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Nonprofits discuss Lake Charlevoix shoreline protection projects

Round Lake in Charlevoix
Corey Seeman
Round Lake in Charlevoix

Three local nonprofits are meeting with eight planning commissions around Lake Charlevoix to discuss opportunities on how they can improve the lake’s shoreline and water quality.

In 2016, the Lake Charlevoix Association, the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, and the Land Information Access Association developed recommendations to local governments on how to protect the Lake Charlevoix Watershed.

Now, after experiencing unexpected-high water levels in 2019 and 2020, the nonprofits are revisiting communities to see their progress, concerns, and new opportunities for shoreline management.

Matt Cowall is executive director of the Land Information Access Association. He said it's important to bring all ten Lake Charlevoix jurisdictions to the same table around their shared resource.

“The lake doesn't care that it's split up into a bunch of different jurisdictions,” Cowall said. “There are things that if everybody could get on the same page, it would be a real important step forward for the lake in terms of its water quality and shoreline.”

Last fall, project partners visited nine local government meetings to gauge the shared values of Lake Charlevoix communities and “vision” for the future of the lake.

“[The upcoming] second round of meetings are really to say, ‘here's your North Star, here's where you said you're aiming toward, and here are some concrete steps to help you get there.’”

Lake Charlevoix Watershed
Lake Charlevoix Watershed

Cowall said potential shoreline projects will vary between communities, depending on their needs and distinct features.

“If you ask people [their vision of the lake], they want it to stay the same,” Cowall said. “They hope that it's always a beautiful, clean, and healthy lake. We hope that we might be able to tease out by the end of thissome policy desires like zoning codes.”

For more information about the project, see the 2022/2023 visioning updates here.

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corps Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She covers rural environmental issues, focused on contamination, conservation, and climate change.