Thank you for visiting the Higgins Lake Foundation website. We hope you’ll enjoy learning more about Higgins Lake and what the Foundation is doing to protect and preserve this uniquely beautiful natural phenomenon.
Dive into this website’s pages to learn more about our goals and accomplishments and how you can help, either through a direct donation or by being a good steward of the lake and its watershed.
Thank you for supporting our common goal to protect and preserve beautiful Higgins Lake!
“A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye, looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”
– Henry David Thoreau
Higgins Lake Foundation-Promoting Ecologically Sound Projects and Practices for the Protection of Higgins Lake and the Surrounding Watershed
DNR – HLF SURVEY RESULTS 2017
AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES ARE A DANGER TO THE HEALTH OF HIGGINS LAKE
The Higgins Lake Foundation funded the construction of two Higgins Lake boat wash stations, the first on State property one minute from the North State Park entrance, the second inside the South State Park located just before the launch area. HLF also funded a power washer at the Gerrish Marina. Boat washing is our first line of defense against infestations of aquatic invasive species in Higgins Lake. Our neighbor, Houghton Lake has become infested with starry stone wart, an invasive known to be even more aggressive than Eurasian water milfoil, too close for comfort! There are 188 known invasive species in the Great Lakes and there is not a known way to totally eradicate any of them.
When the HLF funded the boat wash construction our goal was to create a pilot program for mandatory boat washing at Higgins Lake State launch sites. Last summer the DNR worked the HLF to provide boaters and residents with a survey to gather public input. Is the public aware of the problem? Are boaters willing to spend the few minutes it takes wash their boats when entering and leaving a lake? Do boaters currently use the boat wash stations? Is additional education on the AIS problem needed?
HLF board members and community volunteers met boaters at the State launch sites to distribute survey cards. There were hundreds of conversations with boaters and hundreds of survey cards were passed out. The survey cards instructed boaters to go to the Higgins Lake Foundation web site to complete the survey. HLF also sent email messages to residents asking for participation in the survey.
It was disappointing that the responses from the hundreds of boaters who were given the survey instruction cards at the launch sites totaled only 17.80%. Those who were notified by email had an 82.20% response rate. The high response by email indicates the strong interest level of locals to protect Higgins Lake.
81.90% of the total responders use their boat only in Higgins Lake. There is a misconception that locals need not worry about spreading AIS. A local boat leaving Higgins Lake is just as likely as a transient to return Eurasian water milfoil back into the lake from their last visit.
Good news: 82.35% of the responders believe that they have adequate information about the threat of aquatic invasive species. 99.114% understand the purpose of a boat wash.
Bad news: Only 41.38% wash when launching and leaving.
Great news: The DNR has is hosting Boat Wash Task Force meetings to escalate boat wash use on Higgins Lake in 2018. Plans include staffed attendants washing boats at Higgins State Park boat wash stations, increased signage and educational material. The task force includes representatives from HLF, HLPOA, MWA and the three Townships.
Love Higgins Lake? What can you do to help? Prevention is the best defense! Do not transport aquatic hitchhikers from lake to lake. Wash your boat, your trailer and fishing equipment, empty bilge water, live well, motor and bait boxes. Omit use of fertilizer; if it makes your grass grow, it is also feeding weeds in the lake. Phosphorous is banned in Michigan. If you are starting a new lawn or garden, have your soil tested. The HLF office has a limited supply of MSU Extension Office soil test kits for sale for $12.50 – half off the full price. Maintain your septic system. Nutrient loading from faulty systems in the Higgins Lake watershed promotes weed growth in the lake. Do not anchor on top of EWM; it will break off and spread. Report EWM locations to the Higgins Lake Foundation. If you are unsure if it is EWM or native milfoil, please take a picture and send it to the Higgins Lake Foundation. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, 989 275-9183, open Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday 9am-3pm. For more info on EWM…