Photo of a sunset over Lake Leelanau

Lake Leelanau Summer 2022 Recap

Lake Leelanau Lake Association 2022 Living Legends award recipients
Annalise of the LLLA chats with community members at event booth
Lake Leelanau Lake Association Leland Fourth of July parade float
Two men and two women volunteer at the Leland Fourth of July parade
Photo of a woman that received the Living Legends 2022 award
Kids Fishing Day Event 2022
Two men volunteer for the LLLA
Lake leelana lake association members listen to a presentation at the annual members meeting

The summer of 2022 has been one of our busiest summers yet for the Lake Leelanau Lake Association (LLLA). Now that we have come up for air, we want to share a Lake Leelanau summer 2022 recap and highlight the meaningful things we accomplished this season. 

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the volunteers, community members, board members, and supporters who made this summer one of the most meaningful summers yet.

1. The Annual Spring Auction

For the second year in a row, the LLLA held its Spring Virtual Auction to raise money for the Association’s activities to preserve and protect Lake Leelanau. This year’s auction raised over $91,000 — nearly $24,000 more than was raised last year! Thanks to everyone who participated!

2. Kids Fishing Day 2022

This year’s Kids Fishing Day was a great success! Past organizers of the event said that it was one of the highest-attended days they had ever seen. We received great feedback from families whose kids caught their first fish and cannot wait to come again next year. Thank you to the volunteers and sponsors who made this great event happen!

3. The Leland 4th of July Parade

One of our more exciting events this summer was the Leland 4th of July Parade. We displayed our work boat, the Research Vessel RAD (in honor of our generous member, Dar Doorlag, who lets us use her lakefront property to dock our boats), and featured our SCUBA divers and many other volunteers and their families. 

Most exciting were the two Eurasian Watermilfoil (EWM) monsters who were chased by volunteers throwing burlap on them to keep that nasty invasive plant out of the lake. Due to these enthusiastic volunteers, we earned the coveted “Most Humorous” award!

4. Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Week and Landing Blitz Events

This summer, we hosted several events at our most popular boat launches to educate boaters on the importance of washing their boats to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). We participated in AIS Prevention Week and the State of Michigan’s Landing Blitz, in addition to hosting the Benzie Conservation District’s mobile boat washing station. We had a lot of great conversations with boaters and look forward to continuing these conversations next year.

5. Shoreline Living & Lake Stewards

Our new Lake Stewards subcommittee was this year, with the mission of protecting the water quality of Lake Leelanau from the shore. This group of volunteers, led by LLLA’s Shoreline Ambassador, Nancy Popa, has done excellent work in working with riparians to improve their shoreline and land use to benefit the lake. To date, 2,000 feet of shoreline have been consulted on and are in the process of being converted to natural shorelines that protect the water quality of our lake. Great work, team!

Learn more about Lake Stewards here.

6. Presentations

Representatives from the LLLA presented multiple times this summer to share information on the ways we protect Lake Leelanau. The Leelanau Summinars hosted two talks from LLLA representatives. Nancy Popa presented about Natural Shorelines, and Brian Price (LLLA Lake Biologist) and Annalise Povolo (LLLA Director of Administration and Programs and Dive Team Leader) presented on the work we do to control EWM in Lake Leelanau.

Additionally, Annalise and Dan Mays (Grand Traverse Band’s Biologist) presented at the Michigan Inland Lakes Conference this September to educate people on our innovative work using burlap barriers to control EWM.

These presentations are just the beginning of what the LLLA hopes to do to contribute to educating our communities about the best ways to protect our waters.

7. Annual Member’s Meeting 2022

This year’s Annual Member’s Meeting was one for the books! There was great attendance and we were thrilled to share what we have been up to this year. For a full recap of the 2022 Annual Members Meeting, click here.

We also introduced a new item to the meeting’s agenda, the Living Legends Awards. For the first time, we honored several individuals or groups who demonstrate extraordinary dedication to the preservation and protection of Lake Leelanau. You can learn more about our honorees here.

8. A Crucial Year in the Control of Eurasian Watermilfoil

2022 was one of the most important years in the control of the aquatic invasive species, EWM, in Lake Leelanau. This year was particularly important in our fight because EWM has been established in Lake Leelanau for several years. Now, it has a higher potential to produce flowers which can then produce seeds that would lie dormant at the lake’s bottom for years. 

At this point, our work with burlap to smother the plant would not be effective, as EWM seeds could produce a plant from below the burlap. Thankfully, with our diligent efforts, we have prevented EWM from being able to grow to the surface to produce seeds.

And the most exciting news of 2022 is we have observed native plants now growing through our barriers! This is great news for the native plant community, as they can reclaim the territory that EWM took over.

To learn more about our efforts to control EWM this year, read our latest EWM update.

9. Community Events

The LLLA was out in the community more than ever this year. In addition to the previously mentioned events at boat launches, the Leland 4th of July Parade, and Kids Fishing Day, there were several other community events at which we had a booth. 

We started the season at the Leland Wine and Food Festival, then the Lake Leelanau Steet Fair, and we closed out the summer with the Leelanau Maritime History Festival. It was very impactful to be at these events and to chat with community members about our work to protect Lake Leelanau. We look forward to being present at even more events next year.

10. Second Boat Cleaning Station at the Narrows

We are very excited to share that our second boat cleaning station has nearly been completed! This new high-pressure water station was constructed at the DNR Narrows Boat Launch, the second busiest boat cleaning station on the lake. 

This effort was the culmination of many hours of planning, jumping through hoops, and dealing with the long waiting time for contractors. As a result, the station was not finished until the end of the summer, and will not be turned on until next spring. We hope you will check it out and wash your boat at the beginning of the 2023 season. And stay tuned for news on the two additional boat cleaning stations that are in the works for 2023.

We express our immense gratitude to all of those who made this possible, particularly Nancy Popa, Lonnie Rademacher, and the rest of the AIS Prevention Subcommittee. We also want to thank Thad Popa for designing the project, overseeing the construction, and completing the plumbing. And, of course, we thank our contractors, Kal Excavating, Berg Well Drilling, and Advantage Electric. Thank you!

Thank you for reading our Lake Leelanau summer 2022 recap! We are so proud of everyone involved and cannot wait to share what we will be up to in 2023. Stay tuned!

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