What is ISCCW?
The acronym ISCCW stands for Invasive Species Control Coalition of Watersmeet. Locally we are known as Watersmeet Lakeguards. Our organization is made up of private citizens whose purpose is to protect the environment of Watersmeet Township from invasive species. We are a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
The ISCCW (Watersmeet Lakeguards) remains committed to its five core objectives to control the spread of aquatic invasive species and maintain the pristine nature of Watersmeet Township waters:
- Educational Outreach
- Aquatic Invasive Species Management
- Monitoring Water Quality
- Clean Boats, Clean Waters Program
- Shoreline Protection
You will see our presence at township offices, local stores, public libraries, lake association meetings, educational seminars, newspapers, high traffic intersections, boat landings, and on the lakes. We are grateful for the continued funding we receive from Watersmeet Township, US Forest Service, and most importantly from you, our loyal members. The people of Watersmeet Township, the vacationers to the Township’s waters, and our local businesses all benefit from our work.
Underpinning these plans is our Vision “Protecting our lakes for generations to come.” Our natural resources here in Watersmeet Township are in nearly pristine virgin condition. Being on our waters is akin to waters in Canada. We all enjoy this in a special way. We respect this gift, some would say revere it. This carries over to how we enjoy it. How we behave when on the water. Avoiding behaviors that spread invasive species, erode our shorelines, harm our fisheries, or impact other boaters. This responsibility drives our culture here in Watersmeet.
ISCCW Historical Information
Eurasian watermilfoil is an exotic, invasive aquatic plant that has been present for years both in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and throughout Wisconsin. This pervasive species forms dense surface canopies which cause adverse environmental, recreational, economic and aesthetic problems. It was not discovered in Watersmeet Township until 2000, when concerned citizens noticed an infestation in Clearwater Lake on the Cisco Chain.
The Cisco Chain Riparian Owners Association immediately began treating Clearwater Lake with the herbicide 2-4-D. This herbicide received clearance in the 1950’s from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for continued use in water. Unfortunately, in successive years, Eurasian watermilfoil was discovered in several more township lakes.
In 2005, Watersmeet Township received a grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, which was to be used for education, lake surveys and control efforts related to aquatic nuisance species. A steering committee, called the Watersmeet Aquatic Nuisance Species Coalition, was formed to administer the funds. Employees were hired to monitor boat landings and distribute pamphlets to educate the public. In addition, several lake associations were granted much needed matching funds to help pay the costs of chemical treatments necessary to control infestations of Eurasian watermilfoil.
In 2007, the Watersmeet Aquatic Nuisance Species Coalition was reorganized into an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization called the Invasive Species Control Coalition of Watersmeet (ISCCW). The new organization enabled township residents to expand their efforts and utilize more resources.
The organization had many successes in 2007. For the third consecutive year, the group was awarded a $10,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The Watersmeet Township Board approved $8,000 to help with the required match to this grant. In addition, the Board received $10,000 of 2% money from the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Tribal Indians, which was passed on to the group. A township-wide mailing was completed which eventually brought in 200 members and $20,000 in donations. Scores of local volunteers donated hundreds of hours and the US Forest Service provided a number of in-kind services. Educators were hired to facilitate Michigan’s Clean Boats Clean Waters program. Several area lake associations were provided with up to a 50% match of their expenses for chemical control treatments on infested lakes.
From then to this present time, the ISCCW has built on this strong beginning. We continue to receive grants from state and federal governmental agencies. Support from Watersmeet Township has been unwavering. Our membership level grew to where we now represent some 400+ families and area businesses and associations that is over 1,000 people. Contributions have now grown to $35,000 each year and donations to our boat inspectors/washers at boat landings now reaches $5,000. These funds support our Annual Operating Budget which is now over $100,000. In addition, an estimated 800 volunteer hours recorded each year help us reach our objectives.
The investment in controlling and eradicating aquatic invasive species in Watersmeet Township is extensive, impressive and coordinated. There are some 10+ lake associations in our Township plus the US Forest Service in the Ottawa National Forest. We estimate that there is approximately $300,000 in total spent each year supported by 3,200 volunteer hours. Our work is coordinated with these entities.
Our boat inspection and washing program has grown to 4 units in operation, two donated from the US Forest Service, and two that we own. We man the most active boat landings. They demonstrate the importance of properly cleaning boats prior to transporting them from one body of water to another. Each year we inspect some 2,000 boats, power wash 500 of them, and speak with 5,000+ boaters. Our 3-4 boat inspectors log in 1,500 hours. They are supported by our Education and Public Relations Manager who logs in approximately 700 hours/years. These are paid positions, and that investment is paying the entire community dividends!
We hire certified biologists to monitor many Township lakes and streams. They develop integrated action plans for each body of water. In addition, some lakes are monitored by trained volunteers who can then alert our biologists of any emerging problems.
ISCCW sponsors on-water training sessions to demonstrate the proper way to look for and identify Eurasian watermilfoil (EWM) and other invasive species that may threaten our lakes.
ISCCW purchased many signs titled “Stop These Invaders” and installed them at area boat landings. To promote public awareness, several give-away items were developed such as placemats, bookmarks, license plates and brochures. A Watercraft Checkpoints Coloring Contest was sponsored for children.
ISCCW provided a 50% match to eligible lake associations to assist them with their aquatic invasive species treatment expenses.
We will always partner with the many area associations, townships and agencies to leverage our overall work and effectiveness in maintaining the pristine nature of the Watersmeet Township waters. All of this is for the benefit of the people of Watersmeet, the vacationers, and our local businesses. Thank you for your continued support.
We believe in Watersmeet – we hope you do too! Join the ISCCW and ask where you can volunteer!