Frequently Asked Questions

Riparians should report any such findings to their ESLA Zone Captain. Use the Zone Map to determine what zone you are in, then find the phone number of your Zone Captain here.

The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay, with the help of several other local organizations, has put together a waterfront resource guide. Which can be found HERE.

Additionally there are many positive actions you can take as a resident to protect the quality of our lakes. Here are some basic suggestions:

  • Arrange to have your well water tested periodically (your health department provides this service).
  • Always work with reputable, licensed well drillers that secure the proper permits.
  • Never dispose of toxic chemicals; such as gasoline, motor oil, antifreeze, solvents, etc., in your drain.
  • Familiarize yourself with the location, operation, and design of your septic system.
  • Preserve green buffers around wetlands, creeks, and lakeshores.
  • Avoid the use of fertilizers. Most soils in Michigan don’t require artificial fertilizers to support healthy grass.

Towel off vigorously after swimming and change into clean dry clothes. Avoid swimming at midday when the cercaria (the swimmer’s itch parasite) are most active, and avoid the areas exposed to prolonged onshore winds (the larvae drift near the surface and accumulate in a wind). Other precautions to take include swimming in deeper water where the snails are unlikely to occur, and avoiding feeding waterfowl and attracting them into your swimming area. Their presence will only exacerbate an existing problem. Rubbing on baby oil before swimming has helped in some cases.

No Wake sign on all ESLA waterways means that watercraft must maintain a 100-foot distance from the shoreline, docks, swimmers, swimming areas, fishing boats, sailboats, or moored vessels. Other rules that apply to watercraft:

  • A person must be 12 years old to operate a jet ski or motorboat. Persons 12 to 16 years old must have direct adult supervision while running a jet ski or carry a boating safety certificate.
  • The owner or person in charge of a watercraft is personally liable for illegal use.
  • PWC may not be operated between one hour before sunset and 8:00 AM..
  • Sailboats and other non-motorized watercraft always have the right of way over motorboats.
  • Circular boat operation, such as waterskiing, must be in a counter-clockwise fashion insofar as it is reasonably possible.
  • Boats and PWC towing waterskiers must carry a second person or “spotter” in addition to the driver, and be equipped with a rear view mirror.

You should call the Sheriff’s department in your county.

Antrim County 231-533-8627
Grand Traverse County 231-922-4500
Kalkaska County 231-258-8686

If you are interested in joining ESLA, please visit our Become a Member page.  You may also contact the ESLA Membership Committee at ESLA membership is open to all interested parties.

A watershed is all the land that drains into a body of water such as a lake, river, stream, or wetland.

Call or text 1-800-292-7800, 24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week. This is the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources hotline for reporting such incidents. You can also take a photo of the offender’s craft.