Houghton Lake Improvement Board Moves Forward With 5 year Improvement Plan for Houghton Lake

There was heated debate over the future of the largest inland lake in the state on Tuesday night.

It came as the Houghton Lake Improvement Board considered a five-year improvement plan.

“Starting in the late eighties, a lot of our in the lake started to receive these invasive species and in particular Eurasian Water-Milfoil and within the last, five to ten years and Starry Stonewort have become pretty invasive,” said Dr. Jennifer Jermalowicz-Jones, Owner and Principal Limnologist at Restorative Lake Sciences. “They’re causing a lot of harm both to the ecosystem, but also interfering with recreation and navigation.”

Every five years, the Houghton Lake Improvement Board considers a five-year improvement plan for the lake.

“It’s an integrated approach that includes control of invasive species such as Eurasian Water-Milfoil and Starry Stonewort, and also managing toxic algal blooms in the canal systems as well as restoration of wild rice in very various areas of the lake,” said Jermalowicz-Jones.

The current plan is up; on Tuesday night, the board held a public hearing for an improvement plan that will run from 2022 to 2026.

“We oversee the treatment, and then we come back to evaluate the treatment and continue to survey the lake through the summer to make sure that we’re getting all the areas in the lake that have the invasive species,” said Jermalowicz-Jones.

However, not everyone is in favor of the 5-year improvement plan.

“You’re mixing chemicals and putting them in the lake now. Once you get to the point where you’re mixing chemicals, and they’re not working, it’s like a human taking Penicillin for a cold, and it doesn’t work. So what are you going to do? Keep boosting it up,” said a man during public comment.

“You guys don’t properly notify then our kids get in the water and get rashes. I had to take my kids to the pediatrician three times last year,” said a woman during public comment.

In the end, the board approved the five-year improvement plan for Houghton Lake.

People with lakefront property will pay $120 for the plan in 2022.

People with property across the street from the lake will pay $60 for the plan in 2022.