Inland Lake Levels
Part 307 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, (Act 451 of 1994), provides for the determination, establishment, and maintenance of the normal height and level of inland lakes in Michigan.
A petition signed by 2/3 of the freeholders (property owners) owning lands abutting the lake must be submitted to the Allegan County Board of Commissioners in order to initiate proceedings to establishlake level. If the County Board, based on a preliminary study, finds it expedient to establish a normal lake level, the Circuit Court is petitioned for the determination of the normal level and for establishing a special assessment district.
The County Board of Commissioners delegates administrative duties to the Drain Commissioner to oversee lake level projects. Once Circuit Court determines the normal lake level, it is the responsibility of the Drain Commissioner to maintain the lake level, determine the apportionment of costs incurred, and assess the lake level district to recover such costs.
In Allegan County, there are seven established lake levels: Base Line Lake, Dumont Lake, Miner Lake, Monterey Lake, Osterhout Lake, Pine Creek Lake, and Pine Lake with Barry County.
Part 307 also requires inspection every three years of all lake level control structures on inland lakes that have normal levels established under this Act. A licensed professional engineer must do this inspection and inspection results must be submitted to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
In 2003, the Baseline Lake Control Structure was inspected. In 2003, two other lake levels had activity. The Miner Lake Level Control District was assessed to recover costs of surveying and to collect for future maintenance and inspections. A request was received to study the feasibility of installing a catwalk on the Pine Creek Lake Level structure to facilitate operation and maintenance activities
Inland Lake Improvements
Part 309 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, (Act 451 of 1994), provides for the improvement of certain inland lakes; authorizes the dredging and removal of undesirable materials from lakes; and authorizes the raising of money by taxation and special assessment to cover improvement costs.
Under Part 309, a local unit of government, by motion or by petition of 2/3 of the property owners abutting the lake, may establish a lake improvement board. By statute, the lake board consists of five (5) members:
- A member of the County Board of Commissioners
- A member of the Lake Association
- The County Drain Commissioner
- A township/city representative
- A representative from the Department of Environmental Quality
The lake board is charged with determining the scope of the improvement project and establishing a special assessment district of all parcels of land and local units, which will be benefited by the improvement of the lake. A registered professional engineer is retained to prepare an engineering feasibility report, an economic study report, an estimate of cost and probable assessments.
In Allegan County, lake improvement boards have been established primarily for aquatic plant control and abatement of water quality issues.
Allegan County has four established lake improvement boards: Hutchins Lake, Lower Scott Lake, Miner Lake, and Gun Lake, which is an intercounty project shared with Barry County.