The Drain restoration work has started where the drain enters the lake near the Lake Point Condos. The drain is located on the north side of the lake, between Eleene Bay and Sherwood Bay. The drain starts north of Covert and ends, near the lake, on the north side of Paw Paw Lake Road. The drain water flows under the road and enters the lake on the south side of the road, in a channel, where boats are mored for the condo residence. As shown in this satellite image from last summer, Paw Paw Lake was receiving a significant inflow of dirty water from the Branch & Derby Drain. The dirty water contains nutrients and organic material that feed aquatic plant growth and the green algae uses it as plant food causing a bloom.

The Paw Paw Lake Foundation has been working with the Berrien County & VanBuren County Drain Commissioners, the Michigan DEQ, and Coloma and Watervliet Townships to find ways to improve the water quality input from the Branch & Derby Drain into Paw Paw Lake.

Now that the Special Assessment Districts have been approved, the SONAR treatment will take care of the Eurasian Milfoil problem. The Aeration trial will reduce some of the phosphorus in the lake, but the high nutrient levels in the lake will continue to over stimulate the aquatic plants, including the algae.

Reducing the sediments and nutrients entering the lake from the Branch & Derby Drain will further improve the overall quality of the water in Paw Paw Lake. It’s a longer term fix, but an important one.

The $35,000 Drain Improvement study funded by the Foundation and the Association (PPLF and PPLA) has been completed. It is currently under review by all organizations involved. 
The overall goal is to reduce nutrient rich sediments in the drain water from entering the lake in several phases.

Phase One involves restoring the drain. Cleaning will slow the overall velocity of the flow which will reduce erosion and sediments. This phase will also include restoring the damaged banks currently causing major erosion and installing multiple small sediment basins.
Phase one has started.  

Future phases will include enlarging the existing sediment basins to increase their effectiveness and installing a media filter to trap smaller sediment particles. 

Work starts on Branch & Derby Drain in 2012
Click here for pictures of drain restoration
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 The bad news. Sometimes it has to be about the money. Restoring the drain and reducing the nutrient rich sediments flowing into Paw Paw Lake will cost big bucks. The total project is estimated at approximately $250,000.

The good news!!! This project will NOT require another assessment of any type.

We have partners willing to share some of the cost. Both Coloma and Watervliet Townships have committed funds. The Foundation and the Association are expected to approve more funding at their respective Board meetings this spring. The Foundation is also expected to fund the cost of a professional grant writer who will apply for grant funding. The Drain Commissioners are also using available funds to administer the drain restoration. And we have you, the ultimate beneficiaries of improved water quality in Paw Paw Lake.

More good news! At this time, it appears that Phase One will be be completed in 2012 using funding committed from the Townships, the Foundation and the Association. 
Future phases can be completed over time as additional funding becomes available from grants and donations. 

As we finalize the details for the next phases, we’ll let you know how you can help.

Don’t forget. No new assessments for this project.