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Founding, Mission & Goals

The North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) was founded in 1980 at the third gathering of lake scientists in Portland, ME. Two previous gatherings in Madison, WI and Minneapolis, MN paved the way in 1978 and 1979.

The focus of NALMS is on lake management for a wide variety of uses, but to do this it is necessary to address land use and other issues on a watershed level. We get involved in land, streams, wetland and even estuaries in the course of our activities, as lakes are a logical endpoint in systems that incorporate all of these resource types. The focus is lakes, but the medium is water, and it defies governmental boundaries, human ownership, and even physical form. The management target of NALMS is lakes, but this involves activities in all landscape forms.

The primary function is educational, but on a variety of levels: scientists, academics, professional lake managers, politicians, legislators, policy makers, regulators, volunteer monitors, lake property owners, lake users, and anyone interested in lakes

The NALMS mission statement is simple and clear: The purpose of the Society is to forge partnerships among citizens, scientists, and professionals to foster the management and protection of lakes and reservoirs for today and tomorrow.

The implication of this mission is that we are not a society with a narrow focus on professionals, academic researchers, or any smaller interest group. NALMS is a melting pot in terms of membership, and welcomes anyone interested in lakes and lake management.

The implication of this mission is that we are not a society with a narrow focus on professionals, academic researchers, or any smaller interest group. NALMS is a melting pot in terms of membership, and welcomes anyone interested in lakes and lake management.

The specific goals of NALMS, as spelled out in the Constitution and Bylaws, are to:

  • Facilitate the exchange of information on the technical and administrative aspects of managing lakes and their watersheds.
  • Promote public awareness of lake ecosystems.
  • Encourage public support for national, state or provincial, and local programs promoting management of lakes and their watersheds.
  • Provide guidance to public and private agencies involved in or planning management activities for lakes and their watersheds.
  • Improve the professional status of all persons engaged in any aspect of managing lakes and their watersheds.
  • Identify needs and encourage research on lake ecology and watershed management.


NALMS produces two quarterly publications: LakeLine Magazine and the “Journal of Lake & Reservoir Management.” Each publication has its own editorial staff.LakeLine targets the general public and lake users and has historically been NALMS’ most visible public representation. All members receive a subscription toLakeLine. “Lake & Reservoir Management”, published by Taylor & Francis, is a journal of peer-reviewed scientific papers targeting a largely technical audience of academics and lake managers. This publication is less visible than LakeLine, but is considered a major source of practical information in the technical lake management community. Only members in certain higher cost membership categories receive a subscription to “Lake & Reservoir Management.”

Professional Certification Program

NALMS initiated a Certified Lake Manager program around 1990, and later added the Certified Lake Professional designation. The certification program has two primary purposes: 1) to designate individuals who meet the requirements as qualified in the areas of lake management (CLM) or lake management support (CLP); and 2) to require continuing education that keeps certified individuals current in the field and aware of important developments that affect lake management.


NALMS Annual International Symposium is the main NALMS event of the year, typically attracting an international collection of 500-600 attendees. The Annual Symposium. generates a lot of interest, produces material for NALMS’ publications, promotes the exchange of scientific information among scientists, lake managers, students, and citizens, and provides a rare opportunity for face to face contact and networking, as well as an opportunity to recognize excellence in the field of lake and reservoir management. The Annual Symposium is typically held in the fall of the year, and is sited based on a regional rotation system.

Membership Levels

The Board of Directors is composed of five officers (Past President, President, President-Elect, Secretary and Treasurer) that constitute the Executive Committee, and twelve directors representing geographic regions. There are nine regions that include just USA states, two that split Canada into eastern and western regions, and one region that includes southwestern USA states, Mexico, and any other international members

The Executive Committee and Board of Directors are both composed of volunteers are and are usually considered as one group, the Board, as each individual has a single vote at meetings. Executive Committee members are elected members of the Board, and conduct routine business with the approval and direction of the full Board of Directors. Officers and directors are elected by the membership, with officers elected by the entire membership and directors elected by the members within their assigned regions.