Lake Charlevoix watershed protection to be focus of session during inland lakes conference

Progress to implement the Lake Charlevoix Watershed Management Plan will be highlighted during the upcoming Michigan Inland Lakes Convention in Boyne Falls.

It would seem only appropriate that part of the upcoming Michigan Inland Lakes Convention in Boyne Falls, Mich., May 1-3, 2014, focuses on the watershed where the event is taking place: the Lake Charlevoix watershed. Representatives from five partner organizations will introduce the Lake Charlevoix Watershed Plan development process and implementation success to conference participants during a concurrent session.

Lake Charlevoix is one of Michigan’s most beautiful and popular destinations. The 17,000-acre lake is surrounded by one of Northern Michigan’s larger watersheds, covering 332 square miles. Although the lake is currently clean and clear, maintaining its quality is a watershed-wide challenge.

The Lake Charlevoix Management Plan was updated in 2012 and approved by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality after a two-year process involving many units of governments and organizations. The plan is a valuable tool that includes background information and prioritized descriptions of watershed protection implementation practices. As part of the plan, Michigan State University Extension conducted surveys of local officials, watershed residents and those owning shoreline properties. The results show that all groups recognized the importance of high water quality and the strongly supported protecting the resource.

During the conference session on May 3, speakers will discuss the plan development process, how the new goals are being implemented, and success stories from local organizations. They will also illustrate how watershed protection plans can attract grant funds form strong partnerships that will benefit water resources for many years.

One of the newest projects to be highlighted during the presentation is the Lake Charlevoix Association Lake Guardians program. As part of this effort, homeowners and neighborhood associations pledge to limit flows of nutrients and chemicals into the lake, maintain a natural buffer and avoid other practices that can harm the lake. Businesses can also be recognized for their lake protection activities.

Other panelists will highlight a successful township effort to purchase for public use a 20-acre parcel with 1,400 feet of Lake Charlevoix shoreline, and on-going efforts to protect the Boyne River, a major tributary to the lake.

The Michigan Inland Lake Convention is open to lake residents, natural resource professionals, local officials and anyone interested in water resource protection. Other sessions during the three-day conference focus on lake protection tools for local governments, managing aquatic plants, natural shorelines, invasive species, water quality monitoring and many other topics. The event is sponsored by the Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership

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