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Protecting Northern Michigan's ​Water Resources

Black Lake Shoreline Survey 2017

Project Summary

During the summer of 2017, the Black Lake Association (BLA) contracted with Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council to conduct a shoreline survey of Black Lake. The survey was designed to replicate and add parameters not reported in a similar 2005 survey. Conditions that can impact
water quality were documented in categories representative of the three biggest threats to inland lakes: nutrient pollution, habitat loss, and shoreline erosion. The shoreline assessment was conducted on a parcel by parcel basis around the entirety of Black Lake. Survey results
indicate that human activity around Black Lake shoreline is likely impacting the lake ecosystem and water quality to some degree.

For the full 2017 Black Lake Shoreline Survey Report, click here.

Improving areas with poor greenbelts will help the character and quality of your Lake by helping to reduce nutrient pollution and sediment input from erosion along the shoreline. Please visit the Michigan Shoreland Stewards (http://www.mishorelandstewards.org/) for more information on healthy lake practices along the shoreline.

Below are individual Lake reports for all lakes surveyed, highlighting greenbelt status, areas of erosion, and the presence of a bioindicator algae, known as “Cladophora”. Clicking a lake name will open the respective report in a new browser window. Please scroll beneath the lake list for a map depicting survey results. A legend for each map layer is shown by clicking the arrow next to the checked layer. Scroll down for information on greenbelts, Cladophora, and erosion from the survey. For individual parcel results, please contact Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council at (231)347-1181.

Black Lake Association
Black Lake Association
The Black Lake Association was founded in 1928 by a group of volunteers focused on maintaining the quality of the lake and surrounding watershed, providing recreational opportunities and to communicate information of interest to its members.
PO Box 302, Onaway, Michigan, 49765
Black Lake Preservation Society
Black Lake Preservation Society
Our sole MISSION is to protect and preserve the ecology of Black Lake, its tributaries and watershed through advocacy and program development; and to operate in a transparent, professional and neighborly manner.
2014 N Saginaw Rd Box 260, Midland, Michigan, 48640
Sturgeon for Tomorrow
Sturgeon for Tomorrow
The purposes of Sturgeon For Tomorrow, Inc. (SFT) are to assist fisheries managers in the rehabilitation of the Lake Sturgeon, to advance education, to further other charitable, educational and scientific objectives, to engage in and facilitate scientific research furtherance of such purposes, and SFT, Inc. shall be empowered to engage in such other and further means necessary and proper to accomplish the foregoing objects and purposes.
1604 N. Black River Road, Cheboygan, Michigan, 49721


Greenbelts are a natural buffer of native vegetation between the water’s edge and your lawn that helps to reduce erosion by stabilizing the soil, filtering nutrients and other pollution. Greenbelts can also deter geese who prefer well-manicured lawns and unrestricted access to the water.

Erosion Severity

Erosion introduces sediments and excess nutrients attached to soil particles. An abnormal increase in sediments can clog the gills of fish, macroinvertebrates, and degrade habitat including fish spawning grounds. Increased nutrients can cause algal blooms that degrade lake water quality.


L = Exposed soils, gullies up to 1″ deep.


M = Exposed soils, gullies greater than 1″ but less than 6″ deep, and/or banks undercut by 6″ (minor slumping)


H = Exposed soils, gullies greater than 6″ deep, and/or banks undercut by more than 6″ (severe slumping)

Cladophora Density

Cladophora is an algae that grows as a film and in later growth stages as filaments on hard substrate near the shoreline. Increased nutrients, such as phosphorus from failing septic systems, enhance Cladophora growth to abnormal levels. Monitoring Cladophora serves as a useful bio-indicator of changes to nutrient inputs near the shoreline.
Comprehensive Water Quality Monitoring (CWQM)
2024 Black Lake Watershed Report
2018 Black Lake Tributary Study
2017 Black Lake Shoreline Survey
2014 Black Lake Aquatic Plant Survey

To improve your stewardship of the ERCOL, visit the Michigan Shoreland Stewards (MiSS) website. ​The MiSS program provides recognition for lakefront property owners who are protecting inland lakes through best management practices on their property and provides recommendations for improving your shoreline