Frequently Asked Questions

Photo provided by Elk Rapids Chamber of Commerce

Q. What should I do if I have found evidence of an invasive species?
A. 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.


Q. What can I do to protect the quality of our lakes?
A. There are many positive actions you can take as a resident to protect the quality of our lakes. There is an entire chapter devoted to Watershed Care in our Riparian Handbook, but 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.

Q. What precautions should I take to avoid swimmer’s itch?
A. 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.


Q. What are some rules regarding boat and personal watercraft safety?
A. 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.

Q. Whom should be contacted if a watercraft is speeding or comes too close to
swimmers or docks?

A. 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

Q. How do I join ESLA?
A. If you are interested in joining ESLA, please contact the ESLA Membership Committee at info@elk-skegemog.org. ESLA membership is open to all interested parties.


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


Q. How can I keep boats and PWC from coming too close to my dock or swimming area?
A. Consider using a raft or buoy out 100 feet from dock or swimming area to help keep watercraft at a safe distance.