So much water, so much to learn
Freshwater Center helps area residents understand lakes,
By Erica Kolaski
PETOSKEY - Most Cheboygan residents know that they live
in one of the most water-abundant areas in the state.
From Mullet to Burt to Black, it's everywhere.
"Cheboygan County is home to three of the seven
largest inland lakes in Michigan," said Doug Fuller,
water resource program director for the Tip of the Mitt
He added that there are 344 inland water bodies, including
lakes and ponds, in the county.
"There are also 51,358 acres of wetlands in Cheboygan
County," said Fuller.
And many local residents make their homes along and within
What many of these residents fail to realize it that
their lake front/wetland property is one of the most endangered
areas of Northern Michigan.
The Watershed Council has been working to protect these
areas since 1979, said spokeswoman Christina Wieland.
For residents who want to learn more about how to protect
their wetland property, including how to reduce runoff
pollution or reduce the erosion of their shoreline property,
the Tip of the Mitt's Freshwater Center is the place to
Wieland said that the center was established in 2001
as a lasting home for water resource protection.
She said that there are two sites that create the center,
one at 426 Bay St. in Petoskey, another located off Graham
Road in Conway, on Crooked Lake.
"We are centrally located to serve all our counties,
including Cheboygan," said Wieland.
She explained that the Petoskey office has an extensive
water resource library, a room for water resource educational
displays, a volunteer work room, a conference room and
an educational stormwater runoff treat systems which are
all available to the public.
Wieland said that the Crooked Lake site serves to educate
the public about lake-friendly landscaping, native plants
and watershed management.
"Unfortunately, it usually takes something drastic
for people to realize that something needs to be done,"
said Wieland. She said that last year, a house located
on the Lake Michigan bluffs literally collapsed into the
sand due to erosion. "The foundation slid down the
bluffs," said Wieland.
Shoreline erosion isn't just a problem on the Great Lakes,
she added. "Many factors contribute to shoreline
erosion," she explained. "Spring rains, ice
shove and other natural factors contribute as well as
The Freshwater Center offers in-house and on-site consultations
about potential shoreline erosion. The also have a technical
team that will repair and help prevent erosion, said Wieland.
"Our staff can offer preventative guidelines such
as how to preserve the natural rocks and vegetation along
the shoreline, preventing runoff that can potentially
damage the area and protecting near-shore berms that are
already in place," she explained.
Wieland said that the center also offers lawn care tips
for shoreline property owners including proper lawn cover,
grass length, watering, pesticides and much more.
The professionals on staff have information regarding
all types of water resource management, said Wieland.
She said that the centers offers ways to identify wetland
property as well as how to maintain septic systems to
keep good water quality.
The Freshwater Center is a valuable resource to anyone
who wants to improve their area or educate themselves
on a variety of water resource matters, said Wieland.
Contact Tip of the Mitt at 231-347-1181 for more information.