Water Quality Committee
The water quality committee’s efforts include monitoring indicators of water quality and documenting changes over time. Members are trained through the Cooperative Lakes Management Program. Members of this committee also monitor the lake for invasive species. The chairperson of the water quality committee is John Etzcorn.
Our Water Quality Monitoring Program
Our water quality monitoring program has three parts:
Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP): Since 2008, volunteers have participated in CLMP—a partnership between the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality now know as EGLE and the Michigan Lakes and Streams Association—to take basic water quality measures in Gull and Little Long Lakes from May through September. The results from 2019 are now available for Gull Lake and Little Long Lake. Read more about the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program.
Collaboration with the Kellogg Biological Station: Since 2011, GLQO partnered with KBS to support more in-depth testing of Gull Lake, Little Long Lake, and the major inflows to those lakes. In a summary report, KBS staff also compiled historical data to provide a picture of trends in water quality in our watershed. Read the 2014, 2013, 2012 or 2011 reports here.
Why Monitor Water Quality?
The beautiful lakes and streams of the Gull Lake watershed are our area’s most valuable resource. They support swimming, boating, fishing, and other recreational activities for residents throughout the region. They also support a diverse wildlife and boost area property values.
But we cannot take the high quality of our lakes and streams for granted. Runoff and ground water leakages from lawn fertilizers, agriculture, and septic systems can overload lakes and streams with nutrients and other contaminants and accelerate their decline. Resulting algal blooms, excessive plant growth, mucky bottom sediments, and related problems can reduce the recreational value of our waterways, harm wildlife, and lower property values.
Indeed, in the 1970s, leakage from septic systems that then lined Gull Lake had significantly degraded water quality in the lake. In the early years of our organization, GLQO pushed for the installment of a sewer system on Gull Lake, and later to many of the homes on Little Long Lake. As a result, Gull Lake is much cleaner today than it was 40 years ago.
Although the installation of some sewer systems in the watershed has improved water quality, other factors pose potential threats to our lakes and streams today: residential development, including along Gull Lake, continues; agricultural activity, which includes the recent introduction and expansion of several CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) in the Gull Lake watershed, has become more intense; and septic systems that remain in much of the watershed are aging.