Friday 2020

Schedule at a Glance

9:00 - noon Workshops 3
9:00 - 10:30 am Concurrent Sessions 6
10:30 - 10:45 am Break
10:45 am - noon Lightning Talks
Noon - 1:15 pm Lunch Break: Lake Trivia!
1:15 - 2:45 pm Concurrent Sessions 7
2:45 - 3:00 pm Break
3:00 - 4:30 pm Concurrent Sessions 8

 

 

Workshops 3 (Friday, 9:00 - noon)

Collection, identification and ecology of freshwater algae with an emphasis on harmful algal bloom species (Friday, 9:00 - noon)

Ann St. Amand, PhycoTech. Moderator: Lois Wolfson

Algae are an important part of a properly functioning natural aquatic system, but when algae become over abundant, water uses and habitat are often impaired. Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are becoming an urgent and persistent issue in many Michigan lakes. We will cover proper collection and identification approaches that are essential to understanding your lake and selecting a successful management strategy. This workshop is intended to provide information on how to collect and recognize common genera within major groups of algae, with an emphasis on HAB algae. The workshop will also cover basic algal ecology and the methods used to control algae, but with only 3 hours, we can only introduce participants to issues and options. The workshop will consist of both lectures and live microscope imagery and participants are encouraged to send samples to PhycoTech in advance of the workshop for help with their specific lake. A link will be provided to participants with all of the lectures, additional supplementary resources, and annotated images taken during the workshop.

Handout: Freshwater algae information and resources

Video recording: Collection, identification and ecology of freshwater algae

Social skills of social media (Friday, 9:00 - noon)

Eric Eckl, Water Words That Work, LLC. Moderator: Julia Kirkwood

Is your social media generating more zzzzzs than buzz? Or worse, are you still relying on press releases and reports to get your word out? This course demystifies Facebook and Twitter -- and reveals how environmental organizations can join the conversation and grow their audience. In this hands-on, interactive training, participants will learn the following: Part 1. The “Social Skills.” In this session, you will master the “social skills” for posting and tweeting messages your audience will like and share. Part 2. Reaching Beyond Your Choir. In this session, you will discover how Facebook and Twitter filter your messages -- and get tips to "beat the algorithms” to get through more often.

Handout: Social skills of social media

Video recording: Social skills of social media

An update on critical aspects of the forty-year starry stonewort bio-Invasion (Friday, 9:00 - noon)

Scott Brown, Michigan Waterfront Alliance, David Carr, Finger Lakes Institute - Hobart and William Smith College, and Wesley Glisson, Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center

Representing the only known exotic invasive member of the (usually) highly beneficial Characeae family, starry stonewort (scientific name, Nitellopsis obtusa) is a macroalga that has staged a bio-invasion of ‘spectacular’ proportions within the freshwater inundated Laurentian Great Lakes region over the course of the past forty years. Threatened by climate change and eutrophication within its native distribution range, starry stonewort is a powerful ecosystem engineer that often forms dense, wide area meadows that act to suppress native macrophytes and prevent fish from accessing critical foraging and spawning areas. Our three-hour starry stonewort focused workshop will feature four expert speakers whose presentations will be enabled by remote audio and video capability as well as MS Power Point. The workshop will begin with an overview of the natural history, biology, morphology, reproductive capacity, the eco-physiological prerequisites of starry stonewort as well as a review of the number and distribution of inland lakes and other water bodies in Michigan that have been invaded by starry stonewort. Our second speaker will dedicate their presentation to providing our audience with a review of the status of research being conducted to discover and develop effective, eco-friendly herbicide application-based alternatives for controlling starry stonewort. Our subsequent presentation will explore an increasingly utilized ‘pragmatic’ approach to mitigating the harmful impacts of starry stonewort by methodically evaluating conditions at each invaded site, by assessing the coverage area and abundance of each infestation, and by responding with a site characteristics dependent control program comprised of mechanical harvesting, and/or herbicide applications. Our workshop will culminate with a presentation by the manager of the Finger Lakes Institute Starry Stonewort Collaborative who will discuss the mission, goals, and status of an on-going USEPA grant enabled project that was launched in order to enhance the capacity of lake managers and scientists within the Great Lakes region to manage exotic starry stonewort. Each of our four presentations will conclude with an audience dependent question and answer session of up to ten minutes in length.

Video recording: An update on the starry stonewort invasion

Concurrent Sessions 6 (Friday, 9:00 - 10:30 am)

Fisheries Management (Friday, 9:00 - 10:30 am)

(9:00 - 10:30) Managing Michigan's Fisheries on Inland Lakes. Matt Diana, Brian Gunderman, and Joe Nohner, Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Moderator: Sheyenne Nagy

Inland lakes provide habitat for fish populations that provide ecological, recreational, and subsistence values to society. In fact, 48% of all recreational fishing in Michigan is on inland lakes. Managing fish populations includes regulating fishing, managing habitat to support populations, and collaborating with the public to ensure sustainable fish populations for future generations. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages fish populations on inland lakes in collaboration with other agencies and with the public. This session will include presentations from Matt Diana (DNR Fisheries Biologist), Brian Gunderman (DNR Fisheries Natural Resource Manager), and Joe Nohner (DNR Inland Lakes Resource Analyst). In this session, you’ll 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, how fish populations relate to key habitat features, and share information on grant resources available to benefit inland lakes. 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 populations.

Video recording: Managing Michigan's fisheries on inland lakes

 

Lightning Talks (Friday, 10:45 a.m. - Noon)

Each speaker will have five minutes to share their story. Moderator: Jo Latimore

Video recording: Lightning Talks (includes all 5-minute presentations listed below)

  • Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds (Grand Valley Metro Council):  Empowering residents to protect lakes and streams in the Lower Grand River Watershed. Eileen Boekestein, LGROW Environmental Education Coordinator

The Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds (LGROW) exists to discover and restore all water resources and celebrate our shared water legacy throughout the Grand River Watershed community. Hear about the wide array of resources that LGROW provides to residents that help them take an active role in protecting water resources and learn ways to replicate these resources in your own watersheds. Highlighted programs include LGROW’s residential Rainscaping program, diverse and unique community and K-12 education efforts, and collection of water quality data in an online Data Repository.

  • McNALMS:  Promoting and enhancing the protection and management of Michigan’s inland lakes. Erick Elgin, McNALMS President

The protection, management, and wise use of Michigan’s lakes is a challenging task. The Michigan Chapter of the North American Lake Management Society (McNALMS) is a group of professionals, practitioners, and interested citizens who encourage and promote the preservation and wise management of Michigan’s inland lakes. McNALMS is an affiliate member of the international North American Lake Management Society. Through this affiliation, McNALMS is able to draw on the expertise of scientists, engineers, policymakers, and citizens from throughout the world. Our Chapter provides a unique opportunity for individuals, groups and lake advocates to come together to achieve shared lake protection and restoration objectives. This presentation will discuss our two main programs – student grant program and outreach series. The student grant program promotes student efforts to work with lakes and lake communities and to enhance lake management. On average, McNALMS with our partner the Michigan Lakes and Streams Associations awards $4,000 per year. Our outreach series seeks to advance the knowledge of lake management professionals and riparians on urgent and timely issues such as HABS and climate change impacts on fisheries.

  • Michigan Lakes and Streams Association (MLSA):  Helping to preserve and protect Michigan waters since 1961. Melissa DeSimone, Executive Director

An overview of what MLSA does, and the benefits of membership.

  • Michigan State University Extension: Natural shoreline programs and water quality monitoring. Erick Elgin, Michigan State University Extension

Michigan State University Extension provides a variety of programming that supports the protection, wise use, and long-term monitoring of Michigan’s inland lakes. In this presentation, we will highlight our partnership with the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership and discuss the many programs we provide that promote and encourage natural shoreline design and practices. We will also cover another important partnership - the Michigan Clean Water Corps’ Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP). The CLMP is a long-term citizen science lake monitoring program that helps volunteers monitor water quality indicators in lakes around the state. We will summarize each of these partnerships and provide information on how to get involved.

  • How to keep advocacy alive in times of apathy and anxiety. Carol Richardson, Ore Lake Preservation Association

My husband, Kurt Richardson, and I have participated in Ore Lake water quality monitoring program since 1980. We have lots of information to share with others about how to scale up when there is a crisis, and how to scale back when the water quality issues are minimal.

Handout: Slides for How to keep advocacy alive in times of apathy and anxiety

  • Michigan State University Extension: Introduction to Lakes Online and the Michigan Lake and Stream Leaders Institute. Jo Latimore, Michigan State University

Michigan State University Extension offers a wide variety of educational and personal development programs related to inland lakes. Introduction to Lakes is a 6-week online course that introduces concepts of lake and watershed ecology, aquatic plants, shoreline habitat, lake policy and law, and community engagement. The Michigan Lake and Stream Leaders Institute is an in-person, immersive experience that meets in multi-day sessions throughout the year. Institute participants expand their ecological knowledge, develop leadership skills, and build a peer network to support their lake and stream stewardship goals. The Institute is co-sponsored by MSUE; MSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; Michigan Lake and Stream Association; and the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership.

  • Environmental and morphometric drivers of zooplankton community composition in lakes across the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Jonathan P. Doubek, Samuel J. Johnston, Brady D. Slater, Kevin L. Kapuscinski, and Ashley H. Moerke, Lake Superior State University

Lakes are changing color across the US, and in many regions worldwide, often becoming more turbid (i.e., browner or greener), in part because of human actions. Lake color, and subsequently lake function, can play a critical role in lake processes and in structuring biological communities, such as zooplankton, which are critical in regulating water quality and food webs. Many clear and brown lakes exist in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, making for an excellent comparison in how lake color vs. other environmental and morphometric variables may affect zooplankton communities. We are conducting a “sampling-blitz” of about 30 lakes in the eastern Upper Peninsula during June 2020. Each lake will be sampled once in a standardized manner for physical profiles, water chemistry, water clarity, chlorophyll a, and zooplankton communities. Species richness, density, and biomass will be quantified for zooplankton (crustaceans and rotifers). Lakes sampled vary along many environmental and morphometric gradients such as pH, depth, color (i.e., tannic vs. clear lakes), and trophic state. Therefore, we will be able to assess primary drivers of zooplankton communities across different lake types and environmental and morphometric conditions. We will report preliminary results of this study, including water quality and zooplankton data from many lakes with limited or no historical data. We anticipate our results will provide insight into how changing lake color and conditions can affect zooplankton communities and inform management of inland lakes.

  • What can the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership do for you? Joe Nohner, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership is a collaboration among over 1,000 partners across 8 states to protect, rehabilitate, and enhance sustainable fish habitats in natural inland lakes of the Midwest. The partnership 1) Conducts scientific assessments to determine the condition of and threats to fish habitats; 2) Enables partners to complete on-the-ground habitat conservation projects; 3) Conducts education and outreach to improve understanding and spark action resulting in fish habitat conservation; and 4) Provides a forum for those seeking inland lake fish habitat conservation to share strategies and resources. Recent products from the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership that you may find useful, and which are all on the organization’s website, include the Shoreline Living document that promotes natural shorelines on private lakefront properties; the Lake Conservation webinar series with information on the latest science, management, and outreach tools; the Lake Conservation grants, and the Conservation Planner that provides information on shoreline, watershed, and climate change threats to every lake.

  • Michigan State University Extension: Aquatic invasive species prevention programs. Paige Filice, Michigan State University Extension

Aquatic invasive species are a significant ecological and economical threat to the health of Michigan’s inland lakes. To address this issue, Michigan State University Extension (MSU Extension) educates and engages stakeholders through a variety of research-based outreach programs. The Mobile Boat Wash and the Michigan Clean Boats, Clean Waters program help local organizations increase awareness of aquatic invasive species and clean boating practices via boat washing trainings and events. To address the introduction of aquatic invasive species from the pet and garden trade, MSU Extension coordinates the Reduce Invasive Pet and Plant Escapes (RIPPLE) program. RIPPLE works alongside pet and garden retailers and hobbyists to share safe handling and disposal methods for non-native plants and animals available in trade.

  • Protecting your lake through outreach: Resources for aquatic invasive species. Kevin Walters, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

I will provide a brief update on the status of Michigan's AIS outreach programs for inland lakes (AIS Landing Blitz, mobile boat washing, etc.) and provide viewers with online resources as well as opportunities for joining existing programs and receiving hard copies of outreach materials for boaters and anglers.

  • The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay: Watershed nonprofit engages concerned citizens and lake associations in local decision-making around water. Heather Smith, TWC Grand Traverse Baykeeper

The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay (TWC) is a nonprofit organization in northern lower Michigan with a mission to advocate for clean water in Grand Traverse Bay and preserve and protect its watershed. TWC has been advocating for clean water in the Grand Traverse Bay region by focusing on sustainable solutions to water quality threats on a local level for over 25 years. TWC works with concerned citizens, lake associations, local governments, developers, and landowners to ensure a connection between the community value of water and local decision-making. TWC strives to provide technical and policy resources to stakeholders dealing with water-issues in the Grand Traverse Bay watershed. We respond to citizen concerns about water issues; investigate water quality threats; assess applicable local, state, and federal laws; and draft technical advocacy positions. Our policy efforts are focused on teaching local appointed and elected officials as well as municipal staff about the importance of resilient community planning to protect water. Our Watershed Warriors volunteer advocacy program is one of our newest initiatives that focuses on engaging citizens in water advocacy at the local level. Our lightning talk will illustrate two or three examples of how TWC works with citizens and lake associations on water-related issues and how we draw on our network of dedicated, passionate advocates to ensure our messages are widely heard during the decision-making process.

  • Shoreline Living: A resource to promote natural shorelines on inland lakes. Erin Fuller, Van Buren Conservation District

This presentation will highlight a new resource that inland lake supporters can use to showcase natural shorelines. Shoreline Living is a magazine-style publication containing articles highlighting five families who live on natural shorelines. Beautiful photographs of each property accompany the articles, and the families share their process in creating, maintaining, and enjoying their natural shorelines. The publication and its source photography can be used as a tool to promote natural shorelines by providing examples of everyday shoreline property owners who dipped their toes into a natural shoreline.

  • A brief introduction to the mission and goals of the Michigan Waterfront Alliance. Bob Frye, MWA President

Michigan Waterfront Alliance (MWA) is a non-profit corporation that was formed over twenty years ago in order to contribute to the creation or preservation of state laws, and/or policies designed to protect, preserve, and promote the wise and sustainable use of the inland water resources located in the State of Michigan. Our primary mission will be accomplished by pro-active participation in Michigan’s legislative process, certain court cases, and/or by direct involvement with natural resources management, or environmental quality focused state agencies or departments. For example, Michigan Waterfront Alliance personnel are currently working with the senior leadership of the Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Division within the context of a collaborative taskforce that is committed to moving forward with efforts intended to prevent or reduce the number of new introductions of aquatic invasive species that occur through DNR-owned public access boating sites. As a 501(c)4 membership-based organization, Michigan Waterfront Alliance possesses the ability to effectively influence Michigan’s legislative process through pro-active lobbying, an action that is not permitted by 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. We encourage waterfront property owners, conservation minded citizens, and anyone else concerned about the future of Michigan’ vast treasure of freshwater resources to become members of our organization.

 

Lunch Break (Friday, Noon - 1:15 pm)

Featuring Lake Trivia! 12:30 - 1:00 pm

Moderator: Jo Latimore

 

Concurrent Sessions 7 (Friday, 1:15 - 2:45 pm)

Watersheds (Friday, 1:15 - 2:45 pm)

Moderator:  Joe Nohner

Video recording: Watersheds (includes all 3 presentations below)

(1:15) Nonpoint source pollution success stories in lake restoration. Ellie Flaherty, ORAU/EPA

Nonpoint source pollution (NPS) Success Stories are published by the Environmental Protection Agency's 319 program, and highlight water bodies identified by states as being primarily NPS-impaired and having achieved documented water quality improvements. These stories are short summaries of the innovative approaches and partnerships behind each water quality improvement. In order to better understand the effective approaches that have led to water quality improvements, a subset of these Success Stories were selected based on waterbody type and evaluated more closely. There are over eighty Success Stories that include water quality improvements in lakes, and this subset of lake-related stories is the focus of this analysis. This presentation will discuss findings from analyses of the many parameters collected as a part of each lake success story, with an emphasis on the watershed approach. This will include an evaluation of pollutants, time-frames from listing to delisting, suites of management/restoration practices on the land and in-lake, as well partners and funding.

(1:45) Protecting land = protecting lakes: how land trusts can help. Hilary Hunt, Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy

Sometimes it feels like we are overflowing with technological fixes to problems caused by the over-development of lakes. But what if we got back to basics? The very best way to prevent a future erosion, pollution, or flooding problem on a currently high-quality lake is to take action now by conserving what's left. Do you live or recreate on a lake that still has natural land along its shores? If so, maybe your local land trust can help keep it that way. The very best tool to keep water quality intact and to maintain healthy wildlife habitat is to protect existing high quality natural areas from future development. Natural systems function cohesively in ways that technological fixes can only hope to emulate. For example, natural land lining the shore of a lake defends against flooding, filters pollutants, recharges groundwater, allows infiltration, reduces algae blooms, and sustains all forms of life. That's where your local land trust comes in. Charged with the protection and permanent conservation of beautiful natural land, Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy has protected 17,500 acres of land in SW Michigan over the past 29 years and has worked with hundreds of landowners to protect the places they love. Geared toward all who love natural lake shorelines and want to see them thrive, this presentation will teach you about the tools your local land trust can use to help protect inland lakes. Topics covered include: how land trusts work in an inland lake context, examples and lessons from past inland lake projects, tools for inland lake protection (such as conservation easements), and how to know whether your land is a good candidate for this kind of protection.

(2:15) A forest landscape approach to lake habitat protection. Dan Steward, Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources

Counties and Soil and Water Conservation Districts are working to develop watershed-based comprehensive local water plans across Minnesota. In the past year two watersheds in the lake rich north-central part of the state have completed their plans and are now moving into implementation. The plans focus on long-term protection of private forest lands. The plans prioritize lakes, then target parcels with a simple GIS approach. The goal of the plans is to achieve 75% protected forest cover in the lake's watershed. The 75% strategy is based on research conducted by Peter Jacobson and Minnesota DNR Fisheries.

Lake Management (Friday, 1:15 - 2:45 pm)

Moderator: Lois Wolfson

Video recording: Lake Management (includes both talks below)

(1:15) Aquatic plant management and regulatory compliance. Peter Filpansick, LakePro, Inc.

Managing aquatic plants with herbicides is regulated by several agencies and numerous rules. All that red tape can be downright confusing even for professional applicators. In this presentation, we will review the different agencies and their roles in regulating aquatic plant management. This includes the EPA that registers herbicides, MDARD that licenses applicators, and EGLE that issues permits for treatments. We will examine some of the main restrictions related to aquatic plant management treatments. Finally, we will discuss how you can work with your contractor to ensure the work done on your lake follows all applicable rules and regulations.

(1:45) TALK CANCELLED

(2:15) Some useful sampling and statistical methods for assessing potential abundance changes in aquatic plant surveys. James N. McNair, Annis Water Resources Institute - Grand Valley State University, and Ryan A. Thum, Montana State University

Adaptive management of invasive aquatic plants requires objective and rigorous methods for assessing management outcomes. In particular, it is important that evidence regarding potential reductions in abundance or cover following management treatments, or changes in the relative frequencies of different ecotypes or genotypes, be based on valid statistical analysis at a specified and appropriate level of confidence. Assessments of management outcomes have two main components: field sampling and statistical analysis. In this presentation, we review several practical methods for sampling invasive aquatic plants (e.g., transect sampling, point-intercept sampling, determining fates of marked plants), then discuss some useful nonparametric statistical methods that permit rigorous statistical analysis of the resulting data (e.g., chi-squared test, McNemar’s test, various tests for proportions). The underlying assumptions on which the statistical methods we discuss depend are less restrictive than those for parametric methods like t tests and analysis of variance, but there nevertheless are assumptions that must be verified. We briefly discuss these assumptions, how they are related to the sampling method, and how one can determine whether they are tenable for a given data set. We illustrate both sampling and statistical methods with data from herbicide treatments in Michigan inland lakes, and we suggest appropriate statistical functions in the R programming language and computing environment that can be used to carry out the various statistical tests we review.

People and Invasive Species (Friday, 1:15 - 2:45 pm)

Moderator: Brad Neumann

Video recording: People and Invasive Species (includes all 3 presentations below)

(1:15) A comparison of watercraft decontamination methods: Invasive species removal, boater outreach, and cost. Maria Bleitz, Michigan State University; Kevin Walters, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; and Jo Latimore, Michigan State University

The secondary spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) via trailered watercraft to inland lakes and reservoirs is an issue that negatively affects native species and costs billions of dollars in the Great Lakes region every year. Preventative efforts against AIS have focused on reducing overland spread by encouraging boaters to remove invasive organisms from their watercraft, trailers, and gear before launching in another lake. Local communities have installed boat wash stations at launch sites that use heated pressurized water to remove invasive animals and plant fragments. Recently, several local communities including Higgins Lake have purchased waterless boat cleaning stations such as CD3 units that use compressed air, vacuums, and hand tools. Few studies have compared these two cleaning approaches, and none have in the context of Michigan's regulations. We conducted a review of published literature and unpublished data with the goals of assessing the effectiveness of both boat-cleaning methods in terms of AIS decontamination effectiveness, boater/angler outreach effectiveness, and cost effectiveness. The review includes a synthesis of 1) unpublished data collected by the CD3 units at Higgins lake, survey data collected by the Michigan State University Mobile Boat Wash program, data from various local boat operations, and 2) reports compiled by CD3, white papers, and primary literature of various decontamination methods. The findings will be presented as a resource for lake managers considering investing in boat cleaning equipment or programs at their own lakes.

(1:45) Incorporating citizen science in a study of invasive watermilfoil. Jo Latimore, Michigan State University; Erick Elgin, Michigan State University Extension; Ryan Thum, Montana State University; and Syndell Parks, Grand Valley State University

We engaged volunteers in the MiCorps Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP) in a multiyear research project investigating the extent and variability of hybrid watermilfoil genotypes across Michigan’s inland lakes. Hybridization of native northern watermilfoil (Myriophyllum sibiricum) and invasive Eurasian watermilfoil (M. spicatum) has resulted in a variety of aggressive strains (genotypes) in inland lakes. Some of these genotypes show low susceptibility to herbicides that can be successfully used to manage Eurasian watermilfoil infestations. We developed volunteer-friendly sampling instructions and kits for preserving and shipping samples to the laboratory. We then invited participants based on their experience with CLMP aquatic plant surveys, geographic distribution, and suspected or confirmed presence of Eurasian watermilfoil or hybrids in their lakes. Over twenty people contributed samples to the project, representing twenty-two Michigan lakes over two years. We communicated the results of genetic testing through individual lake reports that included data and a map of genotype locations. We will also discuss the citizen scientists’ experiences with the project, including how they used the information about watermilfoils in their lakes.

Handout: Incorporating citizen science in a study of invasive watermilfoil - slides

(2:15) Empowering pet and garden retailers to protect Michigan lakes from aquatic invasive species. Paige Filice, Michigan State University Extension, and Jo Latimore, Michigan State University

When non-native aquatic plants and animals from the pet and garden trade are released into Michigan waterways they pose a significant ecological and economic threat. To address this in Michigan we educate retailers and hobbyists about safe handling and disposal practices through the research-based outreach program Reduce Invasive Pet and Plant Escapes (RIPPLE). Since RIPPLE began in 2015 over 120 garden retailers, hobbyist clubs, nature centers, zoos and school districts have become RIPPLE partners. Partners receive aquatic invasive species identification and reporting resources and outreach kits with printed materials for display and distribution. To ensure RIPPLE was meeting the needs of our primary target audience, we surveyed all independently owned pet and garden retailers in Michigan that sell aquatic organisms or provide services to aquatic hobbyists. The survey improved our understanding of retailers’ knowledge of aquatic invasive species, current behavior, and attitudes regarding their responsibility for prevention. Results indicate that while many retailers believe aquariums and water gardens are an invasive species risk, some do not believe they are responsible for preventing introductions. In addition, only half of surveyed retailers accept unwanted plants or animals from the public. Utilizing these survey results we are enhancing the RIPPLE program to empower our program partners and designing new outreach materials that align with their knowledge and behaviors.

Water Quality Assessment (Friday, 1:15 - 1:45 pm)

(1:15) Rapidly advancing technologies for enhanced water quality assessment. Dennis Wiand, ZeroGravity Aerial, LLC; Rob Karner, Glen Lake Association; and Ronald Reimink, Freshwater Solutions, LLC. Moderator: Ralph Bednarz

Rapidly advancing technologies using drones and quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) are quickly becoming essential tools for water quality assessment and preservation on inland lakes. Drones capture archivable footage on entire lake shorelines that can be mined to identify and catalog important features such as inlet pipes, seawalls, Cladophora, erosion, invasive plants, and even the number of 2- vs. 4-stroke outboard motors on the lake. Exact flight paths are recorded so replicate surveys can be conducted in subsequent years for comparison. The qPCR platform, currently being democratized in Michigan by scientists from the University of Alberta in collaboration with Freshwater Solutions, is currently being used to battle swimmer’s itch and test for human enteric bacteria in the water. Many other uses include detecting invasive or endangered species and monitoring for blue-green algal blooms. Like drone footage, water sample extracts can be archived for decades and used again for future assessments. Studies are underway combining both drone technology equipped with IR cameras and water samples assessed using qPCR to identify failing or overused septic systems.

Video recording: Rapidly advancing technologies for enhanced water quality assessment

 

Concurrent Sessions 8 (Friday, 3:00 - 4:30 pm)

Value and Conservation of Aquatic Plants (Friday, 3:00 - 4:30 pm)

This session will review the functions and services of aquatic plants and their importance in maintaining ecological functions in addition to perpetuating peoples’ use and enjoyment of the water. We will also review the intrinsic functions and services different types of lakes provide with a specific focus on shallow lake ecology, aquatic plants, and common threats and stressors. We will close the session with a discussion of best management practices and permitting requirements for various types of aquatic plant control methods. Moderator: Eric Calabro

Video recording: Value and conservation of aquatic plants (includes all 3 presentations below)

(3:30) What's so important about "weeds"? Ecosystem services provided by aquatic plants. Joe Nohner, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

(4:00) Shallow lakes: Unique features and perceptions. Erick Elgin, Michigan State University Extension, and Eric Calabro, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Shallow lakes are a ubiquitous freshwater habitat characterized by the lack of thermal stratification and having depths shallow enough to permit aquatic plant growth throughout the lake basin. Due to their unique features, shallow lakes commonly exist either in a clear water state dominated by aquatic plants, or in a turbid state lacking aquatic plants and dominated by suspended sediments and algae. Shallow lakes are important to many aquatic and terrestrial biota because they provide crucial habitat for waterfowl, amphibians, invertebrates, and various flora, particularly when the lake is in the clear water state. However, shallow lake characteristics (namely rich plant growth, shallow depth, and low volume) make them particularly sensitive to human degradation. Actions resulting in the reduction of aquatic plants (e.g. intensive plant management, lake level control structures, lake bottom disturbances, etc…) may move the lake into the less desirable turbid state. This presentation will cover shallow lake ecology and common threats and stressors. We will also discuss what to expect if you live on a shallow lake and how to best interact with their unique features and challenges.

(4:30) Permitting requirements for aquatic plant control. Eric Calabro and Ryan Crouch, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Public Trust Doctrine (Friday, 3:00 - 4:30 pm)

Legal aspects of the public trust doctrine as it pertains to Michigan's Lakes and Streams. William Carey, Carey & Jaskowski PLLC; and Dane Carey, Kuhn Rogers PLC. Moderator: Bob Frye

Session attendees will be apprised of their legal rights under the Michigan Environmental Protection Act and Public Trust Doctrine by attorney William Carey of the Grayling Michigan Law firm Carey & Jaskowski PLLC and Dane Carey of the Traverse City Law firm of Kuhn Rogers PLC. This session is intended to provide an overview of the legal remedies that can be used to compel an appropriate governmental response to combat negative environmental impacts on Michigan Waterways. The discussion will focus on the viability of bringing a legal action against the State of Michigan or its various departments for (1) facilitating the introduction of negative environmental circumstances or (2) failing to take appropriate action to prevent environmental impairment.

Video recording: Public Trust Doctrine

Septic Systems (Friday, 3:00 - 4:30 pm)

Protecting inland lakes: Septic system maintenance, policies, and treatment options. Grenetta Thomassey, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council; Larry Stephens, Stephens Consulting Services, PC; and Regina Young, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. Moderator: Bindu Bhakta

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) estimates that more than 10% of the state’s 1.3 million septic systems are in some state of failure. The current and future reality of onsite systems is that they are and will continue to be permanent solutions to wastewater treatment and are a long-term part of Michigan’s infrastructure. Importantly, these systems require careful maintenance in order to properly treat wastewater, especially in environmentally sensitive areas along inland lakes. Given the thousands of individuals living on or near inland lakes who rely on septic systems, the influence of shoreline soil type and water table level on potential septic system contaminants, and consideration of alternatives to conventional treatment systems are critical in minimizing negative impacts on both human and lake ecosystem health. Compounding these issues is Michigan’s changing climate. We are currently experiencing one of the state’s wettest weather periods, as evidenced by record-level water and extreme shoreline erosion along the Great Lakes. The resulting high surface water and groundwater levels have threatened the ability of on-site wastewater disposal systems to function properly, and have also impacted the safety of private drinking water wells as well. This panel-style session begins with a look at the septic system policies in watersheds located in Northwest Michigan, problems that were identified, and discussion of options local units of government can consider when deciding the best ways to protection of Michigan’s inland lakes. Next, alternative treatment system options will be discussed which are better suited for inland lakes. Finally, impacts of high surface water and groundwater on septic systems and best management practices that should be taken during flooding events will be discussed. Time will be scheduled for questions and answers to close out the session.

Session handout: Additional Resources for Septic System Maintenance, Policies & Treatment Options

Video recording: Septic Systems

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