Schedule at a Glance

8:00 - 9:30 a.m. Early Morning Concurrent Sessions
9:30 - 10:00 a.m. Break
10:00 - 11:30 a.m. Late Morning Concurrent Sessions
11:30 - 1:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00 - 4:30 p.m. Afternoon Concurrent Sessions, Workshops, and Field Trips


Friday Early Morning Concurrent Sessions (8:00 - 9:30 a.m.)

Natural Shorelines I

Get Your Update on the Shoreline Partnership and Next Steps on Designing for High Energy Sites

This session will present information and updates on the happenings of the MNSP and where we are headed in the future.  We will discuss how we are working to understand what success looks like on natural shoreline installation and how we are moving into providing more information on the continuum of options of bioengineering solutions and the challenges of designing for sites that have high energy. In addition, this session will provide Certified Natural Shoreline Professionals with more insight and tips on how to address certain challenges of high energy sites. Julia Kirkwood, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Brian Majka, GEI Consultants


MiCorps Statewide Volunteer Monitoring Program: Success Through Science

Volunteer engagement is vital to surface water quality monitoring in the State of Michigan. The Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) engages volunteers across the state in stream and lake water quality monitoring.  MiCorps provides education and training on stream macroinvertebrate sampling to watershed groups and conservation districts through the Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program.  In addition, the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP) provides training, technical assistance, and monitoring for lake water quality parameters. Descriptions of program sampling parameters, volunteer presentations, and volunteer success stories for the program will be outlined along with in depth details for the Score the Shore, lakeshore habitat parameter.  Shoreline habitat is one of the most important lake ecosystem components for maintaining good lake water quality and provides nursery grounds for fish, amphibians, water birds, and reptiles; however, lakeshore habitat is also one of the most threatened ecosystem components due to human use. The CLMP has developed a shoreline habitat assessment protocol in which volunteers evaluate and score 1000-foot sections of shoreline for littoral plants, riparian vegetation, and shoreline erosion. The assessments have been occurring since 2015 and over 40 have been conducted. This portion will focus on relationships between development and shoreline scores and other trends and relationships seen in the data.

Volunteer success through science. Marcy Wilmes, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Reproducibility and reporting of data after five years of volunteer stream monitoring in Benzie County. John Ransom, Benzie Conservation District, and Gerald Wilgus, Volunteer Crew Leader

CLMP lake monitoring with volunteers. Carolyn Grace, St. Joseph County Conservation District

2018 Exotic Aquatic Plant Watch in Oakland County. Niklas Krantz, Huron River Watershed Council

Score the Shore data crunch. Paul Steen, Huron River Watershed Council

Natural Resources Management

Managing Michigan's Natural Resources on Inland Lakes

Inland lakes provide habitat for fish and wildlife populations that provide ecological, recreational, and subsistence values to society. These populations support diverse recreational opportunities for inland lake users, such as fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing. For example, did you know that 48% of all recreational fishing in Michigan is on inland lakes? Managing fish and wildlife includes regulating fishing and hunting, managing habitat to support their populations, and collaborating with the public to ensure sustainable fish and wildlife populations for future generations. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages fish and wildlife populations on inland lakes in collaboration with other agencies and with the public. This session will include presentations from Barbara Avers (DNR Waterfowl and Wetlands Specialist), Matt Diana (DNR Fisheries Biologist), and Brian Gunderman (DNR Fisheries Natural Resource Manager). In this session, you’ll learn more about how the Department manages waterfowl populations to provide more waterfowl for hunters and birders and in some instances to minimize nuisance species on private properties. We’ll provide information on the importance of wetlands for healthy lake ecosystems and recommendations for maintaining wetlands in your lake and watershed. You’ll also learn about how the DNR manages fish and aquatic resources on inland lakes, as fisheries biologists discuss fishing regulations, fish stocking, fish kills, fish habitat projects, the importance of water quality and natural shorelines, and emerging threats to fish and aquatic resources in Michigan. We’ll show you how the DNR assesses fish populations in lakes and how fish populations relate to key habitat variables. DNR biologists will also address frequently asked questions and provide information on how to learn more about maintaining a healthy inland lake ecosystem to sustain fish and wildlife populations.

Water Conservation

Learning about Community Engagement in Water Management: A Tale of Three Countries

Interns in the Freshwater Studies program at Northwestern Michigan College are required to complete an internship experience related to water management. During the summer semester of 2018, three groups of students fulfilled their internship requirements in entirely different locations around the world:  Long Lake, Michigan, Indonesia and Costa Rica. Students completing internships gain deeper understanding of water-related careers, water challenges and solutions. Typically, students are hosted by local non-profit organizations in the Grand Traverse area, including inland lake associations, conservation districts, fisheries and watershed centers to complete their internships. The experiences these organizations have provided have been invaluable, with both host organizations and students establishing a mutually beneficial relationship, often leading to employment. A global experience working with communities around the world adds an important dimension to an internship program. Our previous experience with global internships has shown that students gain significant insights, most especially when they focus their attention to the ways communities address common challenges, with diverse and often creative solutions. This panel session attempts to  help us gather different perspectives on community engagement in water resource management and, at the same time, help us assess students´ learning . During this panel student interns will describe their learning experiences in Costa Rica, Indonesia and the USA, and they will compare their findings across the locations they visited and the diverse communities where they worked. Constanza Hazelwood and a student panel (Courtney Adams, Max Becker, Alicia Symanski, Chelsea Cooper, and Kathryn DePauw), Northwestern Michigan College

Friday Late Morning Concurrent Sessions (10:00 - 11:30 a.m.)

Natural Shorelines II

(10:00) Protecting and Restoring Aquatic Plants in the Nearshore

Native aquatic plants within inland lakes perform many valuable ecosystem services.  The cumulative effects of residential development and shoreline hardening have resulted in reduced habitat complexity and riparian vegetation cover in Michigan’s inland lakes.  Improving riparian habitat and restoring native aquatic plants is essential in improving the quality of inland lakes across the state. There are a variety of approaches that aquatic plants can be integrated into inland lake shorelines that balance landowner wants and needs.  Natural shorelines are a critical component of a healthy lake, and a well-designed bioengineered shoreline can balance lace access, views, aesthetics, and lake health. Eric Calabro, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

(10:30) Fish and Wildlife Habitat Recommendations for the Shoreline

Wetlands and natural shorelines directly provide habitat and indirectly improve habitat, benefitting fish and wildlife. Wetland plants in the riparian zones of lakes and rivers intercept nutrients, mitigating eutrophication that threatens fish populations. Wetland plants also provide structural habitat that acts as nurseries for fish and wildlife. Natural shorelines along wetlands and lakeshores also provide large woody debris as habitat. This presentation will summarize benefits of wetlands and natural shorelines to fish and wildlife, summarize resources available to professionals planning restoration and protection, and provide recommendations for managing these habitats to benefit fish and wildlife. Jay Wesley, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

(11:00) Protecting the Nearshore through Upland Lakescaping

This presentation will discuss landscaping techniques on riparian property that protect the nearshore including reducing impervious surfaces, stormwater management, rain gardens, rain barrels, native plants, etc. Patty Hoch-Melluish, Kieser & Associates, LLC 

Citizen Science and Human Dimensions

(10:00) Working with Volunteers

Actively involving individuals and groups in participating with workdays, inspection days, and events takes a fair amount of planning, coordination, and leadership skills. Learn about ways to recruit, train and retain volunteers from the training for Clean Boats, Clean Water Volunteer Heroes that can be transferred to a broader variety of lake citizen science, and association activities. Beth Clawson, Michigan State University Extension

(10:30) Engaging Faith Communities in Citizen Science

The wealth of freshwater resources in Michigan provide immense environmental and social benefits, yet also challenge our capacity to monitor and maintain the health of these critical ecosystems. Because of the need to maximize the impact of finite state and federal resources across these numerous waterbodies, small, highly-impacted streams often receive minimal monitoring and management attention. The potential for citizen science groups, like those participating in the MiCorps program, to monitor small, urban or suburban waterways is being increasingly recognized as a way to engage community stakeholders in local watershed monitoring and management. The MiCorps program on the Rush Creek watershed is like many others around the state in which dedicated community members participate in macroinvertebrate surveys to monitor the health of a local waterbody. However, unlike other MiCorps programs, since 2009 the Rush Creek project has been headed up by a local religious community, Trinity Church. Throughout the state, faith communities are an underutilized resource for participating in and supporting citizen science projects. For example, Rush Creek watershed encompasses 59 square miles, but also contains 95 churches with thousands of potential stream monitoring volunteers. This talk aims to provide insights on how to recruit and motivate people from faith communities in engaging in the care and restoration of their local watershed. Many of these insights are informed by experiences during the past 9 years of citizen monitoring in Rush Creek. By using biblical stories, historical examples and contemporary successes, resource managers will be equipped to engage people from faith communities in dialogue about natural resource stewardship and watershed restoration. Connecting faith communities with citizen science projects through programs like MiCorps may both expand the scope of these programs and foster increased interest within these communities for conservation-oriented initiatives. Gerry Koning, Trinity Christian Reformed Church

(11:00) Onboard Education as a Way of Communicating Lake Science

Since the late 60s, the GVSU Annis Water Resources Institute has provided onboard education about lakes for over 175,000 people.  Most of the program participants are in 4th grade through high school as well as college students. Our research and education vessels are specially equipped for hands-on science, which includes water quality sampling and analysis.  Our vessel in Grand Haven, Michigan samples Spring Lake and our vessel in Muskegon samples Muskegon Lake. Weather permitting, samples are taken in Lake Michigan for comparison with Spring Lake or Muskegon Lake. We have developed a scale for our educational use to rate the lakes as oligotrophic, mesotrophic or eutrophic.  Through this educational experience, participants develop a greater understanding of lake science as well the importance of stewardship of lakes. Janet Vail, GVSU Annis Water Resources Institute

Fish Habitat

Fish populations rely upon healthy habitats to survive, grow, and reproduce. Quality fish habitat includes physical, biological, and chemical conditions that affect fishes throughout their life cycles. For example, populations of different fish species might be limited by the amount of aquatic vegetation, the presence of abundant zooplankton for juvenile fish, or the availability of cold, oxygenated water during the hot summer months. Therefore, to understand what creates or threatens fish habitat in a lake, one must first know about the lake’s regional climate, watershed, and shoreline. The Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership has compiled this information across an 8-state region that includes Michigan. The partnership used this information to assess patterns in populations of Bluegill, Northern Pike, Walleye, and coldwater fishes like Cisco or Lake Trout and identify lakes that are suitable to sustaining these fishes. For each lake, the assessment also provides information on threats from changes to the shoreline, watershed, and regional climate. Based on the threats identified by the assessment, the partnership provides a series of recommended conservation actions to most efficiently address the causes of fish habitat decline in each lake. This information is critical to lake and fishery managers seeking to understand and address the causes of fish habitat degradation and resulting fish population changes. The partnership sought to develop a public web viewer that provides access to all of this information in a manner that is accessible, understandable, and trusted by fishery biologists, lake managers, researchers, and the public. To do this, the partnership conducted surveys and focus groups evaluating user needs, capabilities, and feedback on the web viewer. This information was used to make successive improvements to the viewer. Speakers in this session will focus on the fish habitat assessment, conservation guidelines, web viewer, and the process for creating a successful web viewer.

Assessment of Fish Habitat and Populations at Regional- and Lake-Scales and Development of a Web Viewer. Kevin Wehrly and Joe Nohner, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Integrating User Feedback Into the Development of a Spatial Decision Support Tool for Lake Conservation and Management. Erin Tracy, Michigan State University


(10:00) PFAS Chemicals in the Water

Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) or more specifically per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have become increasingly prevalent in the environment, and are being found in water, fish, wildlife, and humans.  They were widely used in industry to make products stain and grease resistant and waterproof. When humans and other animals consume water or food containing PFAS, these chemicals can remain in the body for many years after exposure, and multiple studies have identified negative health effects.  This talk will provide background information on PFAS and what is known about these chemicals. Lois Wolfson, Michigan State University

(10:30) PFAS: The Current and Potential Future Impact to Michigan Lakes

Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been in use for their unique chemical properties since the 1940s and are persistent widespread environmental contaminants that have been associated with adverse health effects. These compounds are highly mobile in aquifer systems, soluble in water, exhibit moderate bioaccumulation, and hove only recently been included as analytical parameters in environmental surveys of surface water and fish.   In Michigan, PFAS contamination has been found in lakes near military bases and industrial disposal sites. Information on PFAS chemicals will be presented with respect to their use in industry and consumer products, physical/chemical properties, and toxicity. Landscape variables and geologic conditions that promote contaminate migration also will be discussed. Case studies of PFAS contamination in Michigan lakes will be used as examples and information about home water treatment will be presented. Richard Rediske, GVSU Annis Water Resources Institute

(11:00) Perfluorinated Compounds in Fish from Michigan Waters

The MDEQ has been measuring perfluorinated compounds in fish since 2011 and has sampled 28 waterbodies to-date.  Most of the sampling has been in response to concerns over nearby contaminated sites, but we have also analyzed fish from waters with no known or suspected sources of the chemicals in the watersheds.  Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) has been detected at some level in nearly all of the 60 different fish populations sampled and causes consumption advisories in many of those populations. Joe Bohr, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Water Law

Riparian Rights and Local Government Regulations

This session will discuss general riparian principles (ownership of the bottomlands for inland lakes and the Great Lakes, the rights of riparians, conflicting uses, real estate matters); local government regulation of the waterfront (zoning regulations, other ordinances), lake associations and property owners’ associations, state environmental laws affecting the waterfront, and the Public Trust Doctrine. Clifford H. Bloom, Esq., Bloom Sluggett, PC

Friday Afternoon Concurrent Sessions, Workshops, and Field Trips (1:00 - 4:30 p.m.)

Lake Management II - Alum Treatment for Water Quality Improvement

This session will include three presentations on the application of alum (aluminum sulfate) for water quality improvement in lakes.

(1:00) Alum Treatment for Water Quality Improvement: Water Quality in Byram Lake, Genesee County, 28 Years After Alum Treatment

Tony Groves, Progressive AE, and James McNair, GVSU Annis Water Resources Institute

(1:30) Chemical and Biological Effects of Alum Treatment in Spring Lake

Alan D. Steinman, Mary E. Ogdahl, Maggie E. Oudsema and Michael C. Hassett, GVSU Annis Water Resources Institute

(2:00) Alum for Phosphorus Control in Lakes and Ponds: 50 Years of Evolving Strategies

Dick Osgood, Osgood Consulting, LLC

Invasive Species and Boaters

(3:00) Five Years of Voluntary Boat Washing Programs in Michigan: Successes and Challenges in Invasive Species Prevention

Boating is a primary pathway for distribution of aquatic invasive species among waterbodies. Boaters are generally aware of this. However, boaters frequently are not aware of, or do not perform, effective decontamination practices. In Michigan, while it is unlawful to launch a watercraft with plants attached, neither decontamination nor inspections are typically required at boating access sites. In response, one statewide program and several smaller, regional efforts have launched over the past five years to provide staffed, portable boat washing units for events at boating access sites. Outputs include hundreds of outreach events, thousands of boats washed, and hundreds of thousands of contacts with boaters and other outdoor enthusiasts via events and related communications. Event data offer insight on the extent of boat movement (a surrogate for risk of invasive species transport) and boater motivations for accepting or declining free boat washing when offered. Program coordinators report that collaboration with local organizations to host events improves boater buy-in and aids in logistics. In a few cases, a history of hosting boat washing events has built sufficient community support for investing in permanent boat washing facilities and passing local boat decontamination ordinances. Overall, boater acceptance of free boat washes and levels of interest in aquatic invasive species is highly variable. Other lessons learned include the importance of training program staff in trailering and dealing with inappropriate boater behavior, as well as recognition of barriers preventing cooperation from some agency staff and fishing tournament organizers. Jo Latimore, Michigan State University, and Kevin Walters, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

(3:30) Benzie Conservation District's "Aquatic Invasive Species Pathways Project": A Mobile Boat Washing Approach to Dealing with AIS

The real substance of conservation lies not in the physical projects of government, but in the mental processes of its citizens.” Aldo Leopold’s words resonate today, as conservation groups across the globe recognize the need for broader participation in environmental stewardship. Through the “Aquatic Invasive Species Pathways Project,” the Benzie Conservation District takes the challenge of changing human behaviors that negatively impact lakes and streams right at the source: public boat launches. The Benzie, Leelanau and Manistee counties “Aquatic Invasive Species Pathways Program” (AISPP) has just commenced its second field season, through funds from the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program. In 2017, the AISPP provided these counties with aquatic invasive species (AIS) outreach through educational boat washing events, trainings and media in order to increase the general public’s awareness of AIS issues in the area. From May through September, the AISPP directly educated 1,701 individuals (indirectly, another 29,500 individuals through parades, display and media), washed 690 boats, provided outreach on 20 bodies of water, and led or partnered in 17 events (such as the immensely popular “M22 Challenge Triathlon” near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore). With regional support, the AISPP will continue to serve northwestern Michigan, and grow in its capacity to diminish the damage aquatic invasive species have wreaked on our inland waters. The AISPP Coordinator would be pleased to speak about this pilot program’s launch, educational outreach concerning AIS, partnership development, lessons learned at the launch, and the importance of the “human variable.”  This presentation will give an overview of the organization of AISPP, and will also share data procured from surveys completed with boaters. Given the priceless value of our freshwater resources, and high volume of seasonal visitors, we see the necessity for continuing this program – and hope to encourage others to adopt similar AIS prevention practices. Jane Perrino, Benzie Conservation District

(4:00) Catching the "Unicorn": Empowering Boaters to Take Action to Help Prevent AIS

Key to the fight against aquatic invasive species (AIS) is empowering boaters to take action. Due to their high cost of operations and maintenance, high pressure, heated water decontamination units are not always an option for boaters. In addition, watercraft inspectors cannot always be present at launches. Therefore reducing the spread of AIS often relies upon the adoption of best management practices (cleaning, draining, and drying) at the individual level.  However, social science research shows that the number main barriers to these behaviors are that they are perceived to be too difficult or the tools execute these behaviors are not available. Our waterless cleaning station pilot was developed to reduce these barriers. Wildlife Forever has a long history of being a national leader in AIS education and outreach via the Clean Drain Dry Initiative. However, until Wildlife Forever’s partnership with CD3 for a 2017-18 Waterless Cleaning Station Pilot, tools to implement best management practices were unavailable to boaters. The process for developing these tools was an example of how we caught a “unicorn,” via the elusive private, public and non-profit partnership. This presentation will outline the results of the pilot including usage rates, lessons learned, and outline the future direction of the project. Edgar Rudberg, CD3, General Benefit Corporation

Workshop: Natural Shorelines

Becoming a Michigan Shoreland Stewards Ambassador

Are you interested in taking the next step as a steward to protect and preserve the health of your lake?  This workshop is the second pilot training of the new MI Shoreland Stewards Ambassador (MiSSA) Program being developed by the MI Natural Shoreline Partnership.   MiSSAs will spread the word and help educate lake residents and other community members about the MI Shoreland Stewards Program and how to use it to determine if they are practicing good stewardship. This workshop will explain what the role of an "Ambassador" is and provide tools and resources to get started. You will learn how to register your lake association (an official association is not required) on the MI Shoreland Stewards website and some tips on how you can assist lake residents with the survey. You will also be provided access to promotional materials that can be used to help you promote healthier shoreland property management. Julia Kirkwood, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and Jen Buchanan and Eli Baker, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council

Workshop/Field Trip: Citizen Science

Riparian Area Integrated Learning (RAIL) Project Database: Aquatic Macroinvertebrates Citizen Science Monitoring with Immediate Feedback of Results of a Stream Ecosystem

Aquatic macroinvertebrates are such an interesting way to bring a hands-on inquiry-based citizen science activity into the hands of people by letting them sample and then gain insight into concepts and processes that occur within the mysterious world of a stream ecosystem.  I, as the creator of the RAIL Project have been using it for the past 16 years to teach middle school aged students about ecology and the importance of the water around them while at the same time, they have been able to contribute authentic data to scientists in the field of stream ecology.  As an educator, it is this authentic piece that makes the biggest impact. For this workshop, participants will get an introduction to aquatic macroinvertebrates and how they are used to calculate ecosystem attributes and water quality index scores. Next participants will sample a local lotic system and utilize the RAIL Project interactive database to see how easy it is to 1) identify their sample 2) upload their findings and 3) get an immediate report on both water quality and ecosystem attributes.  Each participant will leave the workshop with access to use this database, the online supplemental materials, and the award-winning RAIL Project K-12 curriculum to share with area schools near them. Keith Piccard and Peter Riemersma, Grand Valley State University

Workshop: Remote Sensing CANCELLED

Measuring Algal Biomass in Inland Lakes of the Past Three Decades Using Google Earth Engine

Field Trip: Invasive European Frog-bit in Reeds Lake 

History, Lake Management Plan, and Cooperative Efforts for Controlling Invasive European Frog-bit in Reeds Lake

European frog-bit, an invasive plant, was recently discovered in Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids. During this tour, explore the history, lake management plan, and cooperative efforts to control it. You will collect a box lunch then board the tour bus at noon. The tour will be moderated by Jason Broekstra, Michigan Aquatic Managers Association. Doug La Fave, City of East Grand Rapids, will provide a history of Reeds Lake, followed by a review of the Lake Management Plan by Jaimee Conroy, PLM Lake & Land Management Corp. Drew Rayner, West Michigan Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA), will provide a review of European frog-bit, and Bill Keiper, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, will provide the State agency perspective on frog-bit management. You will then tour frog-bit treatment areas on Reeds Lake via airboat, followed by an opportunity to sample for aquatic plants, algae, and water quality (weather permitting). After a wrap-up discussion, the bus will depart Reeds Lake at 3:30 to return to the hotel. Tour travel is sponsored by the Michigan Aquatic Managers Association, and the facility is provided by the City of East Grand Rapids.



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