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Last Revised:
9-19-2012

© Copyright
2004-2012
by the Crystal Lake
& Watershed
Association and
ATI Consulting

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Crystal Lake and Watershed Association

 

Crystal Lake &
Watershed Association
P.O. Box 89, Beulah, MI 49617
Phone: (231) 882-4001
FAX: (231) 882-7810
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CLWA Activities:
Water Quality


Studying the environment within our Watershed.


Annual Reports — Water Quality Committee
• Preface
• Water Quality Monitoring and Environmental Sciences
• Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program
• Chemical Monitoring
• Biomonitoring
• Physical Monitoring
• Lake Level Monitoring
• Equipment and Instrumentation
• Selected Environmental Quality Studies

See also: About the CLWA



Annual Reports — Water Quality Committee

The Annual Reports for the Water Quality Committee and the entire CLWA are available here.


Preface

Ecology: the study of plants and animals at home in their natural environment (Gr. oikos, house).

Limnology: Limnology is the study of freshwater, the aquatic environment, and its life, i.e. the study of the physical, chemical, biological, hydrological, and meteorological aspects of fresh water bodies, especially lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams, and freshwater ecosystems (Gr. limne, lake).

Some Problems of Limnology -- E.A. Birge, University of Wisconsin, Science 11(2168), 253-5 (Feb. 16, 1900).

"If the object of science is to correlate and state the results of observation in such a way as to produce mental economy, it can hardly be said that limnology has developed very far as a science. It is certainly still true that much of our knowledge regarding lakes is in that condition of detailed statement whose mastery involves great mental exertion. Through this stage all sciences have passed and signs are not lacking that limnology will soon reach the position now occupied by older branches of biological sciences. To secure this result the student of lake life must attempt to solve problems rather than merely to state data."

"Two classes of problems present themselves to the limnologist: the first, scientific, the second practical. The first comprises the problems raised by the study of the lake as a unit of environment. The second class concerns itself with the question of the lake as a unit of economic production. The answer to the practical question depends on the correct solution of the scientific problems."

"In attempting to solve these problems the limnologist finds himself constantly hampered by the lack of knowledge through which he may interpret the results which he reaches. The acquirement of this knowledge seems to me the first and most necessary step toward bridging exactness and comprehensiveness into our views of lake biology. We count the constituents of the plankton, but are not able to state the significance of the results which we reach."

"A fourth class of questions comprises those raised by the relation of the littoral area to the limnetic region of the lake." (*)

"This work was useful, chiefly in disclosing to us the problems of limnology. These are now before us, in part at least, and the time has come when the student of lakes must attempt to answer some of them."

(*) The littoral zone includes the nearshore water where sunlight penetrates all the way to the bottom allowing macrophytes (plants) to grow. While it includes the shallow waters, the littoral zone extends out from shore to the bottom of the euphotic zone where it is too dark for macrophytes to grow. The limnetic zone is the open water zone away from nearshore where light does not generally penetrate all the way to the bottom. The benthic zone includes the sediment at the bottom of a lake. -- Crystal Lake "Walkabout" Interpretive Manual, May 26, 2004, page 7.

Acknowledgment is given for excerpts and paraphrasing from the excellent webbook: "Understanding Lake Ecology - an Online Limnology Primer," Water on the Web, Natural Resources Res. Inst., Univ. Minn. Duluth, 2002.
wow.nrri.umn.edu/wow/understand.html


Water Quality Monitoring and Environmental Sciences

Environmental parameters describe the existing and historical conditions within the Watershed. Distinctions can be made between levels of substances that occur naturally or are artificially introduced into the water, land, and air of the Watershed. It is important to follow scientifically acceptable procedures for sample collection and analysis for quality assurance and quality control purposes. Baseline conditions and levels and changes are documented and then assessed to determine effects (positive, negative, or none) that may be produced due to population influx, changing land uses, and other developments. Decisions are then considered in watershed management for purposes of both prevention and remediation. Monitoring programs derive their utility and validity from the length of the data series in time, the consistency and intercomparability of the measurements, and the reliability of their data. Available resources are appropriated wisely to select the most meaningful sites, times, and parameters for monitoring and assessment.

What is the cause, or what are the causes, of the improvements? Is it natural variability, the result of human activity, or the result of some natural process? We certainly see the natural variability in the temperature signal and that is why we monitor every year. We need to sample enough to know the natural variability and to separate it from trends and changes. Possibly, the effect could be due to a decrease in nutrient input to the lake.

Although the CLWA and others have been taking nutrient samples for many years, there is limited knowledge about the nutrient budget – the movement of phosphorus and nitrogen nutrients in and out of the Lake. Can it be caused by the biology of the Lake? Is it due to Zebra mussels eating the plankton in the upper layer of the Lake and precluding their sinking to the bottom? The same can be said of the sediment flux – the movement of sediment and soil in surface runoff into the Lake. Is it due to natural events? Is it caused by increased development of critical slopes around the Lake? If so, is the changes short-term or-long term? To answer these questions we will continue monitoring.

A Brief Explanation of Eutrophication of Lakes and Ponds

Eutrophication is the addition of nutrient material (generally from man-made sources) to lakes and ponds. This addition causes sharp increases in photosynthetic organisms, including algae, and a lowering of the oxygen levels as anaerobic organisms degrade the dead algae. This can drastically change the lake's or pond's ecosystem. It may even include the death of large numbers of fish, especially those that need high oxygen levels such as trout.

  • Scenario:

    • Excessive nutrients in water runoff fertilize aquatic plants
    • Dying plants reduce dissolved oxygen levels
    • Low dissolved oxygen endangers other aqautic life
    • Weeds and small fish discourage riparians
  • Sources:

    • Septic Tank Discharges
    • Wastewater Treatment Plant Effluent
    • Fertilizer Runoff
    • Airborne Deposition
    • Plant and Animal Debris
  • Controls:

    • Limiting inputs from natural runoff and sediments
    • Eliminating direct discharges
    • Physical, chemical, and biological treatment
    • Insuring septic tank standards compliance — Ordinances
    • Restrictive land use — Zoning policies

The CLWF and its predecessor, the Crystal Lake Clean Water Committee, have been conducting comprehensive monitoring of the Watershed for several years to reconfirm baseline conditions and future trends in water quality parameters. Samples have been collected in the deepwaters, the nearshore regions, the tributaries, and the outlet. Chemical analyses have included: nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus species); pH, conductivity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, oxidation/reduction potential, and turbidity; and other individual chemical elements. This monitoring program builds upon previous major studies. It is currently active and ongoing.


CLWA Water Quality Committee

The Water Quality Committee of the CLWA conducts monitoring activities within the deepwater, nearshore, and tributary waters of the Crystal Lake Watershed. This committee is responsible for the operation and oversight of the monitoring as well as the analysis and reporting of the data and results. It is comprised of Stacy Daniels, Wally Edwards, Elizabeth Hill, Paul Murphy, Jim Laarman, Scribner Sheafor, and Tom Osborn (Chair).


Deepwater Monitoring

Hydrolab Multiprobe Studies - CLWA profiles of T, DO, pH, cond, redox, turbidity. See: Water Quality Monitoring, Report for 1994 and 1995 (PDF document, 8.3 mB. See here for details.)

Based on over 130 vertical profiles collected by various research groups over the past ten years, the DO in the deepwater column in the central basin of Crystal Lake has remained high at near or above saturation levels. Slight transient depressions in DO at the water/sediment interface do occur as fall detritus settles to the bottom, but are soon dissipated.


Environmental Parameters of Interest

A number of chemical, biological, and physical parameters are monitored by the CLWA. For brief descriptions, see A "Hands-on" Experience in Water Quality Monitoring (PDF document, 77.5 kB. See here for details.)


Chronology of Water Quality Monitoring and Environmental Science

The CLWA and its predecessor organizations, the CLWF and the CLA, together with other cooperating organizations, has conducted various environmental studies, which are listed in chronological order (*) within The Chronology of The Crystal Lake Watershed.

The complete chronology contains over 260 entries describing studies, events, and historical dates from the geological past to the present day.

Chronology of Water Quality Monitoring and Environmental Science (Listing of 262 significant studies, reports, and events)


Environmental Sampling Locations

The CLWA, and its predecessor organizations, together with other collaborating organizations (*) have identified a number of environmentally and geographically significant sites for environmental monitoring. These sites are located throughout the Crystal Lake Watershed in the deepwater, nearshore, and tributary regions. A cumulative list of over one hundred sites has been compiled with descriptions, cross-indices, and latitude-longitude coordinates (GPS).


CLWA Coordination with Other Groups

The CLWA and its predecessors have conducted independent studies and supported cooperative programs of monitoring, education involving academic institutions, environmental organizations, governmental agencies, and commercial laboratories: (links to some of these organizations are available on our Links page)

  • Benzie Central Schools
  • Central Michigan University – Michigan Water Research Center
  • Frankfort-Elberta Area Schools
  • Interlochen Arts Academy  
  • Michigan State University
  • Northwest Michigan College – Great Lakes Water Studies Institute
  • The University of Michigan

  • Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy
  • Michigan Lake & Streams Associations
  • North American Lake Management Society

  • Benzie/Leelanau District Health Department
  • Benzie County Department of Public Works
  • Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
  • Michigan Department of Natural Resources
  • Northwest Michigan Council of Governments
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • Michigan Sea Grant

  • Great Lakes Water Quality Laboratory
  • Great Lakes Environmental Center
  • Meridian Geographics
  • Water Quality Investigators

The CLWA has also cosponsored the Crystal Lake “Walkabout” with other groups.


Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP)

The Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP) has been an important component of Michigan's inland lakes monitoring program for over 35 years. Its primary purpose is to help citizen volunteers monitor indicators of water quality in lakes and streams in Michigan. Its goals are fourfold:

  1. Provide baseline information and document trends in water quality for individual lakes.
  2. Educate riparians & citizens in water quality monitoring, lake ecology, and lake management.
  3. Build constituencies for sound lake management and public support for lake quality protection.
  4. Provide a cost-effective process for MDEQ to accumulate baseline data for lakes state-wide.

Since 1992, the Michigan Lake and Stream Associations (ML&SA) has administered the CLMP jointly with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) under a Memorandum of Understanding. The ML&SA continues to administer the CLMP under the Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps). The CLWA has participated in the CLMP since its inception in 1974.

Comparisons of Water Quality Parameters for
All Lakes with Crystal Lake for 2011 (1)
Parameter

# Lakes

ALL
(Mean)

ALL
(Range)

Crystal Lake

Secchi Disk (ft)

198

12.2

1.0 – 57.0

13-44 ( ~25 avg.) (2)

TSISD

 

42

27-66

~ 30

Chlorophyll a (microgram/L)

120

3.6

< 1 - 37

< 1

TSICHL

 

40

< 31-60

< 31

Total P (microgram/L)
(Spring Overturn)

146

14.2

< 5 - 113

< 5

Total P (microgram/L)
(Late Summer)

187

12.7

< 5 - 74

< 3

TSITP (Summer TP)

 

38

< 27 - 66

< 27

Dissolved Oxygen,
Temperature

41

 

 

(3)

Aquatic Plant Mapping

 

 

 

(4)

Exotic Aquatic Plant Watch      

(5)

(1)  Data from 2011 CLMP Annual Report. See also CLMP Annual Reports (1998 - 2011) and MiCorps Data Exchange Network (search on County: Benzie; Watershed / HUC Betsie-Platte (optional); Lake: Crystal).
(2) CLWA monitors all parameters, but does not report all data to the CLMP.
(3) CLWA monitors temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, redox, & turbidity since 1994. Hydrolab™ H20 multiparameter sonde. This has been ongoing since 1994. All parameters are indicative of exceptional water quality.
(4) CLWA conducted Aquatic Plant Mapping in 1996 & with CLMP in 2008.
(5) CLWA Exotic Plant Mapping in 1996 & with CLMP in 2008.


TROPHIC STATE INDICES


TROPHIC STATE INDICES


Data Source: 2011 CLMP Annual Report

CL = Crystal Lake (Benzie County) CLMP ID # 100066 (HUC 040601040305-01); ALL = All Lakes.

Values for Crystal Lake are at the oligotrophic ends of the Trophic State Indicator (TSI) scales (low ends) which indicate exceptional water quality.

The TSI scales were developed as a series of regression equations:

TSISD = 60 - 33.2 log SD
TSI
CHL = 30.6 + 22.6 log CHL
TSI
TP = 4.2 + 33.2 log TP

or alternatively:

TSISD = 60 - 14.4 ln SD
TSI
CHL = 30.6 + 9.81 ln CHL
TSI
TP = 4.2 + 14.4 ln TP

where:

  • SD = Secchi depth transparency (m)
  • TP = total phosphorus concentration (microgram/l)
  • CHL = chlorophyll a concentration (microgram/l)
  • [log is the base 10 logarithm and ln is the natural logarithm]
  • [ln (x) = 2.303 log (x)]

Carlson, R.E., A Trophic State Index for Lakes, Limnology and Oceanography 22(2), 361-369 (1977).

Carlson, R.E. and J. Simpson, J., A Coordinator’s Guide to Volunteer Lake Monitoring Methods, North American Lake Management Society, 1996, 96 pp.


Chemical Monitoring

  • Chemical Parameters of Interest

Chemical monitoring includes measurement of conventional parameters, such as dissolved oxygen (DO), pH, conductivity, and oxidation-reduction potential, that influence the health of all aquatic life; and individual chemical elements, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, that are nutrient sources for plankton and aquatic plants, and other parameters, such as hardness, alkalinity, iron, sulfide, etc., that affect the quality of drinking water.

  • Annual Water Quality Studies

Water quality parameters have been monitored on an annual basis by the CLWA in cooperation with Water Quality Investigators.

See:
1993-2002 Water Quality Study (PDF document, 3.1 mB. See here for details.)

  • Phosphorus Levels in Crystal Lake

    Total soluble phosphorus is one of the nutrients for plant growth in a lake. Values less than 10 micrograms per liter (10 ug/L) are found in extremely oligotrophic (low in nutrients and plant life and rich in oxygen) lakes. The average total soluble phosphorus concentration over the past ten years in Crystal Lake is 5.56 ug/L (based on several sources).


(Click on image for a larger view.)

The CLWF partnered with the Interlochen Arts Academy in conducting water quality monitoring of the Crystal Lake Watershed.

  • Sediment Analysis of Crystal Lake

Researchers in the Department of Geological Sciences at Michigan State University have been studying the distribution of multiple chemical elements in selected inland lakes of Michigan including Crystal Lake in Benzie County. Samples of sediment from the Lake bottom can be dated back to the time of the "Tragedy" of Crystal Lake. Results were presented at the 2003 CLWF Annual Meeting.


(Click on image for a larger view.)

  • Sediment Core from Crystal Lake (2001).

This sediment core was collected as part of an extensive study of inland Lake Sediment Trends by the Department of logical Sciences, Michigan State University.


(Click on image for a larger view.)

Note the unusual lighter sand layer below the darker marl lower indicating the 1873 drawdown event (The "Tragedy" of Crystal Lake) preserved for posterity!

See: Inland Lakes Sediment Trends: Sediment Analysis Results for Five Michigan Lakes (including Crystal Lake, Benzie County) (PDF document. See here for details.)

(This is the complete citation.)
Yohn, Sharon S., Long, David, T., Giesy, John P., Scholle, Lydia, Patino, Lina C., Fett, Joel D., and Kannan, K., Inland Lakes Sediment Trends: Sediment Analysis Results for Five Michigan Lakes, Cadillac Lake, Crystal Lake (Benzie County), Mullet Lake, Paw Paw Lake, Whitmore Lake, Yearly Report: 2001-2002, Aqueous & Environmental Geochemical Labs, Dept. Geological Sciences, Michigan State University, E. Lansing, MI, Jan. 2002, 65 pp. 2003.

  • Sediment Profiles of Crystal Lake (Profiles of twenty chemical elements)

See: Sediment Chemistry (PDF document, 48 kB. See here for details.)


Biomonitoring

Biomonitoring includes assessment of various living species (plants and animals), their environmental habitats, and how they interact with one another. Indicator organisms range from zooplankton and phytoplankton (microscopic animals and plants) living with the waters of Crystal Lake and its tributaries, to benthic macroinvertebrates (bottom dwelling insects and others with no backbones) living within the sediments of the Lake and tributaries, to aquatic macrophytes (sumersed and floating plants), to fish and ducks. Species include those native to the Crystal Lake Watershed, and those that are not native (invasive species).

  • Benthic Invertebrates

The CLWF completed a two-year study of the benthic macroinvertebrates of the Cold Creek Watershed in 2003. The study, partially funded by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, concluded that although Cold Creek is the largest tributary to Crystal Lake, its biological diversity and productivity are limited because of its small size as a feeder stream compared to larger wadeable streams like the Platte River and the Betsie River. Associated monitoring of chemical parameters show that the water entering Crystal Lake from Cold Creek is still of excellent quality. The complete 40-page report and 100 pages of appendices (March 2004 publication) are cited below.

Some occasional reeds and other rooted plants are found along the shoreline of Crystal Lake. The exceptional water clarity of Crystal Lake allows light to penetrate more deeply than in other lakes. Most of the aquatic plants (weeds) are found in the deep waters (>10 feet) of Crystal Lake. Aquest, Inc. was contracted by the CLWF in 1996 to survey the submersed flora in Crystal Lake.

Submersed Flora of Crystal Lake

CrystalWeedBeds.gif


Aquatic macrophytes (plants) are natural and essential parts of a lake. They hold shoreline sediments, reduce erosion, and stabilize the lake bottom. They also provide habitat for fish and forage for waterfowl. Such plants can potentially increase in coverage area and in density if excessive nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen,enter a lake through tributary flows, stormwater runoff from the surrounding land, and atmospheric deposition.

Aquatic plants are rarely a problem in oligotrophic lakes such as Crystal Lake. Some occasional reeds and other rooted plants are found along the shoreline of Crystal Lake. The exceptional water clarity of Crystal Lake allows light to penetrate more deeply than in other lakes. Consequently, most of the aquatic plants are found in the deeper waters (10-40 feet) of Crystal Lake.

Aquatic plants may be present in several forms: (bulleted list)

  • Emergent plants: rooted to bottom with stems or leaves that rise well above the water surface.
  • Floating-leafed plants: roots on the bottom and leaves that rest on, or slightly above, the surface.
  • Submergent plants: all or most leaves and stems below water; rooted to the bottom or free-floating.
  • Free-floating plants: found on the lake surface, with root systems not connected to the bottom.

In the summer of 2008, the CLWA sampled, identified, and mapped aquatic plant species for comparison with previous studies.

AQUATIC PLANT MAPPING, CRYSTAL LAKE, BENZIE COUNTY *
(A Summary of Aquatic Macrophyte Studies)



(Click on image for the PDF document, 13 pages, 16.4 mB.
See here for details.)


(*) This study was conducted by 2008 Summer Interns, Emily Baker and Molly Walton, with assistance by CLWA Board Members and with oversight by Dr. Jo. Latimore of MSU, as part of the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP) of the Michigan Lake & Stream Associations (ML&SA).


Physical Monitoring

Physical monitoring includes measurement of temperature and water clarity, and determination of the water level of Crystal Lake.

  • Water Clarity

Water clarity is measured by observing the disappearance of a Secchi disk, a circular disk with alternate black-and-white quadrants, that is lowered into the depths of a lake. A deeper depth is indicative of greater water clarity. The CLWF and predecessor organizations have monitored the clarity of Crystal Lake for more than 45 years. During this period, the clarity of Crystal Lake has remained exceptional compared to other Michigan lakes and has even improved. The average of 348 Secchi disk readings from 1969 to 2004 is 21 feet (~7 meters) with an 18% improvement over that 45-year period.

Water Clarity - Secchi Disk Depth - 1969 - 2004 (348 values)


(Click on image for a larger view.)

The hydrogeology of Crystal Lake is unique since its Watershed is small and perched ~ 21 feet above Lake Michigan.

See: Hydrogeology of Crystal Lake and Lake Michigan (PDF document, 77 kB. See here for details.)


Lake Level Monitoring

The level of Crystal Lake is controlled by the Outlet Dam, on the SW shore west of Railroad Point.

The level was set at 600.48 feet until 1980, when it was replaced by a two-tiered level. The summer level is now set at 600.25 feet (May 1 - Oct. 31); the winter level is set at 599.75 feet (Nov. 1 - Apr. 30).

This compromise allows higher water for recreation in the summer, and lower water to limit shoreline erosion in the winter.

A series of five "stop-logs" act as a series of gates with one or more put in to raise the level, or taken out to lower the level.

Note 1: Low & High deviations are calculated from either Summer (May 1 - Oct 31) of 600.25 feet, or from Winter (Nov. 1 - Apr 30) of 599.75 feet.

Note 2: Low & High lake levels are only reported during periods of record (observation) and actual fluctuations may have been greater during individual years.

Note 3: Weekly levels compiled by Benzie Co. Road Commission (BCRC) from ice out-ice, 1969-1998; compiled by the Benzie County Drain Commissioner only from May 1-Oct 31, 1999-2009.

  • Recent Year of Record (2011)

    The actual lake levels over the past year (2011) are shown on the accompanying graph. The annual seasonal pattern is shown by the fitted curve and compared with the two biannual legal levels.


(Click on image for a larger view.)

Note 4. The fitted curve is an approximation of the actual levels. 

Higher levels are experienced early in the year when precipitation exceeds evaporation (snowmelt and spring rains).Lower levels are experienced later in the year when evaporation exceeds precipitation (warmer air and water temperatures).

  • Comparison of Crystal Lake Level (Overlapping yearly patterns)

The level of Crystal Lake varies somewhat from year to year. This is the result of several factors. Increased (or decreased) snowmelt and/or rains can contribute to higher (lower) levels. 

Less ice cover in the Winter and warmer temperatures in the Summer mean more evaporation.

The discharge at the Outlet Dam is sometimes a raging torrent. At other times it is “high-and-dry” with no discharge.

2007 (An unusually "dry" year) -The level of Crystal Lake was at its lowest level in 37 years! Rainfall was less than one half of an average year.

2008 (A "wet" year) - The level of Crystal Lake returned to its normal pattern with several intense rains.


(Click on image for a larger view.)

The level of Crystal Lake also has been monitored using an automatic level gage to record events such as sudden intense rainstorms.

  • Crystal Lake Water Levels (Chronological Record)

The Lake level since 1970 has shown smaller but repeating cycles of yearly rise and fall.

These cycles have averaged about (+/-) 0.5 feet for most years.

The Lake starts “full-and-overflowing” above the set level due to snowmelt and spring rains. Management of the Outlet Dam requires storing water in the Spring to compensate for evaporation loss during the Summer.

In most of the years since 1970, the spring level has started above the set level (+) of 600.25 feet.

In most of the years since 1970, the late fall level has dropped below the set level (-) of 599.75 feet but recovered by spring.


(Click on image for a larger view.)

  • Crystal Lake Levels (Historical Yearly High & Low Levels)

Net Level = Actual Level - Set Level (Either Summer 600.25 feet, or Winter 599.75 feet)


(Click on image for a larger view.)

  • Rain Event of 08/21/02 - 08/22/02 (5 inches of rain in 5 hours).


(Click on image for a larger view.)

This event also caused the nearby Platte River to rise (not shown).

  • Rain Event of 08/19/05 (4 inches of rain in 2 hours).

The Platte River rose 1.7 feet (from 1.31 feet), and the discharge increased 290 cfs (from 121 cfs), or about 234%, in about 2-1/2 hours!


(Click on image for a larger view.)


(Click on image for a larger view.)

This event was of shorter duration and more intense than the 2002 event. It appears to be the most intense event over the past 15 years of record.

One inch of rain directly on Crystal Lake amounts to 4,782,000 gallons.

Note: Real-time data for USGS stream gaging station 04126740, Platte River at Honor, MI (US31 bridge). Lat 44°39'55", Long. 86°10'40" NAD27 Gage datum 600 feet above sea level NGVD29. Drainage Area: 118 mi2.
Reference this Web page.

(Click on photos for a larger view.)

   

Water accumulation and silt-laden discharge direct into Crystal Lake on the north
shore along the reconstructed portion of M-22. (The new MDOT ditch-and-culvert
system was unable to handle this event.)

  • What If Crystal Lake Was Higher/Lower?

    Crystal Lake was once much higher than it is now. Prior to 1873, the shoreline lapped against the bluffs in many places. The wide sandy beach where many cottages and the roads around the Lake now exist was underwater. Round Lake was a bay of Crystal Lake. Portions of the Village of Beulah would have been submerged. In geologic times, Crystal Lake was a bay open to Lake Michigan

    After the
    famous "Tragedy" of Crystal Lake, the level of the Lake was lowered signficiantly. This event makes Crystal Lake very unique. After several decades of fluctuating water levels, a control dam was installed on Outlet Creek. The current level of Crystal Lake is maintained at 600 feet (Great Lakes datum) with a three-inch rise in the summer and a three-inch fall in the winter.

  • Lake Michigan Level:


Equipment and Instrumentation

The CLWA has inherited an impressive inventory of equipment and instrumentation for water quality monitoring, sample collection, and analysis, from the former CLWF.

Multiparameter Analyzer
   (Hydrolab H20 Multiprobe)
Dissolved Oxygen Sensor
pH Sensor
Redox (ORP) Sensor
Depth Sensor
Turbidity Sensor
Surveyor 3 Display Logger
Flow-Through Cell (Groundwater)
Optical Particle Monitor
Optical Particle Counter
Secchi Disk (Vertical Deployment)
Secchi Disk (Hand-held)
Secchi Disk (Horizontal Deployment)
Aquascope
Lake Level Gauges (2 units)
   (Troll 4000)
Rain Gauge
Thermometer
Wind Speed Indicator
Sand Sifter
Hester-Dendy Plate Sampler
Beta Bottle
Ballchek Bottom Corer
Ponar Dredge
Winch, Line Reels
Soil Classification Sieves
Wash Bucket, Sorting Trays
Chlorophyll Sampler
Plankton Net
Bottom Kick Nets
Dissecting Scope
Microscope
Global Positioning System
35 mm Camera
Personal Computer
   and Peripheral Devices


Selected Environmental Quality Studies

Click here for a listing of Selected Environmental Quality Studies conducted 2004-1984 by the CLWA and its predecessors.

Click here for a more extensive listing of Environmental Quality Studies of the Crystal Lake Watershed and Contiguous Watersheds.


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