by the Crystal Lake
All Rights Reserved.
Crystal Lake &
P.O. Box 89, Beulah, MI 49617
Phone: (231) 882-4001
FAX: (231) 882-7810
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Crystal Lake Watershed Management Plan
The Crystal Lake Watershed is a
valuable natural resource. Protecting the integrity of its high quality waters and
unique environment is a worthy objective. Management of the Crystal Lake Watershed
is important for three reasons: (1) to determine what we know about our Watershed
from the past, (2) to plan to use our Watershed in an environmentally sustainable
manner today, and (3) to implement projects to protect our Watershed for the future.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has recently formalized the process
of developing watershed management plans. Watershed management is not a new undertaking
for the Crystal Lake Watershed. Its importance was confirmed in the draft Benzie
County Comprehensive Plan. Scientific studies of all the ologies, i.e. geology
(soil), hydrology (water), ichthyology (fish), limnology (lakes), biology (plants
and animals), etc., done over the past 160 years form a database for decision-making.
Definitive reports of issues and resource plans already have been developed by citizen
and governmental committees. The Crystal Lake Watershed Management Plan has been,
and will continue to be, a continually evolving entity, comprised of various pieces
from informed stakeholders. Contributions to the Crystal Lake Watershed Management
Plan have been made by a number of stakeholders with presence or interest in the
Watershed. These have included individual citizens; nonprofit organizations; local,
state, and federal governments; and academic institutions.
Betsie River / Crystal Lake Watershed Management
Many organizations, including but
not limited to:
- Benzie Conservation District (BCD)
- Crystal Lake & Watershed Association
- Conservation Resource Alliance
- Green Lake Betsie River Association
- Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy
- Land Information Access Association
- Michigan Department of Environmental
- Northwest Michigan Council of
- Many township governments
- Benzie, Grand Traverse, and Manistee
are involved in creating a combined
Betsie River / Crystal Lake (BRCL) Watershed Management Plan (WMP). It will combine
aspects of the Crystal Lake Watershed Management Plan (as covered above) and the
River Watershed Management Plan
(PDF document 106 pages, 7.7 mB).
Definition of Watershed Management (*)
Watershed Management is an iterative
process of integrated decision-making regarding uses and modifications of lands and
waters within a watershed. This process provides a chance for stakeholders to balance
diverse goals and uses for environmental resources, and to consider how their cumulative
actions may affect long-term sustainability of these resources. The Guiding Principles
of the process are Partnerships, Geographic Focus, & Sound Management (strong
science & data).
Human modifications of lands and waters directly alter delivery of water, sediments,
and nutrients, and thus fundamentally alter aquatic systems. People have varying
goals and values relative to uses of local land and water resources. Watershed management
provides a framework for integrated decision-making, where we strive to: (1) assess
the nature and status of the watershed ecosystem; (2) define short-term and long-term
goals for the system; (3) determine objectives and actions needed to achieve selected
goals; (4) assess both benefits and costs of each action; (5) implement desired actions;
(6) evaluate the effects actions and progress toward goals; and (7) re-evaluate goals
and objectives as part of an iterative process.
As a form of ecosystem management, watershed management encompasses the entire watershed,
from uplands and headwaters, to floodplain wetlands and river channels. It focuses
on the processing of energy and materials (water, sediments, nutrients, and toxics)
downslope through this system. Of principal concern is the management of the basins
water budget, that is the routing of precipitation through the pathways of evaporation,
infiltration, and overland flow. This routing of groundwater and overland flow defines
the delivery patterns to particular streams, lakes, and wetlands; and largely shapes
the nature of these aquatic systems.
Watershed management requires use of the social, ecological, and economic sciences.
Common goals for land and water resources must be developed among people of diverse
social backgrounds and values. An understanding of the structure and function--historical
and current--of the watershed system is required, so that the ecological effects
of various alternative actions can be considered. The decision process also must
weigh the economic benefits and costs of alternative actions, and blend current market
dynamics with considerations of long-term sustainability of the ecosystem.
(*) The Michigan Watershed Homepage: