PM Lake Watershed Council formed to preserve future of lake.

April 28, 2016
Ray Karboske at Copeyan Park in Ludington.

Ray Karboske at Copeyan Park in Ludington.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — Ray Karboske II knows Pere Marquette Lake. He grew up there, working alongside his dad, Ray, at Ray’s Auto-Marine at 801 S. Washington Ave. just north of the Washington Avenue Bridge. 

“I remember when my dad bought the place,” he said. “I was in elementary school, in the early ‘70s.”

Ray is concerned with the condition of the lake and has recently started the Pere Marquette Lake Watershed Council. The council’s purpose is to clean up Pere Marquette Lake and preserve it for future generations, Karboske said.

“I’m looking at our future generations and I want to do something positive here,” Ray said. “We need to bring awareness about the pollution that is in this lake and we need to develop a plan to clean it up and return Pere Marquette Lake back into a pristine waterway. Our goal is that our kids and our families should be able to swim in clean water and play in clean sand.”

Pere Marquette Lake drains into the Ludington channel, which then is open to Lake Michigan. It is the mouth of the Pere Marquette River, which originates in Lake County and flows east-west through the center of Mason County. French Jesuit missionary Father (Pere) Jacques Marquette died near the mouth of the lake, now named after him, in 1675 while traveling back to St. Ignace (the mouth of the lake was located further south than the present day channel). The lake has been the hub of Ludington’s industries going back to the 1800s when lumber mills were established on its shores. In the 20th century, those industries included Morton Salt, Dow Chemical and railroad and its carferries, among others.

By forming the watershed council, Karboske said he is hoping to bring several individuals and entities together.

“We need to get the City of Ludington, Pere Marquette Township, the county, the state, property owners and people who use and appreciate this lake together in one room and talk about the future of this lake.”

Karboske said a lot of the pollution in PM Lake is the result of years of industrial abuse and a lack of understanding of the impact industries had on the lake. “Most of these issues are from generations before us, but now we are paying the price,” he said. “Can you imagine if we could clean this lake up what kind of impact it would have on our economy?”

The PM Lake Watershed Council is separate from the PM River Watershed Council. Karboske said the river council basically oversees sustainability from Pere Marquette Highway east into Lake County, but it doesn’t really address the issues of the lake itself, which is the mouth of the PM River. However, the input of the PM River Watershed Council is vital to the success of the lake council, he added.

“It’s time we develop a common plan to move forward,” he said. “We are losing a little bit of this lake everyday we wait. If we don’t address the pollution that is in this lake and get it under control, we will lose this lake.”

A Pere Marquette Lake Watershed Council Facebook page has been started and Karboske is planning to have a website soon. The council is still in the early stages but any help is welcomed, Karboske said. For more information, check out the Facebook page or call Ray at 231-425-8719.

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