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LMEF/LMEC Its History & Its Volunteers

LMEF/LMEC was founded under the original name of The Lake Management Committee in February of 1981 by action taken at a Culver Plan Commission meeting.   Its first committee chairman was John Babcock, who’s words (as reprinted in part) from the original “First Year Report” issued April, 1982 follow:

April 1982 – First Year Report of the Lake Management Committee:  “Maxinkuckee is an Indian word for Sparkling Water.  Yet because of the abusive and neglectful ways in which Maxinkuckee has been treated, it is on the edge of becoming a dying lake.  Once it slips past that edge, the process is virtually out of control without radical and extremely expensive efforts.

Prudent and specific means must be developed to ensure that future generations who “come to the lake” can enjoy a clear, beautiful, and non-congested natural resource.  The aging and dying process of our lake has been accelerating over the past 5 years.  Unless we act now with sincerity and determination, our children will soon know a lake that is quite different from the one today.  Weeds and pollution will about…..    Others have waited too long to get seriously involved in preserving the beauty and cleanliness of their greatest natural resource.  We cannot afford to hesitate longer.

We must act now to create a commission, a task force, if you will, with permanent status for management of Lake Maxinkuckee….”

The Lake Management Committee started with an effort to choose the initial committee members so that the broadest representation and participation would be possible.  Those individuals who served with Mr. Babcock that first year were:  Mr. David Gaskill*, Mr. Richard Gunder, Dr. Camille Parker, Mr. Alden Whitney, and Mr. Fred Wurster.  Helping those on the committee in those early days were: Mr. B.B. Culver, Jr., (1982) Academy Board Chairman, Mr. Jim Henderson*, (1982) Academy Board President,  Mr. Ralph Manuel, (1982) Academy Superintendent, Mr. Fred Adams, (1982) State Exchange Bank president, Ms. Ardeth Burkhart, Mr. Tom Sams*, Mr. Bill Welsh, Mr. Jim Rocap, and Mr. Nelson Becker* plus many others.  *Still associated with the Lake Maxinkuckee community today.

After the meeting took place where Mr. Babcock presented his findings, the Lake Management Committee was fully adopted by the community.


Today, this all volunteer group still exists. The governing board is The Lake Maxinkuckee Environmental Fund, Inc.  (LMEF) – an eight member Board of Directors who oversee the fund raising efforts, manages those funds, and gives final approval to the environmental efforts on an annual basis.  These members serve terms of three years each and meet at least four times per year.  They are:

Merrit Becker, President   -   Chris Kline, Vice President   –   Dave Haist, Treasurer    

Allen Chesser, Council Chair   –  Jim Sturman   -   Jerry Semler   

 Litt Clark   -   Abbe Starr   -   Mark Levett

The second group is the ten member Lake Maxinkuckee Environmental Council (LMEC) whose members decide the annual environmental efforts presented to the board, and carry out those projects when approved.  This group is the one that represents the community as a whole, they are on the front lines of the protection efforts focused on Lake Maxinkuckee.  Following are their names and their affiliation to the community and the council:

 Allen Chesser, Council Chair, Ag. representative   –   Dan Osborn, Ag. representative    

Bill Rhodes, Town representative   –   Ruth Tamminga, Town/Tree Commission representative  

   -  Dave Blalock, Culver Academies representative    -    Rebecca Sam, PHD, Culver Academies representative

Gary Shaffer, Lake Community representative   -   John Bernero, Lake Community representative

Kyle Sefchek,  At-Large representative   -   Dan Baughman, Culver Academies emeritus/At-Large representative

Karen Shuman, Superintendent of Schools, Culver Community Schools, Town representative

These volunteers do not serve any term, but by majority agreement.  They meet monthly, the third Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the LMEC office located at 116 N. Main Street, Culver.
All of the volunteer positions with both groups are very sought-after within the community.

Kathy Clark serves as the current Executive Director, hired by the LMEF to serve as their secretary and to help facilitate, and participate in, the work of the LMEC.

This position has only been occupied by three people from 1982 to 2019.  The first LMEC executive director was Karen Dehne and the second was Tina Hissong.

Past officers can also serve as Advisors to the Board.  The people currently serving in that capacity are:

Marabeth Levett   -   Mary Anna Swennumson   –   Carol Zeglis 



Environmental Research

Click here Bathymetric Map

Water quality can be affected by many things that happen within a watershed.  Buildings (impervious surfaces), trees (rain canopy), animals (waste materials, invasive types, overcrowding), plants (weed control, invasive species, chemicals), birds (protecting rookeries and nests to promote healthy “bug catchers” – yes, we’re including bats in this category), bugs (promoting the good – keeping out the bad), dumping/littering/chemical pollution (in the lake, wetlands, and the watershed itself), erosion (from every source -  storm water, farming, building), air quality (acid rain), air and ground temperatures (tracking all types of weather changes which affect water), and leaking septic systems to name a few. The following are links to some historical research done on our lake as well as some of the LMEC projects that we hope will allow us to “correct” or at least curtail some of the bad things that happen to this community’s greatest treasurer, the lake.  Also posted here are information pieces that stem from frequently asked questions.

Lake Maxinkuckee Survey Results Final    This herpetofauna survey was done by students from Purdue who are also members of the national Wildlife Society.  While we feel it may have missed a few species due to weather conditions (unusually cold spring) and some conditions (day only), it captures many of the species of frogs we have at Lake Max.  We also have Massasauga Rattlesnakes in our area as they have been sighted in the last three years in as many locations.  These small snakes have recently been added to the endangered watch list by EPA.

2016 Lake Maxinkuckee Septic Leachate Study    This study duplicates our 1993 Leachate Study and will be included in our 2016 Update of our Watershed Management Plan

Our thanks to IDNR personnel who undertook this all-encompassing report.  2014 Wildlife Science Annual Report

2015 FINAL REPORT – USGS Lakebed Study  This is the complete, two year research study into what our lakebed sediment can tell us – about the future.  Enjoy!

Historical Analysis of the Cultural Eutrophication of Lake Maxinkuckee IN    –  Thomas L. Crisman, 1984

2009 Kline Assessment Report – JFNew

2007 Lake Maxinkuckee Fish Mgmt Rpt IDNR

Bathymetric Map Lake Max 1900 – Blatchely map WATERSHED MAP graphic

Tier II Weed Map of Lake Max – Dec. 2012

THE LAKE MAXINKUCKEE WATERSHED MANAGEMENT PLAN, originally approved and funded by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, is the working guide for the LMEC. (You can find this plan in its entirety at the center tab on the homepage.)    The original document is now ten years old, with significant testing data as old as twelve years.    For that reason we undertook a complete update of the priorities/goals sections and also re-sampling the lake and all its tributaries for total phosphorus, soluble reactive phosphorus, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, nitrate-nitrogen, ammonia-nitrogen, chlorophyll a, transparency, and plankton.  Ninety percent of the project was funded by the Ralph C. Vonnegut, Jr. Family Foundation which is administered by the Marshall County Community Foundation.  Here is a link to that project summary published in one of our newsletters.   LMEC Fall Newsletter – test results   The completed update of our 2006 WMP will be available in late 2016 after it has been submitted to IDEM for their approvals.

Erosion Control Ordinance – 2007

FOAM ON THE LAKE  As with most liquids, water molecules are normally attracted to each other.  This attraction creates tension at the surface of the water, often referred to as a thing “skin,” which allows some insects to glide across it.  When leaves, twigs or other organic substances fall into the water and begin decaying, they release compounds known as surfacants.  This interaction breaks the surface tension, which in turn allows air to more easily mix with water and creates bubbles.  These bubbles congregate as natural foam.  However, not all foam is natural.  Certain man-made products, including detergents, can cause foam that is similar in appearance, but may be harmful to fish and other aquatic life.  Natural foam can occur on a windy day and can occur anytime of year.  Foam is usually harmless, but sometimes excess foam may be caused by too much phosphorus in the water.  Excess phosphorous can result in nuisance algae blooms, fish kills due to low dissolved oxygen from decomposition processes, and irregularities with the water’s taste and odor.

Natural foam usually appears as light tan or brown in color, but may be white; it smells earthy, fishy or has fresh cut grass odor; can occur over large areas and accumulate in large amounts, especially on windward shores, in coves and eddies, and dissipates fairly quickly, except when agitated (as in high wind conditions).  Unnatural foam from human activity usually appears white in color and gives off a fragrant, perfumed or soapy odor; and usually occurs over small area, localized near source of discharge.  Below is a photo of natural foam at the lake outlet during a very windy day.

MOSQUITO ControlMosquito larva control

DISEASES INVOLVING SEWAGEIndiana Department of Health

LOCAL E-COLI ISSUE SOLVED 2009 E coli Sampling Report – First Presented to County Health Dept.    Lake Maxinkuckee Project BoH Presentation – County Health Department  Lake Maxinkuckee Summary BOH 9-21-10 Final Report

DROUGHT DATA LINKS FROM 2012 FOR OUR AREA   aquaifer map plus text

USGS Lake Level records 1/2011 to 11/2012    USGS Lake Levels 11/2012 – 12/2012   topsoil-statewide-statistics-0701

PURDUE TEMPERATURE STUDY,  BACKGROUND DATA   2008 Power Point Explaining Computer Modeling and Initial Project Scope    State Geologist’s 25th annual report – excerpts re temp study 1900




LMEC vol 22 iss 3   July/August newsletter 2016

LMEC vol 22 iss 2    May/June newsletter 2016

vol 21 iss 2 final    Summer 2015 LMEC newsletter

LMEC vol 21 iss 3    October 2015 LMEC newsletter

LMEC November/December Vol 20 Issue 4

This issue has more photographs from local photo-pros (in our minds anyway!) of the lake and the life around it as well as our 2015 projects with some dates for everyone to put in their calendars!  Everyone enjoy your Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays – we’ll see you in the New Year!

LMEC newsletter vol 20 issue 3

Our September/October issue is loaded with fun things and a couple serious legislative issues you may be interested in.  Also included in this issue is a complete list of things you should be aware of if you live on or near a lake.  It is an insert in this issue and can be hung on your note board or kept on a desk at home to review should you have any questions on the right things, or wrong things, to do for your lake.

July 2014 edition

Jerry Semler is the newest LMEF Board member.

USGS project almost complete, research papers are currently undergoing peer review.

Registration form for the THIRD ANNUAL CANOE/KAYAK/SUP POKER RUN included in this issue. Print it, fill it out, then send it in with your $10 entry fee!

December 2013 edition

Our budget comparison:  1991 to 2012, some interesting points.

September 2013

Don’t rake leaves into Lake Maxinkuckee   –   LMEC has six week exhibit at the Museum   –   USGS update

June 2013

USGS Core Sampling project  - Registration information for Canoe/Kayak/SUP Poker Run – Other LMEC projects for 2013

November 2012 edition

Loon Rescue attempted   –   Walleye Yearlings Delivered by DNR   –   Houghton Lake Visit   –   Avian Study Completed   –   Drought Update

August 2012 edition

Electrofishing with DNR   –   Blue-Green Algae Report from Lakes in Marshall County   –   Mystic Hills Sediment Trap Installed   –   Serious Drought

June 2012 edition

Eurasian Watermilfoil Treated   –   First Annual Canoe, Kayak & SUP Poker Run!   –   Wind Farm Update   –   Culver Academies Planting Project

November 2011 edition

Award for Richard Ford, Founding Member of LMEF/LMEC   –   Test Results from Weed Mapping and Water Testing

September 2011 edition

LMEC weighs in on Industrial Wind Farm   –   Weeds, Weeds, and More Weeds   –   A Summer’s Worth of Water Testing

June 2011 edition

LMEF Board Welcomes Marabeth Levett   –   2011 Projects Outlined

November 2010 edition

2010 Projects Reviewed

August 2010 edition

Naub the Split-Rock Bass, a wonderful old story that takes place on Lake Maxinkuckee

June 2010 edition

2010 Projects Outlined  -  Findings on Maxinkuckee Village Offered  -  Lake Foam

November 2009 edition

PUD Planned Next to Kline Wetland!

September 2009 edition

A Change of the Board – Pam Buxton Retiring as President   –   Recycle, Recycle, Recycle   –   Invasive Species Council Formed in Indianapolis

July 2009 edition

Duckweed, a Plant Not Algae   –   Curtiss Ditch Project   –   Kline Wetlands Mapping   –   Lake Maxinkuckee’s Sub-watersheds

November 2008 edition

The Yellow Submarine, from Purdue!   –   Kline Wetland Revisited   –   IDNR’s Head Rob Carter Visits Lake Maxinkuckee

July 2008 edition

Hydrilla & Lake Manitou   –   Lakescaping Workshop a Success   –   Pristine Waters of Lake Maxinkuckee, a report from IDEM

May 2008 edition

News from the Kline   –   Damage to Wilson Ditch Project   –   2008 Project List   –   Lake Maxinkuckee Volunteer Monitoring Program Against Hydrilla