Wednesday 2020

Schedule at a Glance

9:00 - noon Workshops 1
Noon - 1:15 pm Lunch Break: Partner Organization Awards
1:15 - 2:30 pm Welcome and Keynote: Dr. Robert Thorson
2:30 - 2:45 pm Break
2:45 - 3:15 pm Concurrent Sessions 1
3:15 - 3:30 pm Break
3:30 - 5:00 pm Concurrent Sessions 2
5:00 - 6:00 pm Student/Mentor Networking Mixer


Workshops 1 (Wednesday, 9:00 - noon)

The best conservation tools: You and your lake association (Wednesday, 9:00 - noon)

Melissa DeSimone, Paul Sniadecki, and Lon Nordeen, Michigan Lakes and Streams Association. Moderator: Paul Hausler

Whether you consider yourself bold and influential or timid and conflict averse, this session is for you. As riparian property owners, we will discuss why your lake needs you and an active lake association to ensure a healthy and vibrant legacy. This session will offer the motivation for you to live lake conservation life through your own property maintenance decisions. An emphasis will be put on how these decisions are a fun and fulfilling lifestyle for you that can also inspire others. We will discuss ways you can be a conservation influencer on and off social media without the use of a soapbox. Broadening the picture, we will address the power of a group: your lake association. We will identify the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to walk you through how you and your association can guide conservation decisions from the neighborhood all the way to the state level. Come discover how to make conservation light work with many hands and build a proactive community structure that will last for generations.

Video recording: The best conservation tools: You and your lake association

Fish Identification (Wednesday, 9:00 am - noon)

Brian Roth, Michigan State University

Michigan’s inland lakes are home to dozens of fish species, from familiar game fishes to nongame fishes that most people rarely encounter. During this interactive workshop, you will learn about key characteristics that make fish identification easier, and discuss the lake habitats where different species are most likely to be found. We will take advantage of existing online resources, and provide opportunities for practice. You will finish with a stronger familiarity of the diversity of Michigan’s inland lake fishes, and a list of identification guides and online resources to support your continued explorations.

Workshop handout: Fish Identification Workshop Syllabus and Resources

Video recording: Fish identification

Changing the subject (Wednesday, 9:00 am - noon)

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

Conservation organizations are increasingly weaving climate science into their efforts to protect land and water. In this training, we will explore concepts, strategies, and tips for weaving climate topics into your communications. Part 1. Who Responds to What Message. In this session, you will explore climate change knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs in America. You will discover how your stakeholders fit into that picture and how to deliver messages that work for them. Part 2: Tailoring Messages to Your Audience. We will learn to create messages for "the alarmed" and the "doubtful," and who the public does and doesn't trust on this topic. Part 3. Keeping Your Eye on the Ball. Explore some pro techniques for keeping your work group focused and your climate messages clear and compelling.

Workshop handout: Changing the subject

Video recording: Changing the subject

Aquatic plant identification (Wednesday, 9:00 am - noon)

Erick Elgin, Michigan State University Extension, and Jo Latimore, Michigan State University. Moderator: Paige Filice

Submersed aquatic plants are an important component of lake ecosystems and provide many ecosystem services. Yet, aquatic plants are often identified simply as “cabbage” or “narrow-leaf pondweed species”, which overlooks the diversity of species present in north temperate lakes. Furthermore, aquatic invasive species can often be confused with native look-alikes, which may spur improper management actions or inaction. This workshop will consist of a brief lecture covering aquatic plant identification 101 followed by interactive practice identifying aquatic plants. Participation in this workshop will help advance submersed aquatic plant identification skills and foster a growing appreciation of native aquatic plants found in Michigan’s lakes.

Workshop handout: Aquatic Plant Identification Resources

Video recording: Aquatic plant identification - Part 1Aquatic plant identification - Part 2


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

Featuring Partner Organization Awards, 12:30 - 1:00 pm

Moderator: Lois Wolfson

Video recording: Partner organization awards


Welcome and Keynote: Dr. Robert Thorson (Wednesday, 1:15 - 2:30 pm)

(1:15) Welcome. Jo Latimore, Michigan State University, and Julia Kirkwood, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy - Convention Co-Chairs

(1:30) Keynote Address. Michigan inland lakes: Their different origins and why this matters for lake managers. Dr. Robert Thorson, University of Connecticut. Presentation description and Dr. Thorson's bio can be found on our 2020 Program page. Moderator: Ralph Bednarz

Handout: Beyond Walden - Excerpts and Ideas

Video recording: Welcome and Keynote - Dr. Robert Thorson


Concurrent Sessions 1 (Wednesday, 2:45 - 3:15 pm)

Lake Stewardship (Wednesday, 2:45 - 3:15 pm).

(2:45) Building lake organization capacity the Wisconsin Way: 50 years of the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership. Eric Olson and Sara Windjue, University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. Moderator: Joe Nohner

Wisconsin began a long-term collaborative natural resource management experiment in the late 1960s by bringing together the state government, the university, and local lake advocates under a shared umbrella: the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership. This effort has directed tremendous time and money towards understanding lakes and fostering their protection and rehabilitation. In this presentation, we will share the “mental model” that places local lake organization capacity as a critical leverage point in a system aimed at protecting and restoring thousands of inland lakes. We will share results of a recent survey of Wisconsin lake organizations that asked their leaders to self-assess their group’s capacity, and describe a new program that engages the community development expertise of the UW Madison Division of Extension to help lake organization boards take their efforts to the next level. These ideas have broad applicability to lake groups throughout the Midwest and we hope to inspire Michigan lake advocates to participate and share their capacity-building success stories.

Video recording: Building lake organization capacity the Wisconsin Way

Harmful Algae (Wednesday, 2:45 - 3:15 pm)

(2:45) Bloom or bust: long- and short-term drivers of cyanobacterial blooms on Muskegon Lake, Michigan – a Great Lakes estuary. Jasmine Mancuso, Grand Valley State University. Moderator: Sheyenne Nagy

Muskegon Lake, a drowned river mouth estuary that empties Michigan’s second largest watershed into Lake Michigan, historically suffers from cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms due to cultural eutrophication. This study provides both a historical take on cyanobacterial blooms in Muskegon Lake and a focus on the year 2019. While visible blooms still form periodically on the lake during the summer and fall, a look into historical data from 2003 to 2019 reveals a major decrease in cyanobacterial abundance over time along with shifts in community composition in response to changes in nutrients and temperature. Additionally, the long-term dataset from the Muskegon Lake Observatory buoy revealed 2019 to be an anomalous year in terms of weather. Biweekly sampling of three sites on the lake during 2019 captured how the aberrant weather affected the phytoplankton community. With an unusually cool spring and the highest precipitation accumulation on record, the phytoplankton community saw domination in all seasons by an unexpected group – the diatoms. Though multiple genera were found, cyanobacteria comprised less than 2% of the phytoplankton community in 2019 – the lowest on record for Muskegon Lake. Further, an in situ bioassay with bottom water and river water as treatments and near-surface water as a control allowed us to explore which nutrients stimulate algal growth, identify the sources of these nutrients (internal loading v. river influx), and determine whether this source changed seasonally. We conclude that nutrient forms and concentrations drive cyanobacterial abundance and composition in Muskegon Lake on a yearly basis, but large-scale climatic events impacting regional temperature and precipitation can override the system. These findings provide an alternate perspective on the impacts of a changing climate on the phytoplankton community in Great Lakes estuaries. Lessons learned from this model Great Lakes estuary should be applicable to similarly impacted freshwater estuaries and temperate lakes.

Video recording: Bloom or bust - Part 1; Bloom or bust - Part 2

Invasive Species Management (Wednesday, 2:45 - 3:15 pm)

(2:45) Controlling invasive aquatic species with ProcellaCOR on Big Pine Island Lake, Kent County, MI. Jason Broekstra, PLM Lake & Land Management Corp., and Rick Buteyn, Progressive AE. Moderator: Christina Baugher

Evaluation of a new herbicide, "ProcellaCOR", for controlling invasive aquatic plants, specifically Eurasian watermilfoil. Two different treatment combinations were used during this case study. One large section of shoreline was treated with only ProcellaCOR and several other areas of the lake were treated with a combination of ProcellaCOR (low dose) and Tribune (Diquat) herbicides. Several aspects of this case study will be documented via pre- and post-survey efforts; control of Eurasian watermilfoil (EWM), impacts on curly-leaf pondweed, native plant response and duration of EWM control. Progressive AE and PLM Lake & Land Management Corp are jointly implementing/presenting this evaluation treatment on Big Pine Island Lake, Kent County, MI. Brief field operation videos will be included in this presentation.

Video recording: Controlling invasive species with ProcellaCOR

Aquatic Plants (Wednesday, 2:45 - 3:15 pm)

(2:45) Using floating plants in a constructed wetland for phosphorus removal from tile drain runoff. Lois Wolfson and Jeremiah Asher, Michigan State University

Phosphorus runoff to inland lakes can occur from a number of sources, including tile drain from farm fields. A project currently underway is testing the effectiveness of using a combination of floating vegetation mats and a filtration bed for capturing water from tile drain and then removing nutrients by directing the water to two connected wetlands. Water samples are collected every 48 hours using automatic sampler and drainage control structures to measure water flow and concentrations of phosphorus (P) and nitrogen. Video cameras set up around the wetlands allow for continuous visual inspection of the site. Currently, four plant species [common bulrush (Scirpus atrovirens), fox sedge (Carex vulpinoidea), hispid buttercup (Ranunculus hispidus), and common rush (Juncus effusus)] planted on floating mats and grown hydroponically are being analyzed for changes in biomass, nutrient concentration and temperature hardiness. Average wet weight gain after year one, ranged from a low of 32g for buttercup to a high of 176g for bulrush. Concentrations of phosphorus and nitrogen are currently being measured for both roots and shoots in the four species.

Video recording: Using floating plants in a constructed wetland


Concurrent Sessions 2 (Wednesday, 3:30 - 5:00 pm)

Lake Stewardship (Wednesday, 3:30 - 5:00 pm)

MI Shoreland Stewards: Becoming an Ambassador. Julia Kirkwood, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy & Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership; and Jennifer Buchanan, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council. Moderator: Joe Nohner

An ambassador is a volunteer who wants to take the next step as a shoreland steward to protect and preserve the health of their lake. Come learn about the resources available and how you can get started on providing information about the Shoreland Stewards Program in your lake community.

Video recording: MI Shoreland Stewards

Water Quality and Local Governments (Wednesday, 3:30 - 5:00 pm)

Come HABs or high water: Local government roles in protecting water quality, property, and place. Brad Neumann, Mary Reilly, and Erick Elgin, Michigan State University Extension. Moderator: Eric Calabro

Local government has significant roles in protecting the water quality of inland lakes. Water quality is tied directly to property values and both contribute to quality of life and sense of place. The challenge is knowing the right tools to use – from planning, to regulatory approaches, to educational and enforcement campaigns – based on the characteristics of the lake, the surrounding landscape, and development. This session will present various lake and landscape assessment approaches through the lenses of limnology and physical geography that will inform the next steps in local government inland lakes regulation. Whether to implement larger setbacks, minimum lot sizes, natural shoreline buffers or not will depend on the results of the assessment. Some regulatory tools might not be options depending on the shoreline characteristics, and in the presence of high water, what other concepts need to be considered such as floodplain regulation or hazard mitigation? Session participants will gain perspectives on planning approaches related to inland lakes, the variety of tools available to address concerns related to water quality and high water, and the varying roles of who can do what, where, and when with respect to inland lakes related regulation.

Video recording: Come HABs or high water

Swimmer's Itch (Wednesday, 3:30 - 5:00 pm)

Understanding the itch: New findings on swimmer's itch in Michigan Lakes. Ronald Reimink, Freshwater Solutions, LLC; Thomas Raffel, Oakland University; Patrick Hannington, University of Alberta (invited); and Deanna Soper, University of Dallas (invited). Moderator: Ralph Bednarz

Advances in DNA technology, particularly quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR), have allowed unprecedented progress in understanding the parasites responsible for causing swimmer’s itch (SI) in Michigan. Major research initiatives since 2016 have revealed a novel species of parasite, changes in parasite populations over time, effects of wind and time of day on parasite concentrations, ecological predictors of SI risk in northern MI lakes, prevalence of parasites in southern Michigan, and effectiveness of novel swimmer’s itch prevention strategies. Findings from a collaborative effort of scientists from Freshwater Solutions, Oakland University, the University of Alberta and the University of Dallas will be presented.

Video recording: Understanding the itch

Aquatic Invasive Species (Wednesday, 3:30 - 5:00 pm)

This session will discuss state management updates and the state’s role in aquatic invasive species (AIS) management, the value of early detection and response, and the new European Frog-bit infestations in West Michigan. Moderator: Paige Filice

Video recording: State management aquatic invasive species updates (includes all 3 presentations below)

(3:30) State management Aquatic Invasive Species updates. Sarah LeSage, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

(4:00) Value of early detection and response. Sarah LeSage, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

(4:30) Responding to European frog-bit in West Michigan. William Keiper, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

European frog-bit (Hydrocharis morus-ranae) was first found in Michigan in 1996 near Lake Erie and is now wide spread along Michigan’s eastern shoreline. More recently, European frog-bit (EFB) has spread inland, particularly in West Michigan. In 2016, EFB was found in Reeds and Fisk Lake in East Grand Rapids. In 2019, EFB was found in both the lower Grand River and Pentwater Lake. The recent range expansions are a serious concern and managers are actively working to contain known infestations and prevent further spread. Control efforts have been ongoing since 2016 in Reeds and Fisk Lake. Delimiting the Grand River and Pentwater infestations are underway and will guide management actions. Responding to EFB in West MI has been a joint effort with numerous project partners in an effort to prevent EFB from becoming widely established.


Student/Mentor Networking Mixer (Wednesday, 5:00 - 6:00 pm)

Moderator: Constanza Hazelwood

Students are invited to join informal conversations with professionals on a variety of topics, including lake-related careers, graduate school, job opportunities, lake research and management, and more. A list of mentors will be sent to all student registrants in advance of the Convention. Students will have a chance to meet in small groups with up to three different mentors during this interactive event.

This session was not recorded.

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