A CONCERN AND A POSSIBLE FIX
There is county drain, called the Branch and Derby Drain (B&D),that used to be just a natural creek. Over time it’s been enhanced to carry the majority of the watershed from many areas north of Paw Paw Lake. The drain is just a very long ditch in the ground that is generally pretty narrow in most places. It starts miles north of Paw Paw Lake. Smaller drains (dirt ditches) from the west and east empty into it. The drain passes by farms and the rainwater run off from the fields flow into it. The rainwater runoff at some locations carries with it soil and fertilizer. The soil and fertilizer become sediment in the drain and travel miles until they empty into Paw Paw Lake. One estimate, after a recent heavy rainfall, measured over 100 tons of sediment entering the lake from the B&D drain in just two days. The next time we have a heavy rain, take a look at the plume of muck in the water on the north side of lake, between Elinee Bay and Sherwood Bay, by the channel next to the Lakeshore Condos.
The sediment and the nutrients dumping into Paw Paw Lake from the B&D Drain is a serious concern. There are two possible ways to reduce sediment flow from the drain into the lake. One is to install sediment basins along the drain (big deep holes that look like small ponds) to slow down the water flow and allow the sediment to fall to the bottom of the basin. (First one installed last year) The other is to reduce the sediment flow into the drain at the source. Both the SAD committee and the Foundation are working on ways to implement “fixes” that will reduce the sediment flow into Paw Paw Lake.
The identified primary sources for sediment erosion are at farm sites along the drain. The Paw Paw Lake Foundation is currently working on one of the possible fixes, reducing erosion at the sources, numerous farm locations.
The water clarity is the best that it has been in years. The invasive Eurasian Milfoil has been virtually eliminated. The Special Assessment District (SAD) committee has been able to fund an excellent lake management program facilitated by a professional aquatic consulting firm. The SAD tax assessment is reasonable and is a great investment for maintaining property values.
The lake is thousands of years old, created originally by glaciers, only God knows exactly when.
Trees and all types of thick vegetation surrounded the lake. The Paw Paw River ran through the lake. Clear natural streams flowed into the lake. The lake was clean, clear, and pristine.
Today it’s a completely different ecological environment. Now 800 plus beautiful homes and condos, with lawns, hard surface streets and driveways, and seawalls surround the lake.
There are an estimated 1000 plus watercraft on the lake and recreational boating explodes on summer weekends.
We changed the lake and we love it. Now we all must support the work that is being done on maintaining and improving its water quality to insure its health.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
Support the SAD by writing or talking to your Township Trustees and asking them to continue the SAD. Tell them how good the lake looks. They like to keep taxpayers happy.
Financially support the Paw Paw Lake Foundation.
Support the Paw Paw Lake Association by attending their meetings and getting involved in their activities.
UPDATE ON 2018 WALLEYE STOCKING PROGRAM
FOR PAW PAW LAKE
Technicians from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division harvested walleyes from the rearing ponds during the first two weeks of October 2018. Although the average size of the fish was up this year, the total number of fish available for stocking was much lower than last year. There was a total of 6,043 fish this year compared to over 15,000 in 2017. Due to the low yield this year, they were unable to stock walleyes in Paw Paw Lake. According to Brian Gunderman, Southern Lake Michigan Unit Manager, Paw Paw Lake will be near the top of the stocking list for 2019.