Inland Lakes & Streams

  • Lake PictureProtecting Michigan's Inland Lakes and StreamsMichigan has over 36,000 miles of streams, and more than 11,000 lakes and ponds. These precious water resources and the benefits they provide are protected by several state laws from impairment due to pollution, physical alterations and nuisance aquatic species. The State's water resources are monitored by the Department of Environmental Quality and partnering organizations to determine the water quality, the quantity and quality of aquatic habitat, the health of aquatic communities, and compliance with state laws.

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Although aquatic plants are a natural component of every aquatic ecosystem, excessive plant growth can sometimes be a nuisance for riparian property owners and other lake users. A few species of aquatic plants, such as Eurasian watermilfoil, are not native to the Great Lakes region and can significantly alter the aquatic ecosystem if left unchecked. Permits are required to chemically control nuisance aquatic plants, algae, and swimmer's itch. Program staff regulate the use of pesticides through the permit process. Each application for a permit must undergo a thorough review to assess the environmental impact to the waterbody, and any human health and safety issues. Program staff also review new chemical products proposed for use in Michigan waters, survey Michigan lakes to determine the composition of the native plant community and any presence of exotic plant species, and seek to educate riparian property owners about the management of aquatic plants and a variety of related lake management issues.
The Inland Lakes and Streams Program is responsible for the protection of the natural resources and the public trust waters of the inland lakes and streams of the state. The program oversees activities including dredging, filling, constructing or placement of a structure on bottomlands, constructing or operating a marina, interfering with natural flow of water or connecting a ditch or canal to an inland lake or stream.
Whether or not an activity or an ongoing use is considered a marina requiring a construction permit under Part 301 Inland Lakes and Streams of the NREPA, depends on the nature of the use. In addition to commercial businesses that provide docking or mooring as part of their services, the DEQ maintains that docking or mooring from riparian properties such as outlots, trailer parks, condominium and apartment developments, yacht clubs, and other commonly owned or controlled points of access function as and meet the definition of a marina under Part 301.
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