Supported by our membership, donations, and countless hours of volunteer time, TLA was able to successfully participate in and complete a variety of projects in 2014. You can always find more information here, on our website.
This summary of our 2014 Accomplishments is available for download and printing.
Science Education Outreach Program
The Three Lakes Association Science Education Outreach Program (SEOP) was started in 2008. Our goal was, and continues to be, to help develop future stewards of the waters of northwest Michigan.
TLA awarded six grants to science teachers in area schools totaling $6400 for items on their wish list including class trips on the Inland Seas Schoolship for each school district.
The Dockside continued their challenge to our membership for the Science Education Outreach Program with another $3000! Over $4000 was raised in 2014, in addition to Dockside’s pledge. We have now exceeded the match for the past two years. Since 2008, we have provided almost $60,000 for science education.
Water Awareness Day
In July, TLA sponsored its first Water Awareness Day. This was an educational event for the community which included a variety of exhibits, including fish shelters, invasive species, and local pollution issues. Proceeds from this event support the TLA Science Education Outreach Program. Water Awareness Day is planned as an annual event. Mark your calendar for July 25, 2015 at Alden Depot!
Since 2004, TLA has sponsored a high school summer internship program under the direction of our Executive Director. Each year, the interns study the aquatic environment. The internship includes over 300 hours of research, training and sampling. They served as the research team assisting the Steering Committee in the creation of the Maury Creek Management Plan due out this winter. Further, the students created a user friendly manual for our most coveted piece of equipment, the Hydrolab, which is used for key water quality measurements.
TLA continued its collaboration with Elk-Skegemog Lakes Association, Friends of Clam Lake, and Intermediate Lake Association, to install fish shelters in our collective lakes, bringing the total to 62 sites. Interactive maps with GPS coordinates are available on our website and paper copies are available at local marinas. The final locations will be installed in 2015.
Maury Creek Management Plan
As a part of TLA’s 2014 goals, a Management Plan is underway for Maury Creek. Maury Creek outlets into Lake Bellaire just north of the Grass River. While attempting to apply for grant funds for improvements to the Creek, we found out that while we had lots of base information, it needed to be properly assembled. A steering committee was established with members representing Summit Village Association, Antrim County, Antrim Conservation District, Grass River Natural Area, Shanty Creek Resort, TLA and adjacent property owners. The plan is expected to be completed this winter.
Grass River Sedimentation
Just over one year since this demonstration project was first proposed for the Grass River, an unprecedented collaboration between Antrim County, area businesses, lake associations, conservation groups and individual volunteers resulted in the installation of seven tree revetment structures, also referred to as Large Woody Debris. These structures are designed to deflect the flow of water and to closely imitate naturally fallen trees. The goal is to determine if their strategic placement can reverse sediment buildup and restore the channel depth in areas where navigation has been impacted. They are also intended to improve the habitat available to fish and aquatic insects. Follow-up work was performed this past summer and it appears that the project is successful and will continue to be so.
During 2014, TLA provided environmental education to over 2000 visitors at several single day events, including:
- TLA (along with Grass River Natural Area, Torch Lake Protection Alliance, Friends of Clam Lake and Intermediate Lake Association) presented two summer educational events, “The Dam Facts” and “Antrim Outdoors.”
- Scoop on Poop: TLA offered several educational sessions on the mechanics of septic systems which were attended by almost 100 area residents.
During 2014, TLA performed additional work on the Natural Shoreline installations at Butch’s Tackle and Marine and the Summit Beach Club.
During 2014, TLA continued its ongoing water quality monitoring activities, including:
- Participation in the Michigan Lake and Stream Associations’ Cooperative Lake Monitoring Program. As in the past, we found our lakes to be exceptionally clean. This monitoring includes E.coli sampling at 27 area locations.
- Participation with Elk River Chain of Lakes-Watershed Plan Implementation Team. Activities included preparing a grant application to research control methods of Eurasian water milfoil.
- Investigating and monitoring the presence of Eurasian water milfoil on our lakes.