HLF Celebrates 25th Anniversary

unnamedThe Higgins Lake Foundation is alive and well, celebrating 25 years in 2014 of protecting and preserving Higgins Lake!  As a non profit 501(c)3 we are not supported by membership dues but rather by generous donors.  The projects we have completed have been funded by personal donations, grants from several private foundations, grants from Roscommon County Community Foundation and several bequests from those who love Higgins Lake.  We maintain and continue to grow an endowment fund as the HLF was formed to operate for perpetuity.

The Higgins Lake Foundation was founded by Rob Morley in 1989. Today our office is located at 207 Terrace Drive in Roscommon. The staff consists of a part-time paid secretary, a chair person and an eleven member board of trustees, all of whom serve in a volunteer capacity.  As a board we determine what projects are of the highest priority and will be of the most benefit for Higgins Lake long term.

Over the years, the Higgins Lake Foundation has funded:

Three boat wash stations on the lake:  the first near the Higgins Lake North State Park, a power wash at the Gerrish Twp. Park& Marina, and a third wash station which will be completed this summer at the Higgins Lake South State Park.

The DASH (Diver Assisted Suction Harvester) Boat which has proven to be very successful in the removal of invasive Eurasian water milfoil (EWM) from Higgins Lake.  The DASH Boat requires a crew of two divers and two deck hands who are paid through a grant from the HLF.

Purchase of the Sherriff’s Marine Patrol boat and funding for patrol.

Contributing to the establishment of the Camp Curnelia American Legion Waste Water Facility.

Purchase of water test equipment and funding for training of volunteers who test Higgins Lake water quality annually as part of the state’s CLMP (Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program).

Scientific testing of near shore water quality by the USGS (United States Geological Survey) as deterioration became apparent on the shoreline.  Initial tests provided baseline data that enables us to trace how we can better protect water quality.  Studies have been an ongoing process.  A two-year lake study being done by MSU and U of M will be completed in December, and a shoreline nutrient loading study by MSU began in May of this year.

Work with the Townships and C2AE Engineering to determine areas most in need of waste water facilities around the lake. The MSU study will also be of great help in that effort.  Nutrient loading and septic seepage is a problem that must be addressed.

Road end erosion surveys and remediation measures to negate storm runoff and other pollutants which enter the lake.

Native plant gardens and educational kiosks at the two State Parks on Higgins Lake as well as the DNR West Launch Site.

Erosion control edifices at the Gerrish Twp Park & Marina.

Training for area landscapers to become certified as Natural Lakescape Specialists.

Construction of the Big Creek timber bridge.

Improvements to Phoenix Public Park on Higgins Lake.

Repair to septic system at Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake.

Swimmer’s Itch Study.

Scholarships for area educators to learn about water ecology and other environmental subjects.

Welcome to Higgins Lake watershed signs placed on roads along the watershed boundaries.

Presentation of greenbelt seminars to encourage native shoreline vegetation to help prevent nutrient loading and shoreline erosion.  HLF also has a cost share program for Higgins Lake riparian property owners who wish to establish a greenbelt.

Affordable swimming lessons for area youth at the North State Park (this summer is the 4th year)

A one-day environmental camp called “Lake Saver Day” for the 4th graders of Roscommon Elementary School (this summer is the 8th year).

Educational materials/presentations to increase awareness of lake care, boating and swimming safety and prevention of aquatic invasive species in Higgins and all Michigan lakes.

Purchase of video microscope and educational kits for use by the Gahagan Nature Preserve

Publication of the Higgins Lake Home Owners’ Manual

The Higgins Lake Foundation website (higginslake-foundation.org).

Periodic newsletters and informational flyers mailed to all donors.

Participation in community events such as the Roscommon Business Expo, the Conservation Expo, the Rotary Sunrise Run, and the River Festival in Roscommon.

Community outreach and involvement with “Friends of Higgins Lake” volunteer program.

Membership in the Roscommon/Higgins Lake Chamber of Commerce.

Representation at the Roscommon Rotary Club.

We host an annual fund raiser, “Higgins Lake Awareness Day” at the R.A. MacMullan Conference Center.  It includes a silent auction, raffle, and food and beverage buffet.  A youth picnic with an educational element takes place the same day.  Raffle tickets are $100.00 each and each ticket includes admission to both events and a chance to win cash and door prizes.  Thirteen cash prizes are given out to winners totaling $10,000.

 

Thank you for supporting our common goal to preserve beautiful Higgins Lake!

Vicki Springstead
HLF Chair