Michigan has several hundred lakes with legally-established lake levels. On many of these lakes, the Drain Commissioner is responsible for maintaining the legal (normal) lake level. Legal Lake levels in Michigan are established under provisions of Part 307, Inland Lake levels, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA), PA 451 of 1994, as amended (MCL 324.30701 – 324.30722). The Drain Commissioner is usually designated as the delegated authority required to perform the duties required under the Act, which includes the operation and maintenance of water control structures for maintaining a Court ordered lake level. Normal level is defined in Section 324.30701(h) of the Act and means:
The level or levels of the water of an inland lake that provide the most benefit to the public; that best protect the public health, safety, and welfare; that best preserve the natural resources of the state; and that best preserve and protect the value of property around the lake. A normal level shall be measured and described as an elevation based on national geodetic vertical datum.
Under the Act, special assessments may be levied against privately-owned parcels, political subdivisions of the State, and State-owned lands under the control of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). Special assessments districts include those properties that directly benefit from the establishment and maintenance of a normal lake level. In most cases, it will include all properties abutting the lake and back lot properties with deeded or dedicated lake access.
Current court ordered lake levels In Oceana County include Lake Holiday, Silver Lake, and McLaren Lake.