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The state of Michigan’s inland lake shorelines

From: MSU Extension

Every five years the United States Environmental Protection Agency partners with state agencies, including the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, to assess the condition of the nation’s inland lakes. In Michigan the study includes collecting data on the biological, chemical and physical conditions of a minimum of 50 randomly selected lakes across Michigan that are over 2.5 acres. Although we have many more than 50 lakes, the design of this study allows us to take the pulse of what is happening in Michigan’s inland lakes.

The latest report (published in 2017) includes data from 2007 and 2012. It concluded that poor lakeshore habitat is the biggest issue in Michigan’s inland lakes. In 2012, nearly 50% of the lakes were considered to be in the “most disturbed” category (i.e. degraded) with regards to lakeshore habitat complexity and riparian vegetation cover. These are indicators of lake health that look at habitat around and within a lake. Lakeshore habitat is considered “degraded” when too much vegetation such as standing and downed trees and native aquatic plants have been removed and replaced by lakefront development, lawns, man-made beaches and seawalls.

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