What Level Are You: Gold, Silver, Bronze or Starter?
Three different levels can be achieved: Gold, Silver, Bronze. If a property doesn't qualify for these a "Starter Level" will be indicated.The survey has an automated scoring system and the responses to the questions determine the recognition level. Practices such as maintaining high quality buffers, controlling erosion through lake friendly practices, maintaining woody structure and aquatic plants in the lake are weighted more heavily than questions such as picking up pet waste.
(Note: Please be aware that if a seawall is installed after December 31, 2018 this will negatively affect the score so much that any level above "Starter" will not be achieved and there will not be a certificate awarded. See more information on Seawalls below)
GOLD: A property at this level will have the most natural of conditions with high levels of natural vegetation with very little lawn. Buildings may be difficult to see from the lake. It will not have a seawall. Aquatic plants will be in the lake (where they would naturally exist), stormwater runoff is not directly getting to the lake or causing any erosion problems. Access to the lake has been minimized.
SILVER: A property at this level will have high levels of natural vegetation and will not have a seawall. Though there may be more lawn than at the Gold level. Stormwater runoff is not getting directly to the lake or causing erosion problems. Erosion at the shoreline is managed in a lake healthy manner. Access to the lake has been minimized.
BRONZE: A property at this level may or may not have a seawall. If there is a seawall best management practices are being used to reduce the negative impacts of seawalls. This property will have natural vegetation but may also have more lawn than a property at the silver or gold levels. Stormwater runoff has been minimized and is not causing erosion problems. Access to the lake has been minimized.
STARTER: Each property is different and some may not qualify for a certificate until some management practices are improved. If your property does not currently meet the criteria to become a MI Shoreland Steward you can take the survey again after improvements are made. Make sure you save your answers so you know which areas you can improve upon. Remember every lot size is different. Not every property will be able to qualify or reach the Gold level but everyone can do something to help your lake.
This figure illustrates the progression of a property from Starter to Gold level.