outreach institutions (universities and other educational institutions), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), businesses, industries and citizens in a collaborative effort to ensure the quality, sustainability and ecological diversity of lakes, while considering society’s needs. The Partnership will promote communication and cooperation between partners, communities and citizens interested in the management of Michigan’s inland lakes, educating leaders, and strengthening stewardship efforts.
The Partnership will support efforts to research, monitor, evaluate and regulate ecosystem impact sources, such as nutrient enrichment, exotic species, soil erosion, consumptive uses, overcrowding and others, in order to develop and promote proactive, sustainable and science-based management practices. The Partnership will encourage a system of voluntary and regulatory management approaches.
The Partnership will proactively address lake management needs. The value of lakes to society is rising rapidly; an enhanced investment of human and financial resources dedicated to lake management is appropriate. Cooperative development and support for legislation and budgets is key to increasing the scope and amount of public and private dollars and resources available for lake management.