Lake & River Information

Information on the beatuiful lake and river that is in Paw Paw. Information you can find here will include flood plane management, information on Wildlife that lives in and around the area, drains reports, and information about erosion. Click on the aerial photos to see a bigger picture. Click the Title for the full article.


Phillips Environmental Consulting Services, Inc. was retained by the Village of Paw Paw to prepare a Feasibility Analysis to evaluate potential treatment and disposal options for sediments which have collected within Briggs Pond (formerly known as Ismond Pond) located in the Village of Paw Paw. Similar sediments have washed through to Maple Lake and have collected particularly in the south basin area of the lake. Finding of this study likely would apply to Maple Lake Sediments as well. The report and all of its data has been broken into manageable Adobe pdf file sizes which should be easily viewed by all. To view the complete report and all its appendices, click the title or click here.

The Village of Paw Paw engaged Lakeshore Environmental, Inc. to study and develop a management plan for Maple Lake. The study considered the sediment and nutrient loading which impacts the depth of the Lake as well as weed and algal growth. The study also considered best watershed and lake management practices which, if applied properly, are designed to return the lake to its prior aesthetic and recreational value as well as help maintain property values around the lake. To view a copy of this report, click the title or click here.

Presentation to the Two Rivers Coalition
January 2010 PowerPoint presentation made at the Two Rivers Coalition (Paw Paw and Black Rivers) annual meeting. The presentation covers a number of findings and recommendations made by consultants regarding Briggs Pond and Maple Lake.
To view the report, click on the title or click here.

Paddle Paw Paw
Few communities are blessed with a lake and rivers in the heart of their community. Paw Paw is one of those few. Maple Lake lies in the heart of town...

Maple Lake Aerials Oct. 2007
5 photos taken when the Lake was lowered 3 feet for maintenance

Gates Drain Report
This report presents a brief historical summary of the Gates Drain, known also as the West Branch of the Paw Paw River, within Van Buren County. Inclusive to this report are the field observations that were made, during the month of January, 2008.

Floodplain Management
A river, stream, lake, or drain may on occasion overflow their banks and inundate adjacent land areas. The land that is inundated by water is defined as a floodplain. In Michigan, and nationally, the term floodplain has come to mean the land area that will be inundated by the overflow of water resulting from a 100-year flood (a flood which has a 1% chance of occurring any given year).

Floodplain Quick Guide
A river, stream, lake, or drain may on occasion overflow their banks and inundate adjacent land areas. The land that is inundated by water is defined as a floodplain. In Michigan, and nationally, the term floodplain has come to mean the land area that will be inundated by the overflow of water resulting from a 100-year flood (a flood which has a 1% chance of occurring any given year).

Landscaping for Wildlife
Living on a lake or river property provides an opportunity to get to know your waterway intimately and experience its changes with time and the seasons. It also provides opportunities to watch wildlife that utilize the lake ecosystem.

Lakeshore and Streambank Erosion Control

Lakeshores and streambanks are areas of dynamic energy. The powerful forces of waves, currents, and ice move soil particles toward, away from, and along the shoreline. Streams are continually downcutting into their valley, carrying sediments downstream particle by particle. The current moves from side to side, undercutting banks and causing the stream channel to meander.

Lawn Care Tips for Shoreline Property Owners
To many people a yard without a lawn is not a yard. Lawns provide play areas for children and sports like croquet. A lawn’s open space is ideal for enjoying the sun and outdoor dining or entertaining.

Low Impact Development for Water Quality

What is A Watershed? A watershed is the area of land that catches rain and snow and drains or seeps into a marsh, stream, river, lake or groundwater. You are sitting in a watershed now. Homes,
farms, ranches, forests, small towns, big cities and more can make up watersheds.

Living With & Identifying Wetlands
Wetlands are areas characterized by the presence of water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances does support wetland vegetation or aquatic life.

Paw Paw Watershed & Natural Assets
The Paw Paw River Watershed is about 445 square miles, the largest watershed in Van Buren County. The river and the lands in the watershed support a variety of unique natural features with a blend of agricultural uses and rural villages and cities.

Pond Construction - Things to Consider
Ponds can serve many purposes: wildlife, fishing, water for livestock and irrigation, fire
protection and recreation. Most ponds in Genesee County are built primarily for fishing, with
one or more of the other uses as secondary purposes.

Public Rights on Michigan Water - MDNR Document
The State of Michigan is entrusted with protecting the natural resources of the state and its citizens
through a specific provision within the Michigan Constitution.

Q & A Water Quality and Cost
The biggest complaint we hear from customers is that they think their water bill is too high. We explain how the meter works – that water only goes through the meter when something (a faucet,
toilet, a water softener, etc.) in the house or business calls for more water.

Questions About Floodplains
WHAT IS A FLOOD? The National Flood Insurance Program defines a “flood” as a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from overflow of inland or tidal waters or from the unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source.

Septic Systems
While most homes in the Village of Paw Paw no longer have working septic systems, some do. Most of our neighbors in townships have septic systems. Septic systems can have an impact on water quality.

Song of Hiawatha
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his epic poem. Longfellow’s anthology was published earlier by U.S. Indian Agent Henry Rowe Schoolcraft in the early 1800’s.

Trees and Water Quality

Water is a vital component of Michigan's natural resources. Freshwater supplie by 11,000 inland lake, 36,000 miles of rivers and streams, and the Great Lakes is the lifeblood of the states ecosystems and one of the world's greatest sources of freshwater.

Van Buren County Wetland Inventory Map
A map of Wetlands in the area.

Water Facts and Myths - Ground, Bottled & Public Water
A lot of things many people believe just don't hold water. Here, for example, are a few ideas about water that the experts say are all wet.

Water Saving Tips
Studies show that dripping faucets and leaking toilets account for as much as 14% of all indoor water use, equivalent to 10 gallons (38 liters) per person of water lost per day.

Winter Bird Feeding
One of the chief pleasures of winter in a colder climate is to be inside a warm house and look out at the wild birds at the feeder. You can feel generous and virtuous in comfort. And you get terrific entertainment all winter long.

Rivers of Birds: Part of Paw Paw's Heritage
Imagine you have entered a time machine and have gone back to the past. It is early May, 208 years ago. You have been asked to explore the rivers and streams that are now part of the State of Michigan. You are to investigate the birds that are found using the forests that grow alongside the rivers and streams. What do you find?

Why Plant Trees and Shrubs Along Lake and River Shoreline

Trees and shrubs along rivers, streams, and lakes are valuable for many reasons. Read about the value of planting trees and shrubs along lake and river shoreline. Includes examples and suggestions for planting.

Two Rivers Coalition
The Two Rivers Coalition is a citizen based group working to protect the health of the Black River and Paw Paw River Watersheds through conservation, education and advocacy.
Click hear to go to their Website.

St. Joseph River Assessment - Fisheries Division
The Paw Paw River and Maple Lake are part of a sub-watershed of the St. Joseph River Watershed system. This report was prepared by the Fisheries Division of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) for Michigan rivers. This report describes the characteristics of the St. Joseph River and its biological communities.
For the full report, click here.

East Branch of Paw Paw River, Fisheries Study 2000
The East Branch of the Paw Paw River is one of many larger tributaries to the main stream of the Paw Paw River. A second-order designated trout stream with a water quality designation of top-quality cold, the East Branch flows in a westerly direction until it flows into Maple Lake in the Village of Paw Paw. This report details the environment and the fish population.
For full report, click here.

Michigan River Inventory 1997
The sound, scientific management of lower Michigan’s expansive river systems required a sophisticated understanding of their ecological structures and processes, and a careful evaluation of the state of these rivers as they currently exist—i.e. a comprehensive inventory. To this end, a partnership in 1988 between scientists at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources—Institute for Fisheries Research, and the University of Michigan—School of Natural Resources and Environment, known as the Michigan Rivers Inventory (MRI) project, was formed to complete the inventory. This is the last comprehensive report of its kind.
For the full 33 page report, click here.

SJ River Sediment Transport Modeling Study 2007
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is directed to develop sediment transport models for tributaries to the Great Lakes that discharge to federal navigation channels or Areas of Concern (AOCs). These models are being developed to assist state and local resource agencies in evaluating alternatives for soil conservation and non-point source (NPS) pollution prevention in the tributary watersheds. The ultimate goal is to support state and local measures that will reduce the loading of sediments to navigation channels and AOCs, and thereby reduce the costs for navigation maintenance and sediment remediation. This report includes a description of the St. Joseph River Watershed and the modeling tools that were developed and tested during the course of this study. For the full 38 page report, click here.

Protecting the Paw Paw River Watershed: Farris Conservation Easement
The Paw Paw River Watershed is one of the most ecologically significant and pristine watersheds in southwest Michigan, covering 400 square miles and encompassing the villages of Mattawan, Lawton, Paw Paw, Hartford, Lawrence, Watervliet, Coloma, and Benton Harbor. The river begins as a series of small coldwater streams in western Kalamazoo County flowing through the heart of Van Buren County and into northern Berrien County. It empties into the St. Joseph River shortly before the mouth at Lake Michigan. For the full report of the easement granted to the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, click here.

Field to Faucet, Best Practices to Protect Drinking Water
For a great list of resources aimed at best practices, agricultural and otherwise, to protect your drinking water, click here.

What is A Watershed?
A watershed is the area of land that drains into a common body of water.
You are sitting in a watershed now. To learn the basics of watershed, click here.

What Can I Do About Water Quality?
Six short newsletters let you know what you can do to help protect water quality and drinking water. For the six articles, click here.

Why Water Quality is Important (PowerPoint)
Good water quality has obvious health and social benefits. But, it also has tremendous economic benefits. To see why water quality is particularly important to Paw Paw, check out this presentation by clicking here.







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