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
Urgent preservation update!
Preservation Effort 2019, Please consider donating to help our community and beautiful lake.
The Latest Threat
In August, 2018 the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) identified six locations in Higgins Lake that are infested with starry stonewort (SSW), a bright green macro-algae that has been called worse than Eurasian water milfoil because of its tendency to spread quickly and overtake native aquatic plants. The Midwest provides ideal growing conditions for SSW. Since SSW was detected in Michigan in 1983, it has infested almost 100% of the inland lakes in southern Michigan and has been in Houghton Lake for nine years. It most likely was transported to Higgins Lake by boat. How long it has been in Higgins may be three to nine years. It is suspected that it was passing as its twin native plant chara, and until 2018 it did not develop the trademark “bulbils” – minuscule white flowers that bloom in late summer and clearly identify it. The high temperatures of last summer may have prompted this bloom.
What is the HLF doing about it?
The Higgins Lake Foundation is permitted to operate a Diver Assisted Suction Harvester (DASH) boat for the removal of Eurasian water milfoil (EWM). The DASH Boat is the recommended method to remove, reduce and control EWM and SSW. The 2019 DEQ permit issued to HLF to remove aquatic invasive species (AIS) will include both EWM and SSW. The Foundation is in the process of converting the EWM fill bags to a new fabric that will provide maximum control of EWM as well as SSW. HLF is also exploring a new DASH Boat configuration that may provide additional efficacy to the process.
The Higgins Lake Foundation has consulted with the DEQ, a Lake Management company, attended a seminar on SSW hosted by Michigan Waterfront Alliance (MWA), and we continue to consult with Dr. Mark Luttenton from the Annis Water Resources Institute on best management practices. HLF has contracted with Dr. Luttenton of Grand Valley State University and the Annis Water Institute to complete a 2019 survey of SSW in Higgins Lake and oversee the DASH operation work plan. Chemicals are not an option for removal as there are no known long-term successes reported and chemicals may cause lasting damage.
What can you do about it?
- “CLEAN, DRAIN, DRY” Aquatic invasive species are known to hitchhike from lake to lake on boats, kayaks, canoes, trailers, in bilge water, on fishing and scuba equipment and even on fishing boots that have been in other lakes. The Higgins Lake Foundation has funded two free boat wash stations that operate by water pressure wands like a car wash. Two wash station lanes are inside the South State Park and two station lanes are in the free-standing boat wash on West Higgins Lake Drive, one minute from the North State Park entrance. The DNR recently purchased additional boat cleaning tools that will be placed at the DNR West Launch area entrance and exit and at the South State Park launch exit. It is urgent that visiting and local boaters make boat washing a standard practice when entering and leaving Higgins and other inland lakes. The threat of aquatic invasive species degrading Michigan’s natural resources is real!
- Lawn fertilizer of any kind is transported via run-off and ground water into Higgins Lake where it provides the nutrients that unwanted AIS thrive on and creates a breeding place for snails. If you live on the shoreline or in the Higgins Lake watershed, please skip the fertilizer. Property values will plummet along with water quality if green lawns take priority over the health of Higgins Lake.
- Go Natural! For information on creating a “greenbelt” with native plants on your shoreline contact HLF and ask about the greenbelt cost share program.
HLF office: (989) 275-9183
9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tue, Wed, Thurs
- The cost to run the DASH Boat in 2018 was over $40,000. Please consider supporting the Higgins Lake Foundation AIS removal program by making a donation to the dedicated DASH Boat fund.
How to Donate
Donations may be made to the
Higgins Lake Foundation, PO BOX 753, Roscommon, MI 48653 …or