Past Winners of the Northwest Montana Lakes Network (NMLN) Award

2020 Jim & Ann Grant, Lynn Maas
NMLN Volunteer
Lake Mary Ronan

Jim and Ann Grant and Lynn Maas have been a part of The Friends of Lake Mary Ronan since its inception. Jim and Ann began collecting water quality samples for the Northwest Montana Lakes Network (NMLN) in 2010. Through the Friends of Lake Mary Ronan, Lynn, Jim and Ann also took the initiative to expand their sampling work and requested assistance from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Volunteer Monitoring Lab Analysis Support Program. The group received funding for a short term, intensified lake and stream sampling plan to identify nutrient sources and ultimately help reduce the likelihood of algae blooms. They collect monthly water samples from April through October to evaluate water quality of Lake Mary Ronan and its inlet and outlet streams to estimate the relative contribution of pollution sources in the watershed. This effort will lead to the production of a Watershed Restoration Plan to improve overall water quality. Their dedication, teamwork, initiative and resourcefulness will help protect Mary Ronan for years to come.

2019 Barb Hvizdak
NWMTLVMN Volunteer
Sophie Lake

Barb has been a dedicated lake volunteer collecting information on Sophie Lake for the NWMTLVMN since 2012. She and her husband Ron live full time on Sophie Lake, where she loyally heads out two or three times a month from as early as March to as late as November to monitor the lake’s water quality and keep an eye out for aquatic invasive species. Barb has submitted one hundred and nineteen water quality reports in the last eight years – the highest sampling count of any volunteer in the program’s history. In 2015, she sampled seventeen times in a single season. In addition to her dedication to Sophie Lake, Barb enjoys serving on the Lincoln County Library board and quilting.

2018 Lauren Shotnik
NWMTLVMN Volunteer
Little Bitterroot Lake

The 2018 Volunteer Service Award honored Lauren Shotnik, a dedicated lake volunteer for seven seasons. She and her husband live full time on Little Bitterroot Lake where they loyally head out in their boat two or three times a month from April through October. She has submitted over seventy water quality reports in the last seven years. She is also involved with the Little Bitterroot Lake Association’s water quality program. According to Dan Handlin, president of the association, “There is no better defender of Little Bitterroot Lake than Lauren!” She participates in their Lake Education & Awareness Program (LEAP), which is a collaborative effort between the Marion School District, Little Bitterroot Lake Association, and Water & Environmental Technologies that includes outreach and education, prevention, and early detection monitoring for aquatic invasive plants and mussels.

2017 Carol Blake
NWMTLVMN Volunteer
Tetrault Lake

Carol Blake has been monitoring Tetrault Lake in Eureka for ten years.  As often as possible Carol jumps in her kayak, paddles out to the study site and records the health of what she describes as “our precious body of water.”
“With all the challenges our water sources face these days it is paramount to remain vigilant in regards to pollutants and invasive species,” noted Blake in a recent interview.  “It feels good to play some small part in the wonderful program the Whitefish Lake Institute designed to keep tabs on many bodies of water in Lincoln, Lake and Flathead Counties. I am profoundly grateful for all their hard work.”

2017 Jim Crawford
NWMTLVMN Volunteer
Jette Lake

Water quality monitoring in Jette Lake was in place when Jim moved to Polson in 1991. At that time the Flathead Lake Biological Station led the program and they were looking for a resident to check water clarity, temperature and general conditions on a regular basis.“Since I had just retired after 35 years in the corporate world, I volunteered and have been ‘the lake guy’ for the past 25 years,” explained Crawford.  “I’ve proudly watched our lake and surrounding grounds become a recreational jewel, especially after Whitefish Lake Institute took over monitoring and helped us formulate a plan to decrease noxious elements that were in the lake.”

According to Jim, Jette’s clean, clear water and outstanding swimming, boating and fishing for trout and bass are now a primary reason people move to the private subdivision.

2017 Frank Schroeter
NWMTLVMN Volunteer
Flathead Lake

Now in his 24th year as a NWMTLVMN volunteer, Frank Schroeter retired from a 34-year career as a civil engineer with Los Angeles County Road Department (Public Works) in 1990 and moved to Somers, Montana. Schroeter believes that maintaining a high degree of lake water quality and clarity enhances the value of properties in the vicinity of Flathead Lake, including his own. 

“So I heeded the 1993 invitation of the Flathead Basin Commission’s Mark Holston to volunteers who would be willing to spend a few hours a month measuring and reporting the clarity and temperature of a lake in the area,” according to Schroeter. “I am pleased to play a small part in collecting and reporting data that is useful in maintaining a continuous record of water quality in the Flathead, Schroeter notes.