A SAD Thank You

LAKE WEEDS.  This year they were bad and then they were good.  Again, this year the funds generated by the SAD (The Paw Paw Lake "Special Assessment District") were used to reduce the over-stimulated weed growth in Paw Paw Lake.  Literally, your tax dollars at work.

Over simplified, there are two different types of weeds in the lake, invasive and indigenous.  In Paw Paw Lake the most invasive weed is called Eurasian Milfoil.  Since the inception of the SAD, there has been a successful treatment effort to control this nasty weed.  Thank you, SAD.  A job well done.

This year the good weeds (indigenous) had an early spring accelerated growth, having an undesirable impact on recreational use of the lake.  The funds generated from the SAD were used to attack the problem.  A professional lake management company was authorized by the SAD committee to apply an additional treatment that reduced the weed problem significantly.  Again, thank you SAD.  Another job well done.

The SAD is our most important resource to fund the lake management efforts required to maintain our beautiful Paw Paw Lake and protect property values.  The SAD is authorized and administered by Coloma Township and Watervliet Township. When interacting with Township officials, please tell them how important the SAD is at maintaining and improving Paw Paw Lake.

Why are the weeds so healthy?

First, remember it's a lake, not a swimming pool.  Indigenous aquatic weeds are normal and essential for a healthy lake ecological system.  Invasive aquatic weeds are never good and can, over time, radically reduce the beauty, recreational use, and the property values of the lake community.

The weeds and algae in Paw Paw Lake, good and bad, have over stimulated growth because they are fed so well.  With what? Nutrients, fertilizer for aquatic plants.

On a scale of one to ten, ten being the worst, the nutrient level in Paw Paw Lake is at a nine.  There are many causes for the nutrient problems.  One cause....years of nutrient-rich bottom sediment build up.  (A very difficult problem to improve)  Another cause....nutrient run-off from lake front properties.  (Has been significantly reduced over the years).  Please remember, do not throw leaves or grass clippings into the lake.

Another cause....nutrient rich sediment entering the lake from the county drains.  This can be affected if the nutrient rich sediment load in the drain can be reduced before it reaches the lake.  The Paw Paw Lake Foundation and the SAD committee are both working on initiatives that will reduce the sediment entering the lake from the drains.
Foundation Funds Sediment Basin Cleanout

Tons of nutrient sediment is being removed from the new sediment basin, co-funded by the Foundation, recently installed in the Branch and Derby county drain.  That means it's working.  The nutrient rich sediment collected in the basin is not flowing into the lake.  The $11,000 sediment removal cost was funded by the Foundation and will be completed this year in November.

What's Next?

The Foundation recently funded another study of the Branch and Derby county drain to identify which farm properties had most significant sediment run off into the drain.  One farm property, north of Hagar Shore Road, was determined to be most significant.  The Foundation authorized and funded an aquatic engineering firm to recommend a solution to the sediment run off problem from the location.

The recommendation and preliminary design for soil drain modification has an estimated cost of $15,000 to $20,000.  The Foundation Board has tentatively approved the expenditure pending a final firm proposal. Remember, the Foundation is financially supported exclusively by donations.  Please help us if you can.


A full algae bloom is not pleasant, but it is normal.  A warm fall season with limited rain and wind makes it worse.  Like all aquatic plants, algae also feeds on nutrients.  If the nutrient level in the lake is reduced, the bloom will be less.  

Paw Paw Lake Foundation Newsletter
November 2019