We need your help .. Swimmer’s Itch Committee forming

As many of you know, Swimmer’s itch (SI) was the major issue of concern at our annual meeting.  In response, Lake Leelanau Lake Association has formed a separate SI committee to coordinate efforts to combat this issue. A recent website posting resulted in some members volunteering for the SI committee and also some volunteering as “spotters”.  However, we will need more volunteers if we are to be successful.  Our efforts will cover all of Lake Leelanau, but with control efforts focused on North Lake Leelanau since the majority of the reported cases originate in that lake. A listing of our volunteer needs, along with a short description of duties appears below.  If you have questions or want to volunteer contact Wayne Swallow at leelanaubound@gmail.com or call 231-649-2087.

  • A SI Committee chairperson.  This committee will coordinate all the activities of SI — develop and implement a control strategy for SI (the strategy will be at least a 3-year effort), develop funding alternatives for SI control, manage/coordinate contractors, and report/educate LLLA members and local media.
  • Spottersfor reporting common merganser sightings. Spotters will receive training in the identification of the common mergansers.  Their primary job is to watch their lakefront and report the occurrence of common mergansers to the SI Coordinator.  They will need to be year-round residents on Lake Leelanau or early arrivals (mid-April). Ideally they should be located along every couple miles of shoreline. That means we should have about 7 for North Lake’s 15 miles of shoreline, 13 for South Lakes 26 miles of shoreline, and perhaps 2 for the narrows (one south and one north of the 204 bridge). If you have already volunteered for a spotter we have your names.
  • SI Committee. The SI committee duties are reported above.  Spotters may become members of the SI committee, but it is not required.  Ideally, we would like to have from 5-10 members.
  • SI Coordinator .  The SI Coordinator will be the implementation arm of the SI committee.  We anticipate this person will work 20 hours per week during spring/summer, and 10 hours per week in fall/winter.
    • He/she will receive the reports of SI spotters.  Verify the presence of mergansers from spotter reports from a boat
    • To the extent possible, locate the approximate shoreline location of merganser nesting tree.  Note that the common merganser nests in tree hollows (commonly beech).
    • Oversee on-site work of contractors and volunteers on the lake
    • Oversee/maintain reporting of SI cases on our website
    • Oversee/coordinate volunteers working with an Oakland University Study
    • Communicate with regulatory agencies
    • Provide periodic reports of project(s) progress to SI committee and LLLA Board

Two Volunteers for Oakland University Study. Two volunteers (1 North Lake, 1 South Lake) are needed for a study to be conducted by Oakland University to find a better method to measure the presence of SI in the water. Volunteers will be required to take morning water samples for approximately 3 continuous weeks this summer. Use of chest waders is recommended if you are allergic to SI.

On a separate note, we are also looking for someone to step up and volunteer for the role of Vice President.  Our current president, George Prewitt, will be stepping down in July, and our current Vice President, Nick Fleezanis, will take over as president.  But in the meantime, we need to “train up” a new VP.  Please consider getting involved in this rewarding and important volunteer role.

Mark Smith

Grew up in Petoskey, so perhaps one of the few people in Leland who headed south to end up "Up North". Graduated from U of M. Taught in Scotland for 10 years, came back to Leland in 1989 and taught English for 25 years at Leland Public School. Still teach part time for NMC. My lovely wife is named Marjory - three grown kids (two living locally) and three grandkids. We live on N. Lake Leelanau with access to both lakes Michigan and Leelanau Life is good!

One Reply to “We need your help .. Swimmer’s Itch Committee forming”

  1. I wish you all the best of luck, having suffered, in my time, from swimmer’s itch. However, I live in Catharpin, Virginia (near Manassas) and it would be a very long run and jump off the dock to reach Lake Leelanau.
    All the best.

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