Watching the Lake Volunteers Shine

Marcy Knoll Wilmes
July 16, 2018

Each summer, I have the privilege of joining ten Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program volunteers on their lake. Lakes are randomly selected for sampling with the goal of completing six Chlorophyll sampling side by sides and four Summer Total Phosphorus sampling side by sides each field season. I find these meet-ups as the perfect opportunity to chat with volunteers, learn about the lake they live on or sample on, and to answer any questions about sampling procedures.

So far this year, I have had the opportunity to join Randy Kaja from Scram Lake in Kent County as well as Bruce Pelletier, Keith Crompton, and Joe Muzzo from Hamlin Lake in Mason County. For each of these trips, I contacted the lead volunteer to set up a day, time, and meeting location. On the sampling day, we head out on the volunteers’ boat to the deepest point, anchor and start sampling. I find this a great opportunity for volunteers to ask questions about the sampling gear and to make sure that everyone collects the data the same way. I watch the volunteer collect secchi and chlorophyll data and then I replicate the same sampling to make sure we are getting consistent results. Once we have collected the chlorophyll sample, we head back to shore and filter our samples.

These are fun days for me to interact with the volunteers, chat about water quality, and take in the beauty of our state. In the winter, once all of the data has been analyzed by the lab, I contact each of the volunteers to compare our chlorophyll or phosphorus data from the lab results.

Thank you to all of the volunteers that have hosted my day visits. I look forward to my upcoming dates scheduled on Round Lake (Lenawee County), Little Island Lake (Iosco County), Viking Lake (Otsego County), Maston Lake (Kent County), and Muskellunge Lake (Kent County).

If you would like to learn more about the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program and how you can get involved with inland lake monitoring in Michigan, please visit or contact Marcy Knoll Wilmes, Senior Aquatic Biologist with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, at (517) 342-4348.