Water Quality

Environmental Impact:

Protect the quality of Walloon Lake!  Wash your boat before launching in Walloon, and don’t transfer water or plant material from another lake to Walloon.  The WLA sponsors a voluntary boat wash each year to educate lake users about the importance of washing boats before launching into Walloon.

Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS):

PFAS Fact Sheet

Eurasian Watermilfoil:

EWM is an invasive plant which has been found in Walloon Lake; left untended, it can quickly spread to overtake a lake, choking off navigation and clogging waterways.  Some northern Michigan lakes have significant problems with EWM.  The WLA maintains an aggressive stance fighting this invasive species and treats annually, inspecting reported cases.  These pictures show EWM, which can look like other native plants.  If you see some in the lake, contact the office for a review. 

For more information about EWM and other invasive plants, take a look at this booklet from Tip of the Mitt.  (EWM photos are on page 45)

Swimmers Itch:

Swimmers Itch is caused by a parasite which lives in all northern Michigan lakes.  The parasite cycles between snails in the water and ducks (often mergansers or Canada geese).  The characteristic rash lasts 3-5 days and is itchy and uncomfortable.   There are a variety of creams and treatments available to ‘prevent’ swimmers itch, but none has proven effective for every case.  Some lucky people are naturally resistant, and some may find one type of cream works well, while others continue to get Swimmers Itch. 

Please report cases of Swimmers Itch to the office; we are tracking incidence and participating in scientific studies about the causes and possible prevention. 

To reduce the chances of swimmers itch:

  • SI is most prevalent where snails and ducks or geese congregate.  Ducks and geese love lawns which are mowed right to the waters edge, and often nest nearby.  To limit chances, establish a green belt of natural shoreline plantings to discourage ducks and geese from nesting on your property.  For more information, visit:
  • Deeper, colder water is less likely to bring you into contact with Swimmers Itch.  Sitting, wading or playing in warm, shallow water along the shore is a good way to come into contact with Swimmers Itch. 
  • Some reports indicate that toweling off or showering when coming out of the lake is effective, but this approach is not foolproof.
  • Consider one of the swimmers itch ‘remedies’ available for purchase online or in stores.

Water Quality: 

The quality of the water in Walloon Lake is renowned and cherished by those who visit or live here. Protecting the quality of the water is important for everyone on the lake.  Greenbelts, functioning septic systems, careful selection of lawn care and other products and thoughtful land- and hard-scaping all play a role.



Natural Shorelines protect the lake from runoff in surrounding areas.  As more land around the lake is cleared, there are fewer opportunities for rainwater and other precipitation to be absorbed by the soils and filtered before entering the lake.  Don’t mow to the waters edge; maintain natural shoreline plantings to improve water quality.  Consider a rain garden or other natural area to capture precipitation for filtering.  Explore the resources below or contact Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council for advice.

Sensible Shoreline Development

Natural Shoreline for Inland Lakes

You can become a Shoreland Steward.  Visit this link to learn about how to protect our lake with this program.

Septic Systems:

A typical septic system will last for 20-30 years with regular pump outs and maintenance.  A leaking or failing system will leach septic into the lake, which is evident in lake chemistry and by the presence of certain types of algae.  Please review this report on septic systems and maintain your system for the health of the Lake.   

Pesticides and Herbicides: 

Please limit the use of pesticides and herbicides on land around the lake.  These chemicals enter the water and change the chemistry of the lake, allowing some invasive species to take hold, and degrading the water quality.  Work with your landscape professional to ensure only lake-friendly treatments are used.

According to Part 303, Wetlands Protection, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended, a person may not do any of the following activities in a wetland without a permit from the DEQ:


  • Deposit or permit the placing of fill material
  • Dredge, remove, or permit the removal of soil or minerals
  • Construct, operate, or maintain any use or development
  • Drain surface water


  • Bulldozing, Grading, Dumping
  • Removing tree stumps, Bulldozing, Digging a pond
  • Construction of buildings or structures, Boardwalks, Peat mining, Water treatment
  • Diverting water to another area via ditch, pump or drain


Wetlands Care: 

Walloon Lake is surrounded by several wetland complexes which filter water before it enters the Lake.  These wetlands serve a vital function in lake ecology.  It is illegal to alter or fill a wetland, to add sand to the lake, or to reroute a stream or waterway without consulting the Michigan DEQ.  Contact the DEQ if you are considering any project that could impact a wetland.

Invasive Species: 

Please wash your boat before launching in Walloon, especially if you enjoy visiting other lakes, either Great Lakes, nearby inland lakes, or lakes from other states.  Many species exist in microscopic form and can be transferred from lake to lake; a few minutes of washing your boat can help keep Walloon clean and safe for future generations. 

Common Threats:

Zebra Mussels have been found in every northern Michigan lake, including Walloon Lake. 

Zebra Mussel

Quagga Mussels look like larger zebra mussels, can be even more devastating because they filter water at a higher rate, and have been found in other local lakes.  They have not been found in Walloon Lake.  If you take your boat to other local lakes, PLEASE wash it off carefully before re-launching on Walloon.