Lake Leelanau Lake Association members listen to a presentation at the annual members meeting

A Recap of the Annual Members Meeting

On Thursday, July 28, 2022, the Lake Leelanau Lake Association (LLLA) held its Annual Members Meeting at Fountain Point Resort. We had a wonderful time sharing what we have been up to with our members, and the evening was filled with a lot of love for Lake Leelanau. Although we had great attendance at this year’s meeting, here is a recap for those of you who were not able to spend the evening with us.

Pre-meeting Lite Fare and Libations

The evening began at 6 p.m. at the lovely Fountain Point Resort’s Gathering Room with lite fare and libations. This event was put together thanks to members of the LLLA Community Engagement Committee. We want to thank Barb Kobberstad, Carol Rademacher, Laura Paine, Greg Vogt, Andy Jamieson, Susan Maring, Liz Laskey, and many other community members who came early to help.

At 6:30 p.m., the annual meeting was called to order by President Tom Hiatt. Tom thanked everyone for their interest in Lake Leelanau and introduced the LLLA Board Members. He thanked Fountain Point, Boathouse Vineyards, and Bel Lago for their generous contributions to the event and all the volunteers who made the event possible.

2022 Goals Overview

Tom provided an overview of the 2022 goals and the progress LLLA has made in reaching them:

  • LLLA has developed and implemented a comprehensive plan for preventing, monitoring, and controlling aquatic invasive species in Lake Leelanau—the cost is roughly $300,000, or 70% of our budget in 2022.
  • Working with the Leelanau Conservancy, LLLA has nearly completed a 10-year Watershed Protection Plan for Lake Leelanau, which will be posted on our website soon.
  • LLLA established a task force to evaluate and develop water quality sampling and data analysis.
  • LLLA developed and implemented a shoreline protection plan. To date, the Association has provided 20 shoreline consultations and recommendations to Bingham and Leland Townships on how to include shoreline protection in their Master Plans.
  • LLLA has implemented a social media campaign to increase membership, which is at its highest level in the last 20 years.  
  • LLLA organized a second virtual auction which raised over $80,000 in 2022.
  • The Association hired Annalise Povolo as Director of Administration and Programs—she is LLLA’s first employee. Annalise will help us reach the goals we established for the organization. 
  • LLLA recruited three new board members: Doug Van Dyke, Kate Appel, and Greg Vogt.
  • LLLA has worked closely with Friends of Lake Leelanau, a new nonprofit, to help establish a source of long-term funding to protect Lake Leelanau in perpetuity.

Tom discussed the Association’s budget of more than $420,000. Forty-eight percent of the budget comes from dues and fundraising, with the balance generously provided by Jennie and Darren Keller to support our programs to control aquatic invasive species (AIS). Tom emphasized that the prevention, monitoring, and control of AIS will require significant annual recurring expenses for the foreseeable future.

Tom explained that Friends of Lake Leelanau’s goal is to raise $6 million, with the estimated annual income used to protect Lake Leelanau in perpetuity. Friends has secured pledges of $3.7 million to date, with early donors committed to match additional contributions up to $2.5 million.

Finance Update

LLLA Treasurer, Kathy Birney, thanked Association members for their support, noting that members contribute more than $70,000 annually in membership dues.  She also highlighted that LLLA raised more than $72,000 in its first online fundraiser in 2021. And, AIS expenses grew to a $236 budget line item in 2021. 

Other financial report items include:

  • 2021 Revenues: $252,000, ($148,000 in member and unrestricted donations, $72,000 Spring fundraiser, and $32,000 programs);
  • 2021 Expenditures: $123k ($85,000 EWM, $12,000 communications and marketing, and $11,000 management and general);
  • 2022 Budgeted Revenue: $433,000 ($236,000 AIS, $100,000 in member and unrestricted donations, $85,000 Spring fundraiser, and $12,000 programs), and;
  • 2022 Budgeted Expenses: $432,000 ($272,000 EWM, $49,000 hired Director, $34,000 communications and marketing, and $23,000 management and general).

Governance Update and Elections

Jeff Green reviewed the 2021 annual meeting minutes, which were unanimously accepted. He then turned to the election portion of the evening.

Officers for the LLLA include the roles of President, two Vice-Presidents, Secretary, and Treasurer. The two positions up for election were Vice-President and Treasurer.  The slate included: Nancy Popa for Vice-President and Kathy Birney for Treasurer—no additional nominations from the floor were proposed. The officers were elected by unanimous vote.   

Three current board members were nominated for new three-year terms: John Popa, Wayne Wunderlich (LLLA’s founder), and Barb Kobberstad. In addition, three new board members were nominated for a three-year term: Doug VanDyke, Greg Vogt, and Kate Appel. There were no nominations from the floor. The six board members nominated were all elected by unanimous vote.

Members of the LLLA vote during elections at the Annual Members Meeting
LLLA Members vote to elect officers and board members.

State of the Lake Report

Brian Price, Ron Reimink, Nancy Popa, and Annalise Povolo provided the State of the Lake Report, focusing on the Association’s Comprehensive AIS Program. Topics include:  

Brian Price and Ron Reimink present the AIS Control Report
Lake Biologist Brian Price and EWM Project Manager Ron Reimink present the AIS Control report.

AIS Control

Brian estimated that we started with approximately 7-10 acres of Eurasian Watermilfoil (EWM).  After the first barriers were laid in 2021, Brian believes we reduced the size of the infested area to 3.5 acres. After 2021, Brian believes the area was reduced to 2.6 acres. In 2022, LLLA’s team and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (GTB) laid almost three acres of material and, with luck, may reduce the EWM infestation to approximately one acre. The following video was played to show how these large burlap blankets are deployed.

Brian and Ron also showed the aerial drone video of a large infestation that was recently covered with burlap. They noted that LLLA and the GTB have significantly reduced the biomass, fragments, and acreage of EWM over the past three years. You can watch the aerial drone video below.

The Association is making progress in controlling EWM. In 2022, the LLLA is not only continuing to partner with the GTB but also is working with academics and a student at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) to provide the necessary scientific rigor to measure and document the work we are doing. Brian and his team believe they have reduced biomass, fragments, and acreage of EWM. 

Moreover, they believe the entire process has been improved by the use of aerial and underwater drones, assistance from two contracted SCUBA divers, Austin O'Connor and Catherine Dunn, and the purchase of an additional used boat. The second boat allows two work crews to run simultaneously.

AIS Prevention and Lake Stewards

Nancy Popa, LLLA’s newly voted Vice-President and Shoreline Ambassador, discussed AIS prevention with a focus on lake access management and education. Nancy noted that there are 14 launches, which include four DNR, six township, and four private launches on Lake Leelanau. 

In 2021, we installed our first boat wash station at Bingham. This year, the Tribe provided half of the funding through a grant for a second launch at the Narrows—this will be completed in 2022. We are recommending a third at the Cedar River launch with funding from the townships that border Lake Leelanau.  

After, Nancy briefly discussed the Lake Stewards program. This new LLLA program provides resources and education for natural shorelines. She emphasized the importance of natural-living shorelines to protect water quality and the shoreline habitat of Lake Leelanau. 

Nancy provides free consultations for riparians on ways to improve their property’s shorelines. If you have any questions or would like Nancy to consult on your shoreline, you may contact her via phone at 231-944-9509 or via email at [email protected].

Education and Communications

Annalise Povolo, Director of Administration and Programs, provided information on our education and communications efforts. This year, we are participating in the Leelanau Summinars, conferences, have a newly formed Education subcommittee, are increasing our community presence, and are collaborating with similar environmental organizations.

Our social media campaign includes weekly E-Bulletins that are now being sent to more than 1,000 subscribers. Our email distribution list has more than doubled since the inception of the campaign.

Annalise Povolo presents education and communications update at annual members meeting
Annalise Povolo, Director of Administration and Programs, presents the Education and Communications report at the Annual Members Meeting.


Tom Hiatt concluded the program by explaining that LLLA had initiated a new program to honor those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the lake community. Please stay tuned for a subsequent post with more details on the new portion of our Annual Members Meeting.

We sincerely thank all who attended this year’s Annual Members Meeting. We continue to do everything we can to protect and preserve Lake Leelanau and thank you all for your support in helping us do so.

Attend the Next Annual Members Meeting

Would you like to attend our Annual Members Meeting in 2023? The next step is becoming a member! To learn more about our memberships and how to join, visit our Membership & Donations page.

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