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River levels rise by court order

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As the fall season in Michigan approaches each year, many local lakes levels are lowered, dumping water into the rivers. The Oakland County Drain Commissioner lowers the lake volumes from October 1 to May 15th every year by a court order. While fall kayaking and canoeing can be a great time of year to paddle, please be advised the rivers probably have a bit more current and volume to them as the October draw down takes place. Michigan State law, The Drain Code--Act 40 of 1956, gives the County Water Resources Commissioner powers and responsibilities to govern legally established drainage systems within the county.

Powerboaters are a powerful lobby as they own lakefront property, docks, expensive boats and have a deep vested interest in protecting their investments all year long. Hopefully, as more communities begin to see the value of all Blue Infrastructure, more attention will be become focused to the importance of river recreation.

Paddlesports has continued to grow by leaps and bounds. The amount of money spent on kayak and canoe purchases and the associated gear is phenomenal across Michigan. Rivers are water trails – just like a foot path, bicycle path, snowmobile path, etc. They are a resource, similar to a local park with grassy open areas with swings, slides and playgrounds. People often choose to pay a premium to live near a clean navigable river.

Cass Lake Court Ordered Level Report -

Cemetery and Dollar Lakes Court Ordered Level Report -

Crystal Lake Court Ordered Level Report -

Greens Lake Court Ordered Level Report -

Lester Lake Court Ordered Level Report -

Loon Lake Court Ordered Level Report -

Maceday and Lotus Lakes Court Ordered Level Report -

Mohawk and Wormer Lakes Court Ordered Level Report -

Oakland and Woodhull Lakes Court Ordered Level Report -

Orchard Lake Court Ordered Level Report -

School House Lake Court Ordered Level Report -

Silver Lake Court Ordered Level Report -

Sylvan, Otter, and Dawson Mill Lakes Court Ordered Level Report -

Upper Silver Lake Court Ordered Level Report -

Van Norman Lake Court Ordered Level Report -

Watkins Lake Court Ordered Level Report -

Williams Lake Court Ordered Level Report -


  • Jeff McWilliams 3 years ago

    Any idea why they do this? Is there some advantage to having lower lake levels between October and May?

  • Profile picture of Willi Gutmann
    Willi Gutmann 3 years ago

    Basically people living on the lakes want low water for ease of dismantling floating docks, reduce issues with wind blown ice, erosion from spring storms, removal of irrigation pumps for landscaping usage, etc. Much of it applies to ease set-up of it all again in the spring time as well.

  • Gary Carlson, 2 years ago

    Also in Genesee County, Fenton Township; on the Shiawassee River, the chain of lakes (Ponemah, Squaw & Tupper) have the same Court Ordered seasonal water level flucuations. The 3 lakes water high level [summer normal] is 870 feet above sea level, and the mean level [winter normal] is 869 feet above sea level. These legal levels are Established as/per Genesee County Circuit Court Order NO. 986 of Sept 10, 1963. These levels are maintained by the Linden Millpond dam operated by the Genesee County Drain Commission. The reason for the 1 foot draw-down of the lakes water level in the fall is to is to minimize ice damage to seawalls, and to minimize spring flooding from snow & ice melt-off and from spring rains. Contact the Genesee County Drain Commission for further information.



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