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Protecting Northern Michigan's ​Water Resources

Thumb Lake

Thumb Lake (or Lake Louise) is a glacially formed kettle lake that sits in the headwaters of the Sturgeon River. There are a few minor inlets and no outlet streams. Due to the lack of an outlet, Thumb Lake is considered a seepage lake. Seepage lakes lose water only through evaporation and groundwater channels, which means that lake water has a long residence time in relation to drainage lakes (lakes with outlets).

510 acres

OF SURFACE AREA

7.5 miles

OF SHORELINE

152 feet

MAX DEPTH

Overview of Thumb Lake

Primary Inflows

Headwaters

Primary Outflows

Surface Area

510 acres

Shoreline

7.5 miles

Maximum Depth

152 feet

Known Aquatic Invasive Species

Description:

Thumb Lake (or Lake Louise) is a glacially formed kettle lake that sits in the headwaters of the Sturgeon River. There are a few minor inlets and no outlet streams. Due to the lack of an outlet, Thumb Lake is considered a seepage lake. Seepage lakes lose water only through evaporation and groundwater channels, which means that lake water has a long residence time in relation to drainage lakes (lakes with outlets). If Thumb Lake were to become seriously polluted, natural recovery would be slow because there are no outlet streams to flush out the pollutants.

The Thumb Lake watershed is a sub-watershed of the Sturgeon River watershed, which is, in turn, part of the larger Cheboygan River Watershed. Thumb Lake has a small watershed in relation to the lake’s surface area, measuring approximately 3,840 acres (does not include lake area). According to land cover statistics from a 2006 land cover dataset, the majority of the watershed is forested. Of land cover types that typically contribute to water quality degradation, there is little agriculture and even less urban/residential in the watershed.

Previously, there were some nutrient pollution problems as documented by a shoreline survey sponsored by the Lake Louise Christian Community (LLCC) and conducted by Watershed Council staff in 2000. Problems were addressed during follow-up activities and the 2007 shoreline survey showed few if any nutrient pollution problems.

During a Watershed Council field trip in 2006, staff noticed a Eurasian watermilfoil (EWM) plant bed near the boat launch. LLCC has worked with the Watershed Council and EnviroScience, Inc. to locate Eurasian watermilfoil beds throughout the lake and control them biologically by stocking aquatic weevils that are native to the area and known to effectively control the invasive watermilfoil. In their efforts to control Eurasian watermilfoil, LLCC also installed benthic barriers, which are mats affixed to the lake bottom in infested areas that essentially suffocate the invasive plants.

Monitoring and Research:

Thumb Lake is monitored every three years through the Watershed Council’s Comprehensive Water Quality Monitoring (CWQM) Program for dissolved oxygen, specific conductivity, pH, nitrate-nitrogen, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and chloride levels.

Water transparency, chlorophyll-a, and water temperature are also monitored in Thumb Lake each summer by volunteers as part of the Watershed Council’s Volunteer Lake Monitoring (VLM) Program.

Additional Resources:

See additional resources on our Aquavist page.

A wide variety of maps for this area are available online at the Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) Data Resources page.

TitleCategoriesLinkhf:doc_categories
Comprehensive Water Quality Monitoring (CWQM)Bass Lake, Beals Lake, Bear River, Ben-Way Lake, Birch Lake, Black Lake, Black Lake Watershed, Black River, Boyne River, Burt Lake, Burt Lake Watershed, Carp River Watershed, Cheboygan River, Cheboygan River Watershed, Clam Lake, Crooked Lake, Crooked River, Deer Lake, Douglas Lake, Duncan-Grass Bay Watershed, Elk Lake, Elk River, Elk River Chain Of Lakes, Elk River Chain of Lakes Watershed, Ellsworth Lake, Grand Traverse Bay Watershed, Hanley Lake, Huffman Lake, Intermediate Lake, Lake Bellaire, Lake Charlevoix, Lake Charlevoix Watershed, Lancaster Lake, Larks Lake, Little Traverse Bay Watershed, Long Lake, Marion Lake, Mud Lake, Mullett Lake, Mullett Lake Watershed, Munro Lake, Nowland Lake, Paradise Lake, Pickerel-Crooked Lakes Watershed, Round Lake, Scotts Lake, Silver Lake, Six Mile Lake, Skegemog Lake, Spring Lake, St. Clair Lake, Susan Lake, Thayer Lake, Thumb Lake, Torch Lake, Twin Lake, Walloon Lake, Walloon Lake Watershed, Wildwood Lake, Wilson Lakebass-lake beals-lake bear-river ben-way-lake birch-lake black-lake black-lake-watershed black-river boyne-river burt burt-lake-watershed carp-river-watershed cheboygan-river-rivers-streams cheboygan-river-watershed clam-lake crooked-lake crooked-river deer-lake douglas-lake duncan-grass-bay-watershed elk-lake elk-river elk-river-chain-of-lakes elk-river-chain-of-lakes-watershed ellsworth-lake grand-traverse-bay-watershed hanley-lake huffman-lake intermediate-lake lake-bellaire lake-charlevoix lake-charlevoix-watershed lancaster-lake larks-lake little-traverse-bay-watershed long-lake marion-lake mud-lake mullett-lake mullett-lake-watershed munro-lake nowland-lake paradise-lake pickerel-crooked-lakes-watershed round-lake scotts-lake silver-lake six-mile-lake skegemog-lake spring-lake st-clair-lake susan-lake thayer-lake thumb-lake torch-lake twin-lake walloon-lake walloon-lake-watershed wildwood-lake wilson-lake inland-lakes rivers-streams watersheds
2018 Burt Lake Watershed Management PlanBurt Lake, Burt Lake Additional Docs, Burt Lake Watershed, Crooked Lake, Douglas Lake, EGLE/EPA Approved Watershed Management Plans, Huffman Lake, Lancaster Lake, Larks Lake, Mud Lake, Munro Lake, Pickerel Lake, Round Lake, Spring Lake, Thumb Lake, Wildwood Lakeburt burt-lake-additional-docs burt-lake-watershed crooked-lake douglas-lake watershed-plan-approved huffman-lake lancaster-lake larks-lake mud-lake munro-lake pickerel-lake round-lake spring-lake thumb-lake wildwood-lake inland-lakes watersheds
2010 Small Gem Lakes ProfileBass Lake, Birch Lake, Deer Lake, Huffman Lake, Larks Lake, Long Lake, Marion Lake, Nowland Lake, Silver Lake, Susan Lake, Thumb Lake, Twin Lake, Wildwood Lakebass-lake birch-lake deer-lake huffman-lake larks-lake long-lake marion-lake nowland-lake silver-lake susan-lake thumb-lake twin-lake wildwood-lake inland-lakes
2007 Thumb Lake Nutrient Pollution SurveyThumb Lakethumb-lake inland-lakes

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