White Lake Citizens League

Water Quality & Weed Control

If you have any concerns about weeds or water quality near your home, please call Frank Dyson (248-762-4104) or e-mail weeds@wlcl.org

Chemical treatments

Water quality maintenance and weed control on White Lake are financed by a Special Assessment District, and are supervised by the State of Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).

The foundation of our chemical treatment strategy during the spring and summer months is routine surveys of the weed growth in all parts of the lake and canals. Based on these surveys, we treat parts of the lake that exhibit excessive weed growth. We also count on - and encourage - residents to email weeds@wlcl.org to report any weed concerns in the lake near their property.

We rarely apply "scheduled" weed treatments, opting instead to treat specific weed problems in specific areas as they occur. For this reason, you may observe weed treatment applied to one area of the lake, while it is not applied to another.

Our goal is to not use any more chemicals in our lake than are necessary to maintain an appropriate weed balance. Remember that the lake is not a swimming pool... it is a living, breathing entity, which supports navigation, swimming, recreation, and fishing. Our goal is not to kill every weed, but rather to control the weed growth so that it is not a nuisance.

Current Treatment Strategy

Surveys show that Starry Stonewort, a non-native nuisance plant first detected in the lake in late-2009, continues to become prevalent in the lake. This plant is actually a type of algae, which forms dense mats when it anchors itself to bottom of the lake. It blocks out the growth of both good and bad plants, and can sometimes have an adverse affect on the fish population. See a paper describing Starry Stonewart vs Chara Algae

In the last few years, we have been successful in controlling Starry Stonewort with our strategy of stunting its growth, or what we like to call "giving it a haircut". Since it is almost impossible to eradicate it, this is the most successful strategy. On the positive side, the Starry Stonewort growth has dramatically reduced the growth of Eurasian Milfoil. Our lake appears to be reaching an equilibrium between these two.

2023 Treatment Notice


The White Lake Citizens League participates in the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (CLMP) sponsored by the Michigan Clean Water Corps. The Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) is a network of volunteer monitoring programs in Michigan. It assists the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) in collecting and sharing water quality data for use in water resources management and protection programs in the state.

The graphs below indicate positive (improving) trends over several years for Summer Total Phosphorus and Summer Mean Transparency CLMP Program measurements, both important measurements of the "health" of a lake. Click on each graph to view an enlarged version.

CLMP Phosphorus
Summer Total Phosphorus
CLMP Transparency
Summer Mean Transparency

The State of Michigan mandates a Lake Management Program Report, filed by a certified professional, following the application of Fluridone. Click here to view a copy of the 2009 report. This testing gives us a yardstick to measure progress, and provides the state with information for an effective database.

Visit the Fishing page for information about Fishing Advisories and consumption of fish from White Lake.

Water Quality Reports

2019 - White Lake Limnological Assessment (Progressive AE)

2017 - Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program - White Lake

2009 - Management Program Update - White Lake (Aquest Corp.)

1986 - White Lake Engineering Report (Cleary Engineers, Inc)

Lawn Care

To help in controlling aquatic weed growth, ideally we would not fertilize our lawns, since run-off of fertilizer contributes to weed growth in the lake. Since many of us, however, do use fertilizer on our lawns, there are a few things we can do to lessen the effects of fertilizer on aquatic weed growth. Any of the following can serve as a barrier to help reduce fertilizer run-off into the lake:

  • landscape ties
  • stones and rocks
  • plants and bushes
  • A 5 - 10 foot buffer strip between the lawn and the lake, where fertilizer use is avoided

We can also use fertilizer that has 0% or very low phosphorus, which is now widely available. (Phosphorus is the middle number of the 3 numbers listed on the bag of fertilizer. The first number represents Nitrogen, the second is Phosphorous, the third is Potassium or Potash.) It is most likely that your soil is already rich in phosphorus. The MSU Extension Service recommends fertilizers that are low in both phosphorus and potassium, such as 23-0-6, 30-4-4 or 26-4-4, in this area

Fertilizer Numbers - What Do They Mean?

Christmas Trees

On some northern Michigan inland lakes that are deep and do not have any bottom weed structure, there is a practice of putting Christmas trees out on the ice to mark fishing holes. When the ice melts in the springtime, the trees sink to the bottom (hopefully) and provide structure for the fish. This is NOT a good practice on White Lake! Our lake is shallow, and sunlight provides ample weed structure. Please dispose of your tree using your routine refuse pickup.