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The eNews
Douglas Lake Improvement Association
PO Box 472, Pellston, MI 49769             January 26, 2021

The State of Douglas Lake: Looking Back and Looking Ahead
            Douglas Lake’s water level declined from an autumn peak in November of 713.95 feet above sea level and has remained steady at 713.45 in recent weeks. Long-term annual trends suggest that the lake level will not increase significantly until the snow melts and spring rains arrive in April and May.
            2020 was an unusually wet year until October, when it became unusually dry. Overall precipitation was about 38 inches in 2020, which is more than our average of about 33 inches annually, but fall and winter precipitation has been below long-term averages. We have recorded under 30 inches of snowfall so far. That puts us in the running for the least snowfall since at least 1975, which is when we started continuously recording snowfall.  
            With lower-than-average winter precipitation so far and lower January lake levels than we’ve had in a few years, high water levels in the spring, like those in springs of recent years, aren’t anticipated. That said, the lake level remains above average for this time of year, and there’s plenty of time for conditions to change.
(Thanks to Adam Schubel, UMBS, for this information.)
Owl Watching Season
     Leafless trees and frozen landscapes make winter a great time to glimpse some of Michigan’s avian speciesOne visitor to Michigan during the winter months is the snowy owl. This large, magnificent owl always attracts a lot of attention. When owl-spotting, keep in mind these snow-white owls are a bird of the northern tundra and are not often around people. They are also diurnal hunters – meaning they hunt during the day – and are more easily spotted because they are out and about during the daylight hours. They might not seem startled by the presence of people, but that doesn't mean you should get too close.  "Snowy owls are often here in Michigan due to limited food resources in their typical range and are likely hungry and searching for food," said Erin Rowan, MiBirds program associate with DNR and Audubon Great Lakes. "Watch the owl from a distance, through binoculars or a spotting scope, so as not to disturb it."
     For many of Michigan's native owl species, winter is breeding season. Great horned owls start their courtship in January, offering an amazing chance to listen for owls calling to one another on calm moonlit nights. While it might be tempting to use audio recordings to lure owls closer to you, please refrain, or play the recording only once or twice. Hearing another owl’s call can be very stressful for the owls because they may believe there is an intruder in their territory. 
      Above all, be respectful of these magnificent birds as you enjoy all the winter owl watching opportunities Michigan has to offer.
Questions? Contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453.
(article credit to DNR weekly newsletter January 23, 2021)
Wanted: Early DLIA Member Directories
            Are you a DLIA Membership Directory hoarder?  If so, now is your time to shine.  We’re looking for early DLIA Membership Directories.  Past President Holly Gedert, our unofficial, but highly valued archivist for all things DLIA, reports that she has only a few pre 2011 Directories.  Her 1996 Directory is only a partial – a complete Directory would be most welcome. If you have old Directories that you are willing to donate or make a copy for the archives, please let me know at The earliest DLIA Member Directory Holly has is 1980 and that copy is not in great shape! Does anyone have an older Directory? 
            We’re also trying to piece together the history of DLIA Zones and Zone Representatives. DLIA divided Douglas Lake into zones early in our history. The zones were numbered from 1-10.  But no list of zone reps is shown in any of the early Directories. Sometime around 2000 the zones were renumbered into the 16 zones we have today with numbering from 11-102.  If you know more zone and zone rep history, we’d appreciate hearing from you through Thank you, thank you!
In Search Of:  Douglas Lake Water Monitor
               For many years Douglas Lake/DLIA participated in the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council’s summer lake monitoring program.  Unfortunately, the volunteer who collected samples is no longer available to carry out the responsibilities described below. 
            The water monitor goes out to the deepest spot of Douglas Lake between Pell’s Island and Silver Strand weekly from early June to the end of August.  Having a boat with a fish finder or a navigation app like Navionics is helpful to make sure you are at the right location and depth.  The monitor uses a few pieces of equipment: a secchi disk and a cholorphyll-a sampler. Both items are unwieldy and the cholophyll-a sampler is heavy (probably about 10 lbs.). The monitor must be able to lower these items down around 20 feet and bring them back into their boat or kayak. They will also have a datasheet to record the time and weather conditions. Sampling with a friend or family member is encouraged!
            Frequency matters—the monitor must sample the water at least twice per month so Watershed Council (WC) can ensure quality and quantity of data. After collecting a water sample, the monitor will filter the water using a provided filter apparatus, and save the filter in their freezer until we ask for them to be dropped off in September.
            The WC provides the equipment and datasheets.  Monitor training is offered either in person or, more likely for 2021, via Zoom around late May. Check out a recent WC YouTube video for more information:

            You may be thinking that the University of Michigan Biological Station folks are monitoring Douglas Lake, and you are correct, they do. But the WC uses a different collecting protocol so that comparable data are collected across a number of inland lakes.  DLIA would like to continue its participation in this lake monitoring project.  If you are interested, please drop a note to
Look Out for These Little Guys!
            The latest invasive to be on the lookout for is a tiny snail that appears to be moving into northern Michigan. The New Zealand mudsnail (pictures above) has been reported in the Boardman River.  It is very tiny, but so easy to spread.  The ecological threat begins with the fact that due to rapid self-reproduction, the species can quickly achieve densities of more than 500,000 snails per square meter.  The NZ mudsnail competes with other native species for food, disrupting the food chain and threatens the health and stability of aquatic ecosystems.  They are a non-native species that have no natural predators, parasites, or diseases to control their population in North America.  They are a hardy, adaptable animal that can be inadvertently transported by boats, fishing gear, and waders.
            You probably will have to wait until after Douglas Lake thaws in late spring but if you think you have seen New Zealand mudsnails, take a photo to document your sighting and note the location (GPS coordinates, etc.) and send the information to
For more information about the New Zealand mud snail, check out this link
New Zealand mud snails in Michigan trout streams | Trout Unlimited
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Douglas Lake Improvement Association    ─   Dues are $25 a year 
Mailing address: DLIA, PO Box 472, Pellston, MI 49769

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