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The eNews
Douglas Lake Improvement Association
PO Box 472, Pellston, MI 49769             April 21, 2022

 Celebrate Earth Day Friday April 22, 2022
     This eNews focuses on celebrating Earth Day. First with several suggestions that help keep the Earth healthy at home (courtesy of recent PIEG Newsletter):
  • Recycle an old fridge or freezer
  • Change standard light bulbs to LEDs
  • Start a compost bin in your backyard
  • Avoid dumping lawn and animal waste into lake
  • The two following articles are from guest authors - one by the resident biologist at UMBS sharing his observations about the “State of Douglas Lake.” The second is an article about preserving Douglas Lake’s natural shoreline which promotes water quality and encourages native plants and ecological habitats for native fish and waterfowl. This is inspirational reading as the weather improves and we start to think about outdoor activities and landscape improvement projects.
Observations from UMBS’ Resident Biologist         
        As technology advances at an increasing rate, I sometimes feel that I’m being left behind in a growing accumulation of electronic waste. This makes me question my participation in this routine. On the other hand, maybe it’s all leading us somewhere magnificent. In any case, I take solace in the fact that our home planet Earth continues its predictable daily rotation on its predictable orbit around the Sun.
          So, while last Fall started out “unseasonably” warm, Winter inevitably snuffed that out. South Fishtail Bay froze over on December 9, melted, and froze over again on December 18. I gradually settled into what were slightly cooler than average temperatures in January and February but with about a foot less snow than we typically receive.
          I find comfort in the consistent rhythm of the seasons. I enjoy each season enough that I woe each one’s departure. And at this time of year, I tend to feel somewhat like a bear disrupted from a long, pleasant slumber.
          Nevertheless, I am already somewhat (and soon will be entirely) distracted by the arrival/emergence of spring. The red-shouldered hawks, grackles, robins, flickers, sapsuckers, chipping sparrows, bluebirds, mergansers, and mallards have arrived. Chipmunks have been scavenging aboveground for weeks. Wood frogs and even spring peepers are calling.
          The unstoppable coming of Spring has come again. Almost all of the snow has melted (although it’s snowing as I write this). Much of the ice has thawed. South Fishtail Bay remains ice-covered. That condition likely won’t last another week, making for a later-than-average ice-out by a few days and a slightly-longer-than-average period of winter ice. Pretty soon, the Loon Rangers will be setting out nesting boxes.
          The lake level reached its annual low in November of 2021 followed by a gradual increase until about two months ago when it started the steeper ascent to spring peak following snowmelt. It was below average in February, and now it’s about five inches above average at 714.20 feet. Precipitation may continue to increase the lake level yet this spring, but April has historically been the peak month. Once the ice is out, evaporation tends to prevail, and the lake level decreases through the summer.
          Pretty soon, I’ll start keeping track of flower blooms until I can’t anymore. Then I’ll just be content to marvel at the wonder of it all and to do my limited part. That’s become my preferred routine. Happy Spring!

(Editor’s note:  Thanks to  Adam Shubel for his annual insights and Douglas Lake data. And, a special update to Adam's 'rites of spring' observations:  As of April 18th, the Loon Rangers put the first loon nest out in Maple Bay and a returning loon couple has already checked it out.)
The Douglas Lake Shoreline Reborn         
        The Douglas Lake shoreline has changed continually since its glacial inception. Transformations brought on by physical forces and biological activity have moved the shoreline in and out over the millennia. This natural, perpetual ebb and flow of the shoreline edge has only recently been interrupted by humans. Vegetation removal, house/road construction, wetland fill, and other shoreline disturbances have altered natural processes, accelerating erosion and reducing habitat along the lake's edge.
          In an effort to reverse the damage done to the shoreline, Douglas Lake residents are increasingly turning to bioengineering. Bioengineering is an eco-friendly approach that utilizes biological and physical strategies to correct shoreline erosion. A typical bioengineered shoreline consists of biodegradable coconut-fiber logs installed at the shoreline edge with a gently sloped revetment of fieldstone extending into the water and a mixture of native trees, shrubs, and perennials planted landward of the logs. The fiber logs and stone provide immediate shoreline protection by absorbing wave and ice energy, while plantings stabilize the lake edge long-term via dense and deep root structure. Furthermore, the plantings, logs, and fieldstone provide excellent habitat for wildlife on land and in the water.
          Recent efforts by residents, non-profit organizations, and restoration companies have made great strides in returning the Douglas Lake shoreline to a more natural state. Bioengineering projects have stabilized shorelines and improved habitat at multiple locations along the west and north sides of the lake. Hardened shorelines of seawall and large boulder have been replaced with fiber logs and fieldstone. Shoreline berms from ice shove exceeding 4 feet in height have been leveled and stabilized. Several denuded shorelines are now blooming with a balanced mixture of native plant species. Despite all of these achievements, much remains to be done. If you are having problems with shoreline erosion, please consider bioengineering as it provides a sustainable and cost-effective option for stabilizing your shoreline and returning it to its former glory.

(Editor's note:  This article was written by David Spiers, President, Habitat Landscape, Inc. from a suggestion by Kevin Cronk. The illustration is diagram/schematic of the bioengineered shoreline revetment that Habitat Landscape has installed on several sites around Douglas Lake. Anyone interested is seeing sample photographs of local work, drop an email to   
Douglas Lake Improvement Association    ─   Dues are $25 a year 
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