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How Wetlands Keep Wall Lake Safe

Where are the wetlands on Wall Lake?

The largest area of wetlands are on the south side of Wall Lake.  These wetlands are fragile and can be easily harmed to the severe detriment of Wall Lake.  The hashed areas below identify wetlands around Wall Lake.

What do these wetlands do for Wall Lake?

Hydrology maps show the importance of the cleansing mechanism of these wetlands given that water flows downhill into Wall Lake from the higher ground to the south.  Wall Lake gets its water from these wetlands, and these wetlands filter the water entering Wall Lake.

  • These wetlands regulate nutrients flowing into Wall Lake.

  • These wetlands remove pollutants from the water flowing into Wall Lake.

  • Wall Lake is relatively shallow and its water renews slowly - every three years (lake retention time).  Thus, the oxygenation and health of Wall Lake are directly related to the water coming through the wetlands at the southern end of the lake.

  • These wetlands remove acid from Wall Lake.  The water that flows into Wall Lake comes from a 1,000 acre upland bog.  This type of bog is known as an “acid bog”.  Damage to these wetlands would allow this acidic water to flow freely into Wall Lake and cause, in the words of a Michigan State University scientist, an “environmental disaster”, forever changing the plant and animal life in Wall Lake.

  • Wall Lake serves as a migration staging area for waterfowl.  The wetlands provide diverse and abundant aquatic plant beds that diving ducks eat.  Plant loss will occur if the acidity of the water entering Wall Lake increases, and animal habitat will be lost.

  • Wall Lake serves as an excellent habitat for fish.  The wetlands filter the highly acidic water from flowing into Wall Lake.  If this acidic water enters Wall Lake unfiltered, the acidity of the lake will rise and fish will lose their habitat.  Also, the loss of the wetlands will decrease subsurface insect populations, a major food source for many fish.

What can happen if the Wall Lake’s wetlands are damaged? 

This could have a permanent effect on Wall Lake by killing its plant and animal life.  These wetlands are particularly fragile and at high risk for damage from human activity.  If the wetlands are harmed and acidic bog water flows freely into Wall Lake, it is possible that all plant and animal life in the lake will die.

In 1982, the late Joe Johnson, MSU Kellogg Bird Sanctuary Chief Wildlife Biologist, studied Wall Lake’s wetlands and testified in court that if a canal for a dock were dug through the wetlands it would cause an environmental disaster in Wall Lake.  Thank you Joe Johnson!

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