Silver Lake Water Quality Management

Silver Lake’s water quality is dependent on many factors. The lake is officially managed by the Silver Lake Improvement Board (SLIB), a governmental board established by the Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA, Public Act 451 of 1994), Part 309. This management can include regular monitoring of the water quality and the development of programs/treatments designed to improve the lake and it’s fishery. The SLIB also has the power to assess property owners with lake frontage or deeded access to Silver Lake for its operational funds. There are 530 properties assessed by the SLIB in 2023.

The current firm hired by the SLIB to provide professional lake management services is Restorative Lake Sciences (RLS). A new 5-year management plan has been developed by RLS in coordination with the SLIB. This plan was been reviewed for practicality and adopted by the SLIB in April 2023. This plan included two primary initiatives that will be executed throughout the coming years –

1) BioChar Initiative which involved the distribution of 600 total individual BioChar filters that remained in the lake through the summer season as well as larger filter configurations on the lake’s primary inlets. They will be reused each year moving forward, with roughly one third of them being collected each Fall for testing, and then replaced with new filters for the next season.

When removed at the end of the 2023 season one third were recovered for testing (to determine their effectiveness) and the filters that were taken for testing were replaced with new filters. The testing revealed that the filters were estimated to have removed over 0.4 ton of phosphorus from our lake last Summer!

    Please Reinstall BioChar (now TimberChar) Filters! – All the community members who participated last year are encouraged to again place the filters they have on the docks or lifts again this season.
    * TimberChar installation instructions – flyer / video
    * sample photos of preferred installation configuration are here – Photo 1, Photo 2 and Photo 3.

    2) Carp Cull through employing an electrofishing contractor. The process involves stunning the fish in the shallows and then netting and removing the carp from the lake.

    It was reported that the Carp Cull in 2023 did not net the expected results despite three night’s efforts through electrofishing. The program will be repeated in 2024 and then revaluated for additional implementations. Also, there was discussion relating to fun ways the community could get involved with culling the invasive carp in the lake, like maybe a carp tournament with prizes for largest fish removed and greatest weight removed when the carp are active close to shore on Silver Lake. These initial thoughts evolved into FoSL’s 1st Annual Kids Carp Cull Contest.

    The following are SLIB Reports as provided by RLS and others –
    1. Restorative Lake Services – Silver Lake 2023 Water Quality/2023 Management Recommendations Report with Biochar Efficiency Results
    2. Current SLIB/RLS 5-year plan – SLIB/RLS 5-year Management Plan (2023-2027)
    3. Restorative Lake Services – Silver Lake Runoff Evaluation 2022
    4. Restorative Lake Services – Silver Lake 2022 Water Quality
    5. Restorative Lake Services – Silver Lake 2021 Water Quality
    6. DNR – 2020 Fish Study – Silver Lake Oceana County
    7. Restorative Lake Services – Silver Lake 2020 Water Quality
    8. Restorative Lake Services – Silver Lake 2019 Water Quality
    9. Previous SLIB/RLS 5-year plan – SLIB/RLS 5-Year Management Plan (2019-2023)
    10. December 2013 Silver Lake Evaluation
    11. 2011 Silver Lake Water Quality Monitoring Report_Progressive Engineering