The Bear Lake Lake Board (BLLB) would like to announce that Darrell Van Fossan is stepping down as Riparian Owner Representative and Chairman of the BLLB, as he works through some health issues. Darrell has agreed to stay on until we can find a replacement.
The BLLB would like to thank Darrell for his years of service to our community. He has been a key player in the BLLB since it was formed, and in the Bear Lake Preservation Association. He has spent countless hours volunteering to improve our lake.
If you are interested in becoming the Riparian Owner Representative of the BLLB, please submit an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and include the following information:
Email and Phone
Why You Desire to Serve
We will be accepting applications until October 5, 2023, at 5:00 PM. We will also be posting applicants on our website and social media to invite comments and recommendations from residents. We will be appointing the new member at the October BLLB regular meeting on October 12, 2023, at NM City Hall at 6:00 PM.
As we all have been observing, the health of our lake has been improving between the cleanup of the celery flats (GVSU grant funded project), and our aggressive treatment of invasive plants and algae. The clarity of our lake has been improving, fish are increasing, and native plants are starting to flourish.
While the increase in native plants is extremely healthy, it can also become an issue for our recreational use of the lake. We have started to observe some shoreline and dock areas become so dense with native plant growth, there is no way to wade/swim and watercraft become clogged and shutdown.
As a result of this, the BLLB unanimously approved a motion at our last board meeting to treat a limited area of shoreline where our lake management company (PLM) identified the native plants to be an issue. This is identified by the red areas on the attached map. We also consulted with Dr. Al Steinman at the GVSU AWRI, who felt the treatment identified would not cause harm, as long as the treatment is very surgical and selective, which it will be.
PLM will tentatively be on our lake on Thursday, July 20 for this treatment. Treatment for native plants is much more restricted by the State and must be done much closer to the shoreline and dock areas than invasive treatments.
We realize not everyone wants to see the native plants go, so we are allowing residents to opt-out of this treatment on their shoreline if they want. If you would like treatment for your shoreline skipped, please email email@example.com with your address no later than 6:00 PM on Tuesday, July 18. Your information will be relayed on to PLM, and you may be emailed signs to post at the beginning and end of your property.
Finally, a reminder that if you have any issues with your lakeshore, please email pictures of your concern to Paul Pek or Craig Howell. We can be sure your area gets on the next treatment if it’s an invasive species and if it’s native, can provide recommendations on steps you can take to clear out small areas. Please remember, it can be harmful to the lake (and illegal) for you to treat aquatic plants on your own with herbicides or other chemicals. Please consult with the BLLB and we will in turn consult with the experts.
Your BLLB has partnered with the Muskegon Conservation District (MCD) to utilize grant funds for the treatment of highly invasive Phragmites in our area. Reports of Phragmites in our area continue to rise. Your BLLB has been treating Phragmites when found in the waters of Bear Lake, but we don’t have authority to treat above the waterline.
The Muskegon Conservation District is using grant funds to treat Phragmites on our shoreline and in shallow water they can reach from the shore. This treatment is absolutely FREE, but it does require an Agreement Form with signature be returned to them prior to July 1, 2023 to give them permission to treat your property.
Please be on the lookout for the attached letter in the mail from the MCD, and fill out and return the agreement form.
Your BLLB have listened to comments from residents wanting partnerships with local organizations, as well as trying to find grant funds to save us money. This partnership with the MCD is just the start! If you ever want to find out more information on the BLLB, please check out our website at www.bllb.org.
Several of our neighbors on the lake have contacted the BLLB with concerns over leaves being blown into Bear Lake with all the fall cleanup going on. Please note, disposing of leaves or grass clippings in our lake is bad for the water which we are all working so hard to improve. It is also illegal and is the same as going out into state land and dumping your garbage.
The BLLB is not an enforcement agency, but we do want to educate people on good lake management practices. Attached is a flyer from the DEQ (now EGLE) on this subject, as well as a document from our Lake Management provider (PLM) on things we all can do to protect and improve the quality of our lake.
Please do not blow your leaves into the lake. We know it is a lot of extra work, especially for those of us who have a steep incline, but it will improve the quality of the lake to properly compost. Also, be sure to make sure any lawn contractors you have are aware that they should not be blowing leaves into the lake.
Thank you, and every little bit will help improve our water quality!
Here is a map for where algae and invasive Milfoil were treated. Please note water use restrictions on the sign on your lakefront if you are in an area treated for Milfoil. Fenner’s Ditch also received it’s 2nd treatment of Phoslock. No water use restrictions for algae or Phoslock treatments.
On Thursday, August 11, PLM will be on Bear Lake for another survey with a particular focus on Starry Stonewort. They will also be treating for Starry Stonewort on the same day and will return for treatment of other invasive species if found during the survey. If your lakefront is treated, you will find a sign after treatment with any use restrictions.
August Meeting Cancelled: The August regular meeting has been cancelled. See updates below.
Fenner’s Ditch Phoslock Treatment: The first treatment was completed the last week in July. The second and final treatment for this year will take place the last week in August. As a reminder, there are NO WATER USE RESTRICTIONS for Phoslock, as confirmed by PLM and EGLE. These treatments will result in less algae growth, but not necessarily get rid of existing algae. The real results will be seen in the spring of 2023. Additional treatments for 2023 will be evaluated, with the permit application happening much earlier.
Starry Stonewort: Several residents have provided pictures of Starry Stonewort near shorelines, causing issues for watercraft, especially PWCs. Starry Stonewort is an invasive species, which can grow up to 7’ tall. PLM has ben contacted and we are in the process of arranging another survey and treatment within the next 7-10 days (weather permitting). If you have this on your lakefront, please email Darrel, Paul, or Craig with a photo, and we will be sure to have PLM take a close look to identify and treat. Further updates to follow, and for more information on Starry Stonewort, please refer to our Education page on www.bllb.org.
Native Plants Increasing: Native plant volume continue to increase as water temperature stays warm and we continue to reduce invasive species. The native plants are good for the lake and help reduce algae volumes. These native plants can become a nuisance, and are much harder to get approval to treat, unless they get extremely out of hand. Raking plants out of areas needed to create a pathway for navigation or swimming is acceptable but try to keep as much native plants as possible.
September BLLB Meeting: The next BLLB meeting is Thursday, September 8 at 6:00 PM at the North Muskegon City Hall.
Fenner’s Ditch Phoslock Treatment APPROVED by EGLE. The permit was issued on Friday, July 22, 2022. The first application will be applied Thursday, July 28, 2022. NO RESTRICTIONS for use of Water required by residents or general public. The second application to follow. PLM to confirm specific date, but expected 30-45 days after first application.
Here is the survey map from the treatment last week. The gold shaded areas were treated for algae, and the black shaded areas along the shoreline were treated for Eurasian Watermilfoil, Curly Leaf Pondweed and algae.
There were good results from the areas treated in June, and results from this treatment should be seen in 7-10 days from application. PLM observed a huge rebound in native plants, which is great, as it is indicating our lake is improving, but we’ll have to monitor to see if this “good stuff” becomes too much of a nuisance. Look for educational material to be posted on our website in the near future to help in identifying native vs. invasive species.
The EGLE permit for the Phoslock treatment for Fenner’s Ditch should be approved soon, and PLM will apply the first of two treatments as soon as that comes back. They are hoping to have this applied late July – early August.