Since 1978 the Platte Lake Improvement Association (PLIA) has been protecting the water quality of Platte Lake lake and the value of our member's investment. Some homeowners maybe unaware of the serious threats Platte Lake faced in the recent past. In the 1970s, a crisis caused by excessive phosphorus loading into the lake originating from the fish hatchery upstream on the river, virtually decimated lake water quality.
These changes resulted from greatly increased Hatchery production required by the State’s salmon program, itself a well-meaning effort to concurrently enhance Great Lakes fishing and control the alewife problem. Afterward, too much phosphorus, present in the food used and fish waste, was discharged into the River and down into Platte Lake. But Phosphorus, inherent and essential in most life forms, can be a marvelous fertilizer. Particularly if up to 450,000 pounds of high phosphorus food is used annually and not carefully enough.
So Platte Lake changed from one of Michigan’s finest to a lake with opaque gray-greenish water and huge seasonal algae blooms. Native plant and aquatic species declined or disappeared. And as water quality deteriorated so did property values.
The Platte Lake Improvement Association, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, was formed in 1978 to respond to this crisis. Homeowners, like yourself, banded together to reverse the destruction of Platte Lake. Eight years of protracted negotiations with the MDNR ensued, eventually resulting in litigation in circuit Court on behalf of the Lake against the State and the DNR. The Lake won overwhelmingly! The Court appointed a Master to supervise Hatchery operations. After 14 years the PLIA and the MDNR negotiated the Settlement Agreement. In the agreement the court ordered a strict limit on how much Phosphorus the Hatchery could discharge annually, a phosphorus standard for the Lake, appointed the Settlement Coordinator, and required the DNR to fund 98% of the cost of sampling until it met the standard for five continuous years. The Lake’s victory came only after thousands of hours and lots of money was expended by determined volunteers. And that job continues. And we need your support. Vigilance and testing is still necessary to insure compliance with the Lake’s court-ordered phosphorus standard and other measures.
Because of the efforts of the PLIA, Platte Lake is now one of the most studied lake in America. We all stand gratefully on the shoulders of these early advocates who sacrificed so much time and money to leave us the pristine lake which we now enjoy.
Many businesses in Benzie County benefit from its beautiful lakes. Visitors come from all over the world to visit and live in one of the most beautiful places in America. Today our lakes are renowned for their clarity and water quality.
The job is not done yet. We need your support. Ongoing vigilance and testing will be necessary to insure compliance with the court-ordered phosphorus standard for Platte Lake. The Association is continually analyzing the water quality and working with the MDNR and other organizations to insure that Platte Lake, and the value of your property, does not decline again.