Conference to discuss threats to Michigan inland lakes and streams

Michigan Lake and Stream Associations 2017 conference is to be held on Earth Day to focus on the significant threats and management of invasive species of Michigan’s inland lakes and streams.

Photo credit: Emily Walker
Photo credit: Emily Walker

Some of the early threats to Michigan’s lakes and streams, such as unrestricted logging and use of harmful pesticides have declined. Yet, threats remain that highlight the continued relevance of inland water conservation and management. These threats include:

  • Non-point source pollution from urban or agricultural runoff
  • Point source pollution from underground pipes and storage tanks
  • Habitat alteration
  • Continuous development
  • Introduction and presence of numerous invasive plants and animals

Many of these threats may seem insignificant when viewed separately. However, the collective effects of nutrient runoff, habitat loss and invasive species are significant. Adding to these current pressures on lake and stream health is the effect of climate change. Increased temperatures will change where plants and animals can successfully live. Native species may decline while, non-native species from warmer climates may thrive. The conference will address these concerns and provide an overview of the impacts of human activities and response to these threats.

Michigan Lake and Stream Associations (ML&SA) is a nonprofit, statewide organization dedicated to the preservation, protection and wise management of Michigan’s inland lakes and streams. One major aim of ML&SA is to help prevent the further spread of invasive species and assist with their control once they have become established.

The theme of the 56th ML&SA Annual Conference is “Bridging the Resource Gaps: Enhancing the Ability of Lakefront Communities to Prevent and Manage Aquatic Invasive Species”. Keynote speakers Jon Allan, Director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes; and Lisa Brush, Executive Director of the Michigan Stewardship Network will discuss state and local efforts to prevent and manage aquatic invasive species. The conference will include workshops and a diverse array of presentations by expert speakers.

Topics will focus on providing participants with the knowledge, information and ideas they need to improve their lakefront communities and to prevent and/or manage aquatic invasive species. The ML&SA conference also represents an outstanding opportunity for participants to learn about the hot topic of the latest efforts to control aquatic invasive species. Discussions will include: mussel populations, the status of Starry stonewort, Phragmites and Purple loosestrife.

Additionally, they will look at the efforts of the Michigan Swimmers Itch Partnership in working to find a solution to a serious problem that has plagued lake users for decades. The conference will also host a concurrent MiCorps Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program volunteer monitor training event.

The ML&SA 56th Annual Conference will be held at the Crystal Mountain Resort on Friday and Saturday, April 21 - 22, 2017 and is open to the public. Since 1961, the ML&SA Annual Conference has presented a unique and rewarding opportunity for lakes users and property owners, citizen scientists, commercial and nonprofit business representatives, and lake management professionals to engage and exchange ideas focused on preserving and protecting the health and value of Michigan’s priceless inland lakes and streams for future generations.

Conference registration is currently underway, and participants can choose to attend the full conference or opt for single-day registration. Registration is free for those attending only the 2015 MiCorps Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program training event. Please visit the ML&SA Annual Conference website for more information about the event and/or to register online.

For more information on invasive species affecting inland lakes, visit Michigan State University Extension

Did you find this article useful?