PPLF Background

The PPLF was organized about 25 years ago. The primary focus of the PPLF is to improve the water quality of Paw Paw Lake. The PPLF is funded 100% by donations and is administered by a volunteer Board of Directors. Most of the Board members own property on the lake and have a diverse level of business and lake management experience.

Why Support the SAD/SAPAC and the PPLF?

A special assessment district (SAD) was established by the boards of the Coloma and Watervliet Townships in 2011 to raise funds for the Paw Paw Lake Restoration Project. The Special Assessment Project Advisory Committee (SAPAC) oversees analyses of the issues. The revenue generated from the SAD tax each year is used to address the issues. The SAPAC’s primary focus is weed control. Because of the high nutrient level in the lake, weeds grow at an accelerated pace requiring a yearly sophisticated treatment program. In reality, there is no one simple “fix” to improve water quality. It requires a variety of large and small initiatives, each with an impact.

The PPLF focuses on smaller targeted projects that directly effect the water quality of the lake. The approach allows the PPLF, with its relatively limited funding, to “chip away” at problems that are having an adverse effect on water quality. Most recently, the PPLF has been working on reducing sediment from one Berrien County drain that inputs large volumes of nutrients into the lake.

What has the PPLF been doing to reduce the nutrient level in the County drain?

The nutrient flow into the lake is caused by nutrient-rich sediment in the drain water. Reducing the sediment in the drain water results in less nutrient-rich sediment entering the lake. Two projects have recently been completed: a new sediment basin in the drain and a new sediment barrier on a large upstream farm property.

Have the PPLF drain projects been effective?

Impact of the PPLF initiatives are confirmed. As an example, on the sediment basin, we can test for the sediment level in the drain water before it enters the sediment basin and after it leaves the sediment basin. Our tests confirm that the sediment load in the drain water has been reduced, due to the effectiveness of the sediment basin.

On the sediment barrier that was recently installed, the goal is to stop a large sediment runoff from the farm property into the drain. Prior to the barrier construction, the runoff from the farm property added significant nutrient-rich sediment into the drain water. After the barrier construction, we observed the sediments in the drain water before it passed the farm property and after it passed the farm property. The good news was that the barrier worked. The sediment dump from the farm property had been significantly reduced.

What projects are next for the PPLF?

A problem that needs continued focus is the high nutrient level in the lake, because it is the primary cause of accelerated weed and algae growth.

One of the recent project the PPLF has started work on is identifying and cleaning sludge and nutrient-rich sediment from storm sewers that drain into the lake. Other projects focusing on nutrient flow into the lake are also under review.

PPLF initiatives are always dependent on available funding. And, funding comes exclusively from donations. Every year the PPLF Board of Directors evaluates available funding and determines which projects will be most beneficial.


The Foundation funding is totally reliant on donations. The PPLF is a 501 (c)(3) organization, so donations are tax deductible under IRS provisions. Help us improve the water quality of Paw Paw Lake. Please donate, if you can, to PPLF, P.O. Box 341, Watervliet, MI 49098. Thank you.