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Great Lakes Bottomland Conveyances

Great Lakes Coordination - Lake Huron - Mackinac Island Fort Mackinac Scenic
Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Great Lakes Bottomland Conveyances


Chris Antieau


The State of Michigan holds the bottomlands of the Great Lakes below the ordinary high-water mark in trust for use and enjoyment by all its citizens. Through the submerged lands programs, the state manages and protects this public resource.

A Conveyance from EGLE is required for the occupation and use of the state owned, public trust bottomlands of the Great Lakes under the authority of Part 325, Great Lakes Submerged Lands, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended (NREPA) and the Administrative Rules of Part 325. The law requires EGLE to review proposed uses and only approve those that will not impair or substantially affect the public use of those bottomlands.

  • Frequently Asked Questions about Bottomlands Conveyances (coming soon)

Begin the Conveyance Process


What requires a conveyance?

Conveyances are required for all public and private uses and occupations on and over the Great Lakes Bottomlands except for those exempted by statute or rule. All projects that require a conveyance also require a Part 325 construction permit. You will be notified when a conveyance is required when you a submit a permit application.

Conveyances are issued as deeds, leases, or agreements. Common examples of conveyances include deeds for historically filled lots, leases for marinas, and agreements for commercial port facilities. Other common project types include industrial harbors and docks, yacht/boat clubs, private boat harbors, or other significant private uses.

Apply for a conveyance

Applications for conveyances are submitted through MiEnviro Portal. Once a conveyance application is received, EGLE staff will review the application, visit the project site, and assess the proposed conveyances impact on the public trust.

How to Start a New Application for Conveyance

Instructions on how to fill out a Bottomlands Conveyance Application

Along with the application form, a complete conveyance application must include all of the following:

  • $50 application fee
  • Proof of ownership of the adjacent upland property.  Acceptable examples include a warranty deed or a 20-year tax history to accompany either title insurance policy or legal title opinion written by a registered attorney.
  • Approval from the Local Unit of Government for the proposed conveyance.
  • A survey and legal description of the proposed conveyance area prepared and signed or sealed by a registered, professional surveyor.
Submit your permit application in MiEnviro Portal
Event Schedule

Conveyance Processing

Some project may require additional information for EGLE review. EGLE staff will communicate to you when additional information is needed. A conveyance cannot be approved until a Part 325 construction permit has been approved, but the two are reviewed concurrently.

The conveyance process can take up to and in some cases over a year. Once a conveyance application is administratively complete, EGLE staff will public notice the application for 20 days. A hearing may be held if requested during the public notice. Following the public notice, EGLE staff may conduct a site inspection. Once it has been determined that a conveyance can be approved, EGLE will conduct an appraisal to determine any applicable payments or annual fees for use of the bottomlands. Conveyances may require an annual fee, a one-time payment, or a combination of the two. Fees will vary from site to site based on the specific uses being proposed and the size and type of conveyance.

Once the proposed conveyance is approved by both EGLE and the State Administrative Board, EGLE will send you via mail the conveyance for signature and notarization. After any required one-time fees or annual fees are paid, EGLE will sign and notarize the conveyance and send it to your county to be recorded. 

Transfer a Conveyance

When the upland property abutting a bottomlands conveyance is sold, the new upland property owner is required to request a transfer or assignment of the existing conveyance if they wish to continue the bottomlands occupation or uses. The application for assignment of a bottomlands conveyance must be completed in MiEnviro Portal. A complete application for an assignment of a conveyance includes the following:

  •   A Complete Application Form.
  •   Proof of Ownership of the Upland Property.
Once the assignment of the conveyance is completed, the new owner will assume responsibility for all conditions and terms of the conveyance including any annual fees.