resource guide

for property owners in the Elk River Chain of Lakes watershed.

Shared Priorities. 
Collaborative Action.

Because you care about the preservation of our waters, you are part of a community that shares these priorities. Learn more about the organizations and resources available to assist waterfront property owners.

Lake Associations

All our larger lakes have lake associations made up of volunteers that are organized to monitor water quality and invasive species, promote best practices to prevent degradation of natural resources, and encourage safe recreational experiences. These are the lake associations within the Elk River Chain of Lakes watershed. Please consider becoming a member and volunteer for your association.

Fall Rain Torch Lake_Katherine Berst
Elk River, autumn_Graydon DeCamp

Environmental Organizations

There are two major regional environmental organizations that provide resources to homeowners and lake associations, as well as conduct monitoring and restoration efforts throughout the Elk River Chain of Lakes watershed:

There are several other organizations that provide resources, education, and other environmental services:

The Elk River Chain of Lakes Watershed Implementation Team (ERCOL WPIT) was formed in 2011 to implement activities identified in the Elk River Chain of Lakes Watershed Management Plan. Organized by The Watershed Center and Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, ERCOL WPIT engages lake associations, local governments, area nonprofits, and interested community members in collaborative efforts to protect and preserve water quality throughout the entire watershed.

Conservation Districts

The Elk River Chain of Lakes watershed covers portions of Antrim, Charlevoix, Grand Traverse, and Kalkaska counties. Counties are an especially important resource to homeowners in regard to real property issues, building permits, septic and well permits, and property taxes. Each county also has a Conservation District that provides a variety of services to homeowners and assists lake associations in numerous ways, particularly in controlling invasive species and promoting healthy shorelines. Some Conservation Districts also have delegated state authority for the permitting and enforcement of soil erosion and sedimentation control regulations.

Summer Hummer-Kalkaska-Avery
Brrrrrr Torch Lake

State Agencies

There are two state agencies that are important resources to homeowners and lake associations. The Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) is a source of information about a broad range of environmental topics, but also about regulations and permits that are required when proposed property changes may impact waterbodies and waterways. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is an important resource for issues related to fisheries and safe boating.